Rick Porcello got the ball for Boston on Tuesday night in Yankee Stadium. The 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner entered play without a postseason win on his resume and was facing a Yankees team he had great success against during the 2018 campaign.
Porcello started fast with precision pounding the zone to the tune of 4 shutout innings on just 40 pitches with only two hits against and 7 ground ball outs. Meanwhile, his offense spotted him a nice early lead, that allowed the right-hander could to just go out and pitch his game to.
J.D. Martinez got the Sox on the board in the 3rd with a sacrifice fly after Steve Pearce singled Benintendi to third. Ian Kinsler, reinserted into the lineup with great career numbers against CC Sabathia, delivered a two-out double scoring another run. Eduardo Nuñez would add another two-out RBI hit making it 3-0 in the 3rd. Porcello followed with a shutdown inning.
With Sabathia chased from the game, Zach Britton was called upon to give New York two innings,which he did, allowing a lone run off the bat of Christian Vazquez who went the other way with a short-porch homer fit only for Yankee Stadium.
We pick things up in the 5th inning where Boston starter Rick Porcello faced some adversity after a Gary Sanchez double and a Torres infield hit. Porcello battled through to allow just one run on a sacrifice fly before getting Aaron Hicks to pop out on the 9th-pitch of the at bat after he just missed with a two-run shot foul to right.
Although I personally would’ve rode Porcello deeper into the game with just 65 pitches through 5 innings, Boston skipper Alex Cora opted for his bullpen with the heart of the New York order due up for a third time through. Porcello’s final line was 5 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 1 ER, 1 K. Another great start for a Boston starter in enemy territory.
Matt Barnes was up first and he got the Yanks 1-2-3 in the 6th inning. David Robertson recorded 5 straight outs for the Yankees before walking Martinez with two outs, sending him to the showers in favor of Dellin Betances who would get Bogaerts to ground out on 4 pitches. Next up for the Sox was Ryan Brasier to pitch the 7th inning. He answered the call getting the Yankees 1-2-3 in the 7th.
Boston, needing just 6 more outs to advance to the ALCS, called on their ace Chris Sale to spring into action in their bullpen. The bridge in the 8th was often a problem during the season, with a 3-run lead in hand, Alex Cora wasn’t pulling any punches wanting the best bridge possible to his closer. While Sale was getting hot in the Boston pen, the Sox had loaded up the bases and had a chance to break it open before Betances escaped the jam getting Benintendi on a called third strike with some help from home plate umpire Angel Hernandez.
All Chris Sale did in the 8th is come out firing with his usual filthy stuff and get the Yanks to go down in order on 13 pitches with a strikeout. That left the final three outs for Boston closer Craig Kimbrel to send Boston on to the ALCS for a clash with the defending champion Houston Astros.
Things got really interesting in the bottom of the 9th inning. First, Aaron Judge would walk on 4-pitches and Didi Gregorious would single through the hole bringing Giancarlo Stanton to the plate as the tying-run. Kimbrel struck him out, leaving two more outs to get. Luke Voit would walk to load the bases and Neil Walker would get hit by a pitch to bring in a run. 4-2 game.
Gary Sanchez would dig in and battle before a loud fly out to the track in LF making it a one-run game. On the final play of the series, Eduardo Nuñez made a fantastic play to bare-hand and throw out Torres on a ball to third with the stretch by Pearce to win the game and the series! Boston won 4-3. What a game, what a moment.
As New Yorkers often love to hear the smooth voice and sweet renditions from legend Frank Sinatra rain down after every game, I’ll leave them one final verse. Start spreading the news, they’re leaving today, they let you be a part of it, New York, New York. Boston is King of the Hill and That’s Life. Boom. Farewell Yankees.
ALCS Game 1 is Saturday night in Boston. See you then, Sox fans.