- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2017

Something happened on Sunday night that hadn’t happened since 2011: Aroldis Chapman gave up a home run to a left-handed hitter.

Red Sox rookie Rafael Devers hit a game-tying solo home run off the New York Yankees‘ southpaw closer in the ninth inning of Boston’s 3-2 extra-innings win Sunday. It was only the second time in his career Chapman had surrendered a home run to a left-handed hitter.

The first one came off the bat of Luke Scott on June 26, 2011, when Chapman was on the Cincinnati Reds.

In fact, up to that point Chapman hadn’t given up a home run all season, last surrendering a big fly to Rajai Davis in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.

“Yes [I was surprised], a little bit, especially being a left-handed batter there,” Chapman said of Devers‘ home run. “I think it’s been a while since a lefty has hit a homer off me. He [Devers] is a good young player who was able to take advantage of a high pitch there and made good contact.”

Called up from Triple-A Pawtucket a few weeks ago, Devers launched a 102.8 Chapman fastball over the left-center field wall, the fastest pitch anyone has hit out since MLB started officially recording pitch velocity in 2008.

“I was thinking hit the ball up the middle, but you can’t plan a home run,” the 20-year old said afterwards. “I’ve seen 100, but never 103. Just let him throw pitches, see pitches and hit the one that I like.”

Along with being a historic blast, the home run also had postseason implications. The Red Sox now lead the Yankees in the AL East by 5.5 games, the largest division lead Boston’s had all season.

“Yeah, an incredible swing off a 100-mph-plus fastball,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told MLB.com. “He [Devers] doesn’t fear the moment. He’s jumped feet-first into this rivalry, and it couldn’t come at a better time.”

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