Perhaps the symbol of the current frustration the New York Yankees are experiencing occurred in the ninth inning Friday night when manager Aaron Boone flung his gum after being ejected for arguing a called strike on Matt Carpenter.

Ultimately, the Yankees could not score the tie-breaking run and are mired in their first real slump of the season. They hope to dodge a third straight loss Saturday night in the middle game of a three-game series with the visiting Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees still own the best record in baseball, but the gap between them and the Houston Astros is down to 3 1/2 games. Since its 12-5 win in Boston on July 8, New York is 1-5, with three of those losses to the Red Sox.

The series opened Friday with Boston winning 5-4 when Xander Bogaerts scored on a wild pitch by Michael King with two outs in the 11th inning and two strikes on Bobby Dalbec. King’s wild pitch occurred after the Yankees hit into double plays with the bases loaded in the ninth and 10th following Boone’s ejection and Gleyber Torres scoring the tying run.

“We’ve won a lot of games like that,” New York’s Aaron Judge said after going 0-for-5. “I think we lead the major leagues in comeback wins and walk-off wins and stuff like that. So it’s a good ballclub over there, and they got us tonight. We couldn’t come up with that big hit and time to get ready for tomorrow.”

Giancarlo Stanton hit a three-run homer, but the Yankees struck out 10 times and went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

New York also continued to struggle with its bullpen as the group has allowed 21 runs (16 earned) in 17 innings for an ERA of 8.47 in the past five defeats.

Boston is seeking its fourth straight win over the Yankees after getting a two-run homer from Rafael Devers along with solo homers by Christian Vazquez and Dalbec. Boston’s latest win over the Yankees occurred after a frustrating four-game sweep by Tampa Bay, and Friday marked the Red Sox’s fifth win in 15 games.

Bogaerts scored the winning run after Tanner Houck allowed the Yankees to tie the score by committing a throwing error on a bunt by Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

“It was a great battle, a lot of good things,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “Then we made that mistake in the ninth and we ended up winning.”

Boston right-hander Nick Pivetta (8-6, 4.08 ERA), who has given up 13 runs and 16 hits over nine innings in his past two starts, will take the mound Saturday. On Sunday, he allowed six runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings before the Red Sox rallied for an 11-6 victory over New York.

Pivetta is 0-2 with an 8.50 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) against the Yankees.

Jameson Taillon (9-2, 4.01) will make his second straight start against the Red Sox after tying a season high by allowing six runs on seven hits in five innings in a no-decision Sunday. The right-hander allowed homers to Vazquez, J.D. Martinez and Franchy Cordero.

Since taking a perfect game into the eighth against the Los Angeles Angels on June 2, Taillon is 3-1 with 5.36 ERA in his past seven starts and has allowed nine homers.

He is 2-0 with a 3.03 ERA in five career starts against the Red Sox.

–Field Level Media