The Red Sox completed their sweep of the Yankees, punctuating the domination of their top rivals with a 9-2 rout in Fenway Park. And while it's certainly possible to conceive of a more perfect series than this one, the ways to top it are few.
What makes it all so fantastic? The Red Sox just swept the Yankees. That, in itself, is always cause for celebration and then some. The Red Sox just swept the Yankees to bring their division lead up to 9.5 games in the A.L. East. The Red Sox just swept the Yankees to continue a September tear which seems poised to dump them into the postseason at the top of their game. The Red Sox just swept the Yankees to eliminate New York from mathematical contention for the division, and left them three games back of the last wild card spot to boot. If there is a mic drop equivalent in baseball before October, this is it.
So how did it all go down tonight? Well, it wasn't perfect. A little messy. Clay Buchholz was not quite at his level best--a leadoff walk set a trend of wildness, which Buchholz made worse by throwing away a pickoff throw to first, essentially gifting the Yankees a run on a groundout. He would give up three more walks, hit Chris Stewart, and didn't really get any strikeouts going until late in the game.
But none of that really ended up being a problem. If his first outing was a reminder of what Clay can be when he's on, then this was a reminder that he's figured out how to survive when he's not--a huge part of what's changed him from a kid with lots of potential to one of the game's most stingy pitchers. Plenty of ground balls paved the way for Buchholz to end his night with six innings of one-run (unearned, if it was his own error that caused it) ball on just 91 pitches--a good outing by most accounts.
Not that he needed to be that good the way the Red Sox supported him. Mike Napoli fired the first massive volley with a three-run shot that went 414 feet to dead center field. And while Ivan Nova managed to settle down for the next couple of innings, the Sox would not let it rest at that. A pair of walks in the fourh put runners at the corners, allowing Jarrod Saltalamacchia to take home when Xander Bogaerts stole second. Yes, you're reading that right: Jarrod Saltalamacchia stole home. Because winning normally was not, it would seem, enough for Boston.
The run that followed was a bit unorthodox as well, with Nova loading the bases with an intentional walk of David Ortiz, then hitting Mike Carp to bring Dustin Pedroia in from third. Things got back to normal when Daniel Nava singled home Xander Bogaerts with his fourth hit of the night, and David Ortiz followed up with an RBI single of his own, but normal or unusual the runs all counted the same. By the time the Red Sox had taken their last bat, they had put nine up on the Yankees, with only a ninth-inning RBI single from Ichiro Suzuki off Allen Webster bringing them as close as 9-2.
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