Following Saturday’s 6-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox, which evened up the series at one game apiece, the tide and momentum had seemed to switch over to the New York Yankees. Having taken care of business by winning one game on the road, the Yankees now own home field advantage in this best of five series.
Even all-star right fielder, Aaron Judge, thought the series was over as he was seen on video blasting “New York, New York,” outside of the Red Sox locker room following game two.
Instead the Yankee bats either stayed in Boston, or went into hibernation mode for both games three and four. Not only did the Red Sox win both games, clinching their ticket to the ALCS, the Sox outscored the so called “Bronx Bombers” 20-4 between both games.
For the second time this season, the Red Sox found themselves celebrating once again in Yankee Stadium.
After getting embarrassed Monday night, the Yankees found themselves for the second consecutive week in a win or go home contest. Ageless wonder C.C. Sabathia took the mound for the Yankees, headlined by his 10-7 career postseason record, and with a history of pitching in high leverage ball games, the Yankees seemed comfortable riding him while the Red Sox sent out starter Rick Porcello, who had never won a postseason game to command the mound for game four.
Everything seemed to be working out for Sabathia to start off the game, after recorded the first two outs in the top of the first Yankee stadium was rocking. Then things got spooky when Red Sox first baseman Steven Pierce hit a two-out single to center, then designated hitter and MVP hopeful J.D. Martinez hit a soft grounder to second going against the shift Martinez made it to first safely.
If you had put both pitchers’ postseason records next to each other not knowing which was whose, you would’ve thought Porcello was 10-7.
Porcello established his dominance early, by retiring the Yankees in order during the bottom of the first. Porcello only needed eight pitches before making his way back to the dugout.
After hitting left fielder Andrew Benintendi to lead off the inning, Pierce smacked a single into right center, resulting in Benintendi winding up at third. Runners on the corners and no one but Sabathia found himself in the stretch with the heart of Boston’s order coming up. Martinez smacked a sacrifice fly into deep center giving the Sox a 1-0 lead.
However Boston wasn’t done after recording the second out, Kinsler came up to the plate smacking a RBI double over the leaping Gardner in left field giving the Sox a 2-0 lead now. Manager Aaron Boone, seemed to have left Sabathia out too long as former Yankee third baseman Eduardo Nunez followed suit by smacking a liner to left scoring Kinsler.
Porcello was the opposite. After being given a three-run lead, Porcello showed his gratitude by continuing his dominance pitching a scoreless bottom of the third.
Boone having seen enough turned to lefty reliever Zach Britton to pitch the fourth. Britton acquired by the Yankees from the Baltimore Orioles midseason was one of the most dominating closers in all of baseball just a few seasons ago.
However in just his fourth pitch thrown, catcher Christian Vazquez gave Boston a 4-0 lead by smacking a solo shot to the opposite field in the the right field stands. Britton later settled down by retiring the next two batters, but the damage had been done.
Porcello continued to cruise by pitching a scoreless fourth, but found some trouble in the fifth. After recording the first out, Porcello gave up a ground rule double to “catcher” Gary Sanchez.
With Sanchez at second and one out rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres followed up with a soft single down the third base line. Sanchez having advanced to third later scored on Gardner’s sacrifice fly. The Yankees had now inched closer.
After right handed reliever Matt Barnes pitched a scoreless sixth, reliever Ryan Brasier took the mound for the seventh for the Sox. Brasier is remembered for his words in game two when he shouted at Sanchez to get back into the batter's box. Brasier continued Barnes’s dominance by following with his own scoreless inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees were down to their final three outs. Closer Craig Kimbrel was on the mound, never having pitched well against the Yankees optimism was looming inside Yankee stadium. Erratic to start off the inning Kimbrel gave up a leadoff walk to Judge, and single to shortstop Didi Gregorius.
With runners on first and second with no one out, designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton had a chance iconic Yankee moment to tie the game potentially forcing a game five. Instead Stanton looking overwhelmed by the moment striking out swinging on four pitches.
However, the Yankees weren’t done as first baseman Luke Voit worked a walk loading up the bases with one out, and third baseman Neil Walker was hit by a pitch forcing in a run.
Sanchez with the bases loaded hit a deep fly ball to left field, that kept on carrying eventually Benintendi ran it down on the warning track resulting in a sacrifice fly. The Yankees had now cut the lead to one run, but Torres hit a soft grounder to third where Nunez ended the bombers season by throwing out Torres at first in the teensiest of inches.
A team that had hit the most home runs in baseball during the regular season, the Yankees could never find the big hit Tuesday night.
Game one of the ALCS will take place in Boston Saturday night 8:09 p.m. where the Red Sox will host the defending champion Houston Astros in a best of seven series.