Brett Gardner lit a fire under the Boston Red Sox, and it didn’t turn out so well for the Yankees.
The Sox went into the Bronx this weekend and knocked around New York from pillar to post, sweeping away the Bombers in primetime Sunday night.
Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts put the finishing touches on a clutch performance when he laced a game-winning, two-run double to left-center field in the top of the 10th inning. That put the finishing touches on a spirited showing for Boston that was apparently sparked by words from Gardner.
The longtime Yankees outfielder said he was motivated to beat the Red Sox with Alex Cora back as Boston manager. Cora, of course, was suspended for a year for his role in the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal, which came at a time when Houston knocked Gardner and the Yankees out of the playoffs.
“Yeah, I mean, having him back in the dugout obviously makes me want to beat them more,” Gardner told reporters earlier in the week. “Listen, we don’t like those guys, they don’t like us.”
After coming through in the clutch on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball,” Bogaerts was interviewed on “SportsCenter” after the game.
“Obviously, Gardner said a couple of words before the series started. It kind of got us fueled up a little more,” Bogaerts said, per ESPN.com.
Understandably, Bogaerts also called Sunday night’s dramatic, come-from-behind victory “the most fun game in a long time.”
Both of those feelings were shared in the Red Sox clubhouse, as the Sox improved to 36-23 on the season, just one game back of the surging Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East standings.
The Yankees, meanwhile, sit 5 1/2 games behind Boston now, are just two games over .500 and have a negative run differential on the season.
“An awful week for us. We’ve got to get right; we’ve got to get better,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters, per ESPN.com. “We’ve got to find a way to start scratching out some W’s.”