BOSTON-If it’s the Yankees-Red Sox in the American League wild-card game coming October 5th, the Yankees will love their chances.
Regardless of the venue.
Rallying for another consecutive battle against a suspected Boston bullpen — with Aaron Judge and, yes, Giancarlo Stanton again playing key roles — the Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Red Sox with a 6-3 victory Sunday night in front of a most annoyed sales crowd at 36,312 in Fenway Park.
The Yankees (89-67), winners of six straight and 11 of their last 15, resumed the top wild-card spot in the American League with a game over the Red Sox (88-68). They were two games ahead of the Blue Jays (87-69), again as the Yankees start a three-game series on Tuesday in Toronto.
The Yankees ended up going 9-3 against the Red Sox after losing the first seven games between the teams.
The game on Sunday night could only be described as bizarre, with the Yankees doing everything in their power to lose the game and win it anyway.
The referee’s two-run double off former teammate Adam Ottavino in the eighth gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead and Stanton, who may well have reversed the Yankees’ playoff prospects with his 452-foot slam in the eighth inning on Saturday, visited Lansdowne Street for the second night. in a row, and blasted a 448-foot two-run shot to 6-3.
A little madness preceded it all.
After DJ LeMahieu, who played an otherwise brilliant game on the third, dropped a two-out foul pop by knife-hitter Kyle Schwarber in the seventh to extend his stroke-Schwarber then hit a routine fly to the low-left center, which Joey Gallo dropped to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead — all heck broke loose in the eighth.
Garrett Richards started the inning by going Gio Urshela. Tyler Wade trick ran, but was thrown out in an attempt to steal another by Christian Vazquez. Wade inexplicably chose not to slip on the piece and possibly thought LeMahieu was going on a 3-and-1 course called a strike.
LeMahieu finished by walking, and Anthony Rizzo put a double to the right center to put runners on second and third. Ottavino came to meet the referee who felled four 1-and-2 lanes before tossing a two-run double into the hole in left-center for a 4-3 lead. His bat was extended twice: first when first baseman Bobby Dalbec failed to catch a pop in disgusting ground and then when Vazquez could not hold on to a foul tip. He had it short and the fall may have come at the transfer, but it cannot be reviewed. The referee seemed to stick a finger on his left hand and dive into second place, but stayed in the game.
After the brief delay caused by the referee being evaluated by Aaron Boone and two Yankees coaches, Stanton smashed a hanging 0-and-1 shooter over the green monster to his 34th homer. That gave Stanton 18 homers and 47 RBIs in 48 games since Aug. 3. He hit three homers and ran in 10 races in the three-game series.
After Clay Holmes hit the side in an electric sixth, Boone sent him back for what would be a wild seventh. When left-swinging Travis Shaw stepped onto the tire circle to pinch the hit for Christian Arroyo — when Holmes was nearing completion of his warm-up — Boone picked up left-winger Joely Rodriguez. Red Sox manager Alex Cora then sent up right-handed Jose Iglesias, who pushed a single to the left. Alex Verdugo dragged a bundle past Rodriguez and suddenly the Red Sox had life.
With Vazquez at the plate, Rodriguez got a 1-and-0 change to a wild track that advanced the runners, and Vazquez’s victim fly to the right equalized it to 2-2. Chad Green then came in and knocked Kike Hernandez out after watching. Everyone seemed OK for the Yankees in terms of getting out of the inning when Schwarber sent an error toward third. LeMahieu camped under the ball, but dropped it for a foul and extended the stroke play. Everything seemed OK again as Schwarber lifted a soft fly to the left-center where Gallo arrived in good time. . . before losing the ball, allowing Verdugo to score for a 3-2 lead.
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