The Boston Red Sox held on for a 4-3 win in Game 4 of the American League Division Series to close out the Yankees on Tuesday night.
This was the second time Boston got to celebrate at Yankee Stadium, as they also clinched the American League East title on September 20 with a comeback win.
The Red Sox loaded the bases in the first inning against Yankees starter CC Sabathia, and it looked like Ian Kinsler had a chance at a hit in the left field corner, but Brett Gardner caught it on the warning track.
Sabathia got through the top of the second with ease, as he worked around a walk to Christian Vazquez..
The third was a big of a different story, starting with Sabathia hitting Andrew Benintendi with a pitch to open the inning.
Steve Pearce followed with a single, and Benintendi scored on a sacrifice fly from J.S. Martinez to make it 1-0.
Later in the inning, Ian Kinsler got an RBI double, and scored on a single from Eduardo Nunez to make it 3-0 Boston.
That was all for Sabathia, who allowed 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, with just 1 strikeout, and threw 59 pitches.
Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said of sticking with CC for the entire third inning, “I was fine with the way CC was throwing the ball. He was at the two-out point. We were going to have him go through Bradley, simple as that. We just kind of knew we had our guys lined up enough that we could — especially had we got to that point, we could get through the game. I think it was a sound decision to move him, allow him to go through Bradley at that point.”
First out of the Yankees bullpen was one of their late-inning relievers, Zach Britton and he gave up a home run to Vazquez to open the fourth and Boston had a commanding 4-0 lead.
Boston starter Rick Porcello sailed through the first four innings on just 40 pitches, but he hit some resistance in the fifth.
After Neil Walker lined out to lead off the fifth, Gary Sanchez hit a ground-rule double.
Gleyber Torres then reached on an infield single, and Brett Gardner then hit a sacrifice fly to score Sanchez and make it 4-1 Boston.
In what would turn out to be a very pivotal at-bat, Aaron Hicks popped out to second base to end the fifth.
Porcello wound up throwing 25 pitches in that fifth inning, and that was it for him. He went 5 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits, no walks, and a strikeout.
Boston then turned to Matt Barnes, who pitched a perfect sixth inning, followed by Ryan Brasier in the seventh, and he also retired the Yankees in order.
Boston rallied with one out in the eighth against Dellin Betances, as Eduardo Nunez hit a double, followed by Jackie Bradley, Jr., reaching on an error by Yankees first baseman Luke Voit.
Vazquez struck out, then Betances intentionally walked Mookie Betts to load the bases, and Benintendi struck out looking to end the threat.
Boston then turned to ace Chris Sale, who won Game 1 on Friday night, and he retired the Yankees in order.
The Sox then turned to their closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth, and he started the inning by walking Aaron Judge on four pitches. This was the Yankees’ first baserunner since the fifth inning.
Because Judge was at first, Pearce was holding Judge on, and Didi Gregorius hit one through the hole between first and second to give the Yankees two on base and nobody out.
Kimbrel responded by striking out Giancarlo Stanton, who swung at multiple pitches in the dirt as he capped an 0-4 night and a dismal performance in the ALDS.
Luke Voit showed a lot more plate discipline than Stanton and wound up working out a walk to load the bases.
Neil Walker then got hit by a pitch in the left foot to force in a run, and Gary Sanchez then hit a rocket to left field that went to the warning truck, and the sacrifice fly brought home Gregorius to make it 4-3 Boston.
Gleyber Torres was up next, and he hit a dribbler to third, and Eduardo Nunez came in and fired a rocket to first to get Torres by a step to win the game and end the series.
Boone said of what stood out to him about his team in the ninth, “Just our competitiveness. We’ve been through a lot this year, but the one thing I’m most proud of with these guys is they always compete. The Gary at-bat I think is a great example of that. If you fall behind 0-2 against that guy, lay off some tough pitches, battle, battle, and just miss winning the game. It was a great at-bat. But just proud of the way they competed. Just really sucks we came up short.”
For the Red Sox to win two at Yankee Stadium, a place the Yankees won seven straight in the postseason (6 in last year’s playoffs and this year’s Wild Card game), is a well-deserved achievement. This shows how far they’ve grown from the last two seasons when they were quick outs in the ALDS, swept by Cleveland in 2016 and losing to Houston in four games last season.
The Red Sox will get their chance at some revenge as they move on to face Houston in the ALCS. This is their 11th appearance in the ALCS and first since 2013, when they went on to win the World Series.
The Red Sox are now 2-2 in the postseason against the Yankees, as they also won the 2004 ALCS between the historic rivals. The Yankees beat Boston in the 1999 and 2003 ALCS’s.
Boston is the only American League East team to beat the Yankees in the playoffs.
Incredibly, the Yankees were held without a home run in both Games 3 and 4. The only instance in the regular season that they went two games without a homer was April 7 and 8 against Baltimore.
Judge went 0-for-3 with a walk and run scored in the ninth. This was his only hitless game in the postseason and just the second time in nine postseason home games that he was held without a hit.
The Yankees had issues getting the big hit all series. With runners in scoring position, they hit .154 (4-for-26) with 1 extra-base hit (a home run).
Boone said of how they will look at situational hitting in the offseason, “Well, we want to continue to get better, so we’re chasing the perfect offense. As a major league athlete, we’re chasing to be the best we can be. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough, and we’ll continue to work at getting to that point where we’re as complete in every department as we can be, offensively, pitching, defense. You’re always chasing Utopia, you know. We’re chasing that.”
Stanton went 4-for-18 in the series, with no home runs and no RBI, and six strikeouts. He did have one highlight in his first-ever playoff experience, a monster shot to left field in the Wild Card Game, but just couldn’t get it going in the ALDS.
Boone said of Stanton’s performance in the ALDS, “Yeah, he threw some hits out there, a little up and down, had some good at-bats, got on base a little bit. Obviously had some chances, some chances where he could have made a big difference with a big hit or whatever, and it just didn’t happen in this series. That’s part of it. But that’s also why we have nine guys. It’s not all about one guy, and we just weren’t able to get enough.”