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.
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. With runners on the corners, Xander Bogaerts popped out to end it.
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 and Trevino followed with a slow roller to the left side that turned into an improbable infield hit when Rafael Devers’ throw pulled Eric Hosmer off the first-base bag.
Kiner-Falefa then laid down a safety suicide squeeze bunt that scored Benintendi to give the Yankees their first lead of the game.
Effross, acquired from the Cubs at the trade deadline, finished it for his second career save.
It was just the Yankees’ third win of the month, despite another shaky night from the offense.
Gleyber Torres reached on a throwing error by Kutter Crawford with one out in the second inning, but was thrown out trying to steal second, as the Yankees’ poor baserunning continued.
Frankie Montas, in his second Yankees start, helped get himself in trouble in the bottom of the second.
After erasing Alex Verdugo’s leadoff single by getting a double play from J.D. Martinez, Montas got Hosmer to ground to first, but Montas dropped Anthony Rizzo’s throw to the bag.
Christian Arroyo followed with a flare single to left before Montas struck out Jarren Duran swinging.
Montas pitched around Reese McGuire’s leadoff double in the third, retiring Tommy Pham, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts to keep the game scoreless.
Crawford faced the minimum number of batters until the fourth, when he walked Rizzo with two outs.
Josh Donaldson followed with a hard single to right-center to give the Yankees their first hit, and runners on the corners.
The slumping Torres then sent one to right. The ball nearly went over Verdugo’s head, but the right fielder caught up to it for the third out.
Montas walked Verdugo to start the bottom of the fourth and got Martinez on a slow roller, which sent Verdugo to second. Hosmer’s single to center put runners on first and third for Arroyo.
A wild pitch on an 0-2 pitch moved Hosmer to second, but Trevino kept it close enough to keep Verdugo on third.
But Montas ended up walking Arroyo to load the bases, then drilled Duran with a pitch to force in the first run of the game.
McGuire followed with a sacrifice fly to center to put the Yankees in a 2-0 hole.
The Yankees finally got going in the fifth. Benintendi, who played his first five MLB seasons for the Red Sox, 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 Oct. 1, when he was on the Rangers.
Montas gave up a two-out double to left off the Monster by Verdugo in the bottom of the fifth, but got 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.
Greeted by a chorus of boos from the sellout crowd of 36,672, Chapman was in the middle of a stretch of eight scoreless innings in his previous eight outings.
Chapman 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 Donaldson for the final out.
Judge walked with one out in the eighth and Rizzo sent one to deep right that would have easily gone out at Yankee Stadium, but was an out on Saturday.