Red Sox got up off the mat to make a brand new start of it in New York
NEW YORK — Take that, Aaron Judge!
The star Yankee outfielder had a little fun at the expense of the Red Sox after New York’s 6-2 win at Fenway Saturday night. On his way to the team bus in the underbelly of the ancient yard, Judge strolled past the Sox clubhouse with his boom box blaring Sinatra’s Yankee victory song, “New York, New York.’’
It was supposed to feed into New England’s worst fears. The 108-win Red Sox were going to roll over for the big, bad Bronx Bombers. Just like in the bad old days.
Apparently not. The 108-win Red Sox got up off the mat and pantsed the Yankees 16-1 in Game 3 Monday. Comforted by a superb seven innings from starter Nathan Eovaldi, the Sox offense pinballed to a 10-0 lead in the top of the fourth and thoroughly embarrassed the Yankees. Brock Holt made his first appearance in the series and hit for the cycle, crushing a garbage-time ninth-inning homer off Yankee catcher Austin Romine.
“I was trying to hit a home run,’’ admitted Holt. “This is one I’ll remember for a long time. Hopefully, it will carry over into tomorrow.’’
So there. After two days of high anxiety in Red Sox Nation, the Townies once again were A-No. 1, Top of the List, and King of the Hill . . . While Yankees manager Aaron Boone slept in a city that doesn’t sleep.
Though it was clear that Yankee starter Luis Severino (who was late getting to the park) had nothing, Boone left his ace in to surrender six runs on seven hits and two walks in three-plus innings. In contrast to Alex Cora, who had the second-inning hook for David Price on Saturday, Boone let the game get out of hand before his guys could get into the Red Sox bullpen. Severino was hit hard in the first three innings, yet was allowed to start the fourth when a 3-0 deficit turned into 10-0.
Severino loaded the bases to start the inning. Lance Lynn — always a starter — was ill-equipped to enter a game with the bases loaded and no outs.
Why stick with the tardy and tired Severino?
“Just hoping he could get through the bottom of the lineup there,’’ said Boone. “Once the first two guys got on, we figured Bradley would bunt. But it just snowballed on him and then Lance had trouble coming in there, so it just turned into a bad inning for us.
“Certainly, in hindsight, we could have started the fourth inning with Robbie [David Robertson]. But we just couldn’t stop the bleeding at all. He couldn’t get an out. The inning just got away.’’
The chagrined Boone wound up using Romine, his backup catcher, on the mound in the ninth. Romine got two outs before issuing a walk and then Holt’s two-run homer. There was a lot of joy in the Sox dugout.
Boone is fortunate that George Steinbrenner was not around for this one. The Yankees manager was downright Gradyesque.
“We have no choice but to flush it,’’ said Boone. “It’s one game. As awful as it was for us, tomorrow we’ve got to turn the page and it’s do or die.’’
Cora, meanwhile, had a great night.
One day after saying it was important to “be patient” and not overreact to the small sample of two games, the Sox skipper had four new bats in the lineup and all of them produced. Steve Pearce had a hit, Christian Vazquez had a couple of hits, Rafael Devers had two hits, stole a base, and scored twice. Holt produced the first cycle in postseason history.
Andrew Benintendi’s three-run double off Lynn in the seven-run fourth was the game-breaker.
“I know a lot of people got caught up in Game 2, but it was a 3-1 game in the sixth inning,’’ said Cora. “We show up every day. That’s the thing about this team. It’s boring and people don’t like it, but we turn the page. Tomorrow we’ll show up and be prepared to play. We know that if we don’t win tomorrow, we have a Game 5.’’
Quite a turnaround. The Sox have two chances to advance to the ALCS. Rick Porcello can close it out Tuesday at Yankee Stadium against CC Sabathia. (Mookie Betts should start the game off with a bunt.) The astoundingly inept Angel Hernandez will be home plate umpire for Game 4.
If the Sox lose Tuesday, they have ace Chris Sale ready to go in Game 5 Thursday night at Fenway.
Sweet. I haven’t felt this good about the Red Sox’ chances in a playoff series against the Yankees since Pedro Martinez took a 5-2 lead into the eighth inning of Game 7 at the Stadium in 2003.
Red Sox-Yankees is the only Division Series still going. The Dodgers and Brewers will play in the NLCS and Houston awaits the winner of Boston-New York. Astros star Alex Bregman made jokes about the world champion Astros playing their playoff games during the day so that the networks can focus on Boston and New York.
The champion ’Stros will be in prime time Saturday. And the resurgent Red Sox hope that game is played at Fenway.