BOSTON, Massachusetts — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above is NEWS CENTER Maine's preview of the game with NESN's Tom Caron.
Tuesday night's one-game playoff between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees lived up to the hype. In front of a packed crowd at Fenway Park, the Sox got out to an early lead and never looked back. But that’s not to say it was an easy win.
Going into the game, Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton was a major concern for Boston. Stanton had three home runs and 10 runs batted in across a three-game Yankees sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway in late September, including two bombs over the Green Monster.
On Tuesday night, though, the Monster’s loyalties were with Boston. Stanton hit a towering shot in the top of the 1st inning that seemed destined for Lansdowne Street, fooling announcers on multiple different broadcasts, but it ended up being nothing more than a towering single and the game remained scoreless.
The Red Sox countered with a two-run homer by Xander Bogaerts in the bottom of the 1st, which gave an early jolt to the crowd. Another homer by Kyle Schwarber in the 3rd put the Sox up 3-0 and they were able to ride that lead to the 6th thanks to a dominant, eight-strikeout performance by starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi.
Outside of giving up a solo home run to Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo in the top of the 6th, Eovaldi was practically untouchable. But when Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge got on base after Rizzo’s home run, Red Sox Manager Alex Cora decided to end Eovaldi’s night at 71 pitches.
With Judge on base and the Yankees down two, Stanton stepped to the plate to face Red Sox reliever Ryan Brasier. Stanton sent another missile toward the Monster and narrowly missed another homer, but it seemed like it might be enough to score Judge. However, a perfectly executed relay from center fielder Kike Hernandez to shortstop Bogaerts to catcher Kevin Plawecki nabbed Judge at home plate, preserving the Red Sox lead.
Three more runs batted in by Alex Verdugo, who came to Boston from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade, made it 6-1 Red Sox. And while Stanton finally hit one out of the ballpark in the top of the 9th, this time to right field, it wasn’t enough.
The Red Sox now move on to the American League Divisional Series (ALDS) to face the Tampa Bay Rays. The five-game series is set to start on Thursday, Oct. 7.