The Boston Red Sox completed a sweep of their division rivals the New York Yankees in four games early Monday morning, ending one of the most thrilling series of the year.
The series had about everything a fan could for—a blowout in Game 1, a one-hitter with an ejection, a dominant outing from Nathan Eovaldi, and a walk-off win to end the series.
Coming into the series there were a lot of nerves for the Red Sox, as the team placed that ace and Cy Young contender Chris Sale on the 10-Day disabled list which made him miss his start against the Yankees. Sale has dominated the Yankees this season with a 2-0 record and a 0.69 ERA, only giving up just one run in 13 innings pitched.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman stirred the pot prior to the series by questioning the quality of the Red Sox.
“You wonder what their record would be if they weren’t playing us,” Cashman said. “Because when we go head to head, we do some damage against them and it doesn’t seem like anybody else is capable.”
Going into the series the Red Sox hadn’t had the best of times against their Bronx rivals, but with the best record in the MLB, the Yankees needed to do more damage to keep the race for the American League East title within reach.
In the series opener, Brian Johnson succeeded in Sale’s absence. Johnson pitched five innings, with 11 strikeouts and gave up four earned runs on six hits. After going down 4-0 in the second inning, there was plenty to worry about for the Red Sox. However, the Yankees’ hot start wouldn’t matter as Boston’s offense dominated throughout the game. Steve Pearce’s three home runs gave the Sox a 15-7 win over the Yankees in Game 1.
Rick Porcello continued to have a fantastic season with a complete game, one-hit shutout in the second game of the series. Alex Cora earned the first ejection of his managerial career when Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino threw a ball very close to Mookie Betts’ head which resulted in a warning for each side. Cora disagreed with the umpire and argued in defense of his players and team which resulted in his ejection.
Pearce’s bat remained hot as he hit his fourth homer in two games to give the Red Sox an early lead. Following the home run, an RBI-single from Eduardo Nunez gave Boston a 3-0 in the first inning. The Yankees only hit came from Miguel Andujar, who hit a home run to make it 3-1 in the third. A Mitch Moreland RBI single extended Boston’s lead in the fifth and Porcello was lights out as the Sox went on to win 4-1.
The Red Sox offense wasted no time getting things going in the third game of the series, as Moreland blasted a two-run home run to right-center in the first inning to give the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead. J.D. Martinez hit a solo home run in the fourth and a Sandy Leon ground-rule-double scored Nunez to give the Sox a 4-0 lead. Eovaldi had a fantastic outing, as he went eight scoreless innings while striking out four and only giving up three hits.
Craig Kimbrel made his first appearance of the series in the ninth and made the many Sox fans watching nervous. He gave up an RBI-double to Didi Gregorius to make it 4-1, and then he walked the bases loaded. However, Greg Bird flew out to center and the Sox claimed a 4-1 victory in Game 3.
In Game 4, David Price finally had a good start against the Yankees as he pitched six innings allowing two earned runs on four hits and striking out five. The two earned runs came after Cora took him out in the seventh, as Heath Hembree allowed two hits that scored both runners Price left on. A bases-loaded Xander Bogaerts error gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead, and a Giancarlo Stanton single made it 3-1. Gleyber Torres hit a sac-fly to center which gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead in the seventh.
It seemed all over for the Red Sox in the ninth, but Aroldis Chapman loaded the bases and Martinez hit a two-run single to make it a one-run game. Bogaerts came up to bat looking to make up for his error in the seventh. He hit the ball down the third base line, but the third baseman Andujar made a throwing error to tie the game at four and eventually send the game into extra innings.
In the 10th inning, Matt Barnes set the Yankees down in order. Jonathan Holder was one out from doing the same in the bottom of the 10th until Leon singled to center. A wild pitch advanced Leon to second, which led to the Yankees intentionally walking Betts. This brought up Andrew Benintendi with two outs and runners on first and second. Benintendi took advantage of the shift played on him and hit a single into center scoring pinch runner Tony Renda to walk it off for the Red Sox in the 10th with a 5-4 win.
The Red Sox come away from the series 9 1/2 games over the Yankees in the American League East and the best record in baseball. A sweep over hated rivals gives the Red Sox plenty of confidence in the back half of the season, as they will look to continue to show their dominance in the upcoming three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto after a day off Monday.