NEW YORK — The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, a snoozer much of this season, lived up to its reputation Sunday.
An eventful game included two huge hits by the oldest player on the field, a dramatic save, and the winning manager watching from the clubhouse after being ejected.
Once it ended, the bench coach got a beer shower.
The Red Sox won, of course, because that is what they do against the Yankees this season. This time it was 6-5 to cap a three-game sweep.
“I don’t know how we won that game but I’m glad we did,” said reliever Chris Martin, who allowed the go-ahead run in the eighth inning before a replay review took it away from the Yankees.
It was that kind of day.
The Sox led, 5-2, before Yankees rookie Anthony Volpe woke the crowd with a three-run homer in the seventh off John Schreiber.
Volpe singled again in the eighth inning with Isiah Kiner-Falefa on first and two outs.
Kiner-Falefa was running on the pitch and went to third. Third base coach Luis Rojas waved him to the plate when left fielder Rob Refsnyder slipped while fielding the ball.
In a rarity for Sox outfielders this season, Refsnyder hit the cutoff man and Trevor Story made an accurate throw to the plate. Connor Wong got the tag down.
Umpire Junior Valentine, who had a rough day, called the runner safe. The decision was reversed after a lengthy review.
“From the get-go I thought he was out,” said Alex Cora, who was watching from the clubhouse after being ejected by Valentine in the sixth inning for arguing balls and strikes.
“He waited, waited, waited to look at the baseball then called him safe. We knew he was out.”
The Red Sox took the lead in the ninth inning on a single by 38-year-old Justin Turner, who had five hits and six RBIs in the series. His three-run homer in the top of the seventh inning had put the Sox up 5-2.
Turner is hitting .372 with runners in scoring position this season.
“I probably should feel like there’s runners in scoring position in every at-bat,” he said.
All-Star closer Kenley Jansen, who has not blown a save since May 13, allowed a leadoff double to Greg Allen, the ball striking the wall in right field only a few inches shy of the top of the fence.
Jansen then hit DJ LeMahieu with a pitch to bring Aaron Judge to the plate with two runners on.
Jansen got a foul tip on a cutter. Judge then swung and missed at a slider. Then he took a sinker for a called third strike.
It was a borderline strike, but then so were several called on the Sox by Valentine
It was only the ninth sinker Jansen has thrown to a righthanded hitter this season. But he felt it was time to throw something other than his signature cutter.
“It’s just experience, man. I can be stubborn and that hurts me,” Jansen said. “I can throw a cutter in any situation. But you learn from mistakes.”
Jansen struck out Gleyber Torres and got Ben Rortvedt on a fly ball to center.
The only downside of the day for the Sox was that the two teams ahead of them in the American League wild card race — Seattle and Toronto — also won. That left the Sox three games out of a playoff spot with 38 to play.
The sweep, satisfying as it was, resulted in only a half-game gain. Now the Sox have 10 games in a row against the Astros and Dodgers starting Monday in Houston.
Cora was 12 seconds into his postgame press conference when someone started knocking loudly on his office door.
It was Jansen.
“Time out,” he said. “AC, come on.”
Cora was needed in the clubhouse, where the players wanted to celebrate bench coach Ramón Vázquez having won his first major league game.
Vázquez managed the final 3½ innings after Cora was ejected.
It was Nick Pivetta’s idea.
“I didn’t know what they wanted at first,” Vázquez said. “But that was fun. It’s fun when you can beat the Yankees. It was a great game to be a part of.”
Cora returned to his office with a few drops of beer dotting the front of his gray T-shirt. The shirt had an image of the Underdog cartoon character.
Back on Aug. 1, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom defended his not making a significant addition at the trade deadline by saying the Sox were underdogs based on the playoff odds at the time.
The Sox are 10-8 since. That’s not exactly making a charge, but it’s not fading away, either.
Now Underdog T-shirts are a thing in the clubhouse and the Sox are about to have their full roster back with Tanner Houck scheduled to come off the injured list to face the Astros on Tuesday.
“It’s a good team,” Cora said. “We know where we’re at. It should be fun the next month and a half. We’re playing good baseball. We’re getting healthier, that’s the most important thing. Let’s see where it takes us.”