After a 14-year October hiatus, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees renewed their rivalry in the postseason Friday at Fenway Park.
It was worth the wait.
Game 1 of the American League Division Series between the hated rivals was a high-drama act fit for baseball’s best rivalry.
The Red Sox jumped all over noted Sox-killer J.A. Happ, taking an early 5-0 lead, thanks in large part to J.D. Martinez’s monster three-run home run in the first inning.
New York battled back against Chris Sale and the Boston bullpen, scratching across two runs in the sixth, one in the seventh and one in the ninth, courtesy of an Aaron Judge solo home run, to send the pucker factor through the roof at Fenway.
But Boston’s much-maligned bullpen was able to escape numerous late-inning jams to preserve a nail-biting 5-4 Game 1 win.
The Red Sox now lead the series 1-0.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
The Sox saw their five-run lead whittled to one late in the game, but they were able to hang on to grab a crucial series-opening win.
ON THE BUMP
— Sale came out of the chute firing. The left-hander struck out Andrew McCutchen looking with a nasty slider to open the game and followed that up by freezing Judge on the same pitch. After issuing a two-out walk to Aaron Hicks, Sale punched out Giancarlo Stanton with a changeup to end the inning.
The Sox ace gave up a leadoff single to Luke Voit in the second, but responded by striking out Didi Gregorius and getting Miguel Andujar to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play. Sale opened the third inning by freezing Gary Sanchez for his fifth K of the game. The left-hander walked Gleyber Torres with one out, but retired McCutchen and Judge to end the threat.
Hicks tried to get a rally going by leading off the fourth with a single to right field. Sale followed by ringing up the next two batters before giving up an infield single to Gregorius to put runners at first and second with two outs for Andujar. The Yankees rookie was overmatched, though, as Sale blew him away with a fastball to notch his eighth strikeout.
After recording a 1-2-3 fifth inning, Sale ran into some trouble in the sixth when Judge opened the inning with a single. Following a Brett Gardner fielder’s choice, Stanton laced a single into left-center field to end Sale’s night.
When the book was closed, Sale allowed two runs on five hits while walking two and striking out eight in 5 1/3 innings.
— Ryan Brasier took the ball from Sale and immediately gave up an RBI single to Voit that plated Gardner. Gregorius followed by bouncing a ball to second base that looked tailor-made for two, but the shortstop beat the return throw, allowing Stanton to score. The right-hander then issued a two-out walk to Andujar to put runners on first and second, prompting Alex Cora to take the ball from him.
— Brandon Workman entered the game and walked Sanchez on four pitches to load the bases for Torres, but the right-hander got the rookie to wave at a 3-2 curveball to escape the jam.
Workman came back out for the seventh and gave up back-to-back singles to McCutchen and Judge to open the inning before giving way to Matt Barnes.
— Barnes entered the game and issued a walk to Gardner to load the bases in front of Stanton. The right-hander struck out the power-hitting slugger to record the first out of the inning. Voit followed by rolling a ball to third base that had the potential to be a double play, but he beat the return throw, allowing McCutchen to score to make it 5-3. Barnes got Gregorius to ground out to second to end the inning.
— Rick Porcello got the eighth inning. After getting the first two batters to ground out, Torres reached on an infield single, spelling the end of Porcello’s brief outing.
— Craig Kimbrel came on and got McCutchen to fly out to end the eighth inning. The Red Sox closer came back out to nail down the win, but Judge trimmed the lead to one by crushing a solo home run to right field to open the inning. Kimbrel bounced back, though, striking out Gardner, Stanton and Voit to end the game.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Boston pounced on Happ right off the bat in the first. Andrew Benintendi laced a one-out single to left and stole second base. After Steve Pearce worked a four-pitch walk, Martinez hammered a laser into the Green Monster seats to give the Sox a 3-0 lead.
— The Sox chased Happ in the third when Mookie Betts started the inning with a double off the Monster and Benintendi followed with a bunt single to put runners at the corners with no outs. Chad Green relieved Happ and was greeted by an RBI single from Pearce to make it 4-0. Two batters later, Xander Bogaerts lifted a sacrifice fly to right to plate Benintendi.
— Benintendi and Martinez each had two hits for the Sox.
— Betts, Pearce, Bogaerts and Kinsler had one hit apiece.
— Eduardo Nunez, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Leon each went hitless.
TWEET OF THE GAME
How do you like your pizza?
The Sox and Yanks will play Game 2 Saturday night at Fenway Park. David Price will get the ball for Boston while the Yankees have tabbed Masahiro Tanaka. First pitch is set for 8:15 p.m.
Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images