BOSTON — It was just like they drew it up.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa was the unlikely hero at the plate, with Scott Effross picking up his first save as a Yankee, following another strong outing by Aroldis Chapman, a 3-2 win over the Red Sox on Saturday night.
The victory allowed the Yankees to avoid a fourth straight loss and ninth in 10 games, as they try to regain their footing.
“Nothing’s easy for us right now,’’ manager Aaron Boone said. “That’s one of those gut-check wins. … We’re fighting and we keep getting close. We know it’s not gonna be easy to get through, but guys continue to make plays and this one feels really good.”
Effross allowed back-to-back singles with one out in the bottom of the ninth before Rafael Devers hit a dribbler. Catcher Jose Trevino pounced on the ball and fired to second to get the force for the second out.
“That was unbelievable,’’ Effross said. “It was the only chance we had [on the play]. He came up so quick and fired second. It was a huge out.”
With runners on the corners, Xander Bogaerts popped out to end it as the Yankees won a one-run game for the first time since July 28 after losing five such games in a row.
Kiner-Falefa drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning after hitting his first homer of the year in the fifth.
The winning rally started when Andrew Benintendi smacked a double off the wall in center with one out in the top of the ninth. Trevino followed by hitting a slow roller to the left side that turned into an improbable infield single when Devers’ throw pulled Eric Hosmer off the bag.
Kiner-Falefa then laid down a safety suicide squeeze bunt, which was called from the bench, to drive in Benintendi and give the Yankees their first lead of the game.
“It felt good to come through,’’ Kiner-Falefa said. “A big homer and small-ball. I was able to show off both sides of my game.’’
Effross, acquired from the Cubs at the trade deadline, finished it for his second career save as the Yankees try to recalibrate their bullpen after Clay Holmes’ rough stretch as closer.
Boone said he was avoiding Holmes — who will now be used in different roles besides the ninth inning — and didn’t have the reliable Wandy Peralta available, so he turned to Effross.
“I knew I was up tonight,’’ Effross said. “I’ll take the ball whenever they ask me too.”
It was just the Yankees’ their third win of the month, despite another shaky night from the offense.
Frankie Montas was solid for five innings, giving up two runs in his second start as a Yankee.
With the Yankees trailing 2-0 in the fifth, Benintendi led off with a walk before Kiner-Falefa drilled his first homer of the season. The ball landed above the Green Monster in left and tied the score at 2-2.
The shortstop hadn’t homered since last Oct. 1, when he was on the Rangers.
“It’s been a challenge so far,’’ Kiner-Falefa said of his first season as a Yankee. “I’m working to do everything I can to prove myself.”
Montas gave up a two-out double to left off the Monster by Alex Verdugo in the bottom of the fifth, but got J.D. Martinez to pop out.
Lou Trivino allowed a two-out double to Bogaerts in the seventh and was replaced by Aroldis Chapman with the lefty-swinging Verdugo coming up.
Chapman, who was greeted by a chorus of boos from the sellout crowd of 36,672, was in the middle of a stretch of eight scoreless innings in his previous eight outings.
He hit Verdugo with a pitch and then had to face Martinez. With Martinez at the plate, however, Bogaerts took off for third and Chapman calmly threw to Josh Donaldson for the final out.
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