The Red Sox were looking to snap out of their funk at the plate and get a solid performance out of their pitcher for a pivotal Game 3 in Yankee Stadium. Everything they could have hoped for, they got about ten times more. Boston’s offense, which featured a shaken-up lineup, was electric. They broke out for seven runs in a putaway fourth inning, and the offense was able to manufacture runs all night long. Meanwhile, Nathan Eovaldi was absolutely electric and totally shut down New York’s offense. The goal was to try and take the crowd out of this game and edge out a key victory. Apparently, that was setting the bar low. Oh, and Brock Holt got the first postseason cycle of all time. No big deal.
Where do we even start with this game? The Red Sox got everything they needed in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, with the offense breaking out against Luis Severino and company while Nathan Eovaldi made Alex Cora look like a genius for sending him out there for this pivotal matchup. I guess we start with the offense, though. For as much hand-wringing (all earned, by the way) around the pitching after the first two games of this series, it was the offense that really disappointed. They got shut down for the second half of the first game before doing mostly nothing in the second. Cora shuffled some new bats into the lineup for Game Three — putting Rafael Devers, Brock Holt, Steve Pearce and Christian Vazquez in — and it seemed to wake everyone up.
It seemed as if the key to this game was always going to be early offense and not allowing Severino to settle into a groove. Boston didn’t plate any runs in the first inning, but they did gain a little confidence and Severino did look shaky right off the bat. He missed a bunch of spots in the zone in that first inning, and the Red Sox got a walk and two very hard-hit outs. In the box score, there wasn’t much there, but the Yankees ace looked hittable in that frame.
In the second, they turned in some runs. Devers came through with the team’s first hit of the day on a rocketed line drive to right field, and then he’d steal second on a Pearce strikeout. Manufactured runs were a big part of Boston’s early scoring, and it worked here as Devers then moved to third on a ground out before scoring on an infield single in which Christian Vazquez got a grounder to bounce of Severino’s glove. Just like that, it was 1-0 lead.
The Sox kept the pressure on in the third, too, with the top of the lineup coming through. Mookie Betts started things off with a liner, then showed off his baserunning prowess when Andrew Benintendi dropped a blooper into left field. Betts read it well off the bat and ended up at third base, and then Benintendi scurried over to second when Andrew McCutchen tried to get Betts at third. Two great reads on the bases made what should have been a first and second situation a second and third one. It paid off, too, because J.D. Martinez followed that up with a sacrifice fly for the team’s second run. After a Xander Bogaerts single moved Benintendi to third, Devers hit a weak ground ball that couldn’t be converted into a double play, and Boston had three runs after nine outs.
Meanwhile, Eovaldi was trying to shut down a scary and hot Yankees lineup in front of a hostile crowd that was ready to explode at a moment’s notice. The righty, who has shut down the Yankees all year, continued to do just that and pitched brilliantly. Working on eight days rest, he had his fastball pumping consistently at 99-100 mph while also working in the best version of his cutter and a good splitter. Yankees hitters were off-balance, and when Eovaldi can accomplish that he’s going to succeed.
The righty got through a 1-2-3 inning in the first, getting away with a fat pitch to Aaron Judge that had the potential to change the complexion of the game, but then followed that up with an absolutely dominant three-pitch strikeout of Luke Voit. It was that strikeout that ultimately set the tone for the start. After that, he’d allow just a single in the second, and just an infield single in the third.
So, we headed into the top half of the fourth with the Red Sox up 3-0, and despite his clear struggles Severino was going back out there. It was the start of a very questionable inning for Aaron Boone. He gave up a ripped single on the first pitch to Holt, but stayed out there. Then, Christian Vazquez executed a hit-and-run with a single of his own, and after a four-pitch walk to Jackie Bradley Jr. Severino was finally lifted from the game.
The bases were loaded and nobody was out, with the top of Boston’s lineup coming up. The Yankees have like eight closer-caliber relievers. And yet, Boone called upon....Lance Lynn. It made no sense at the time, and it certainly didn’t look better as time went on. He started off by tossing a four-pitch walk to Betts to make it 4-0, and Benintendi stepped to the plate. He had some ugly swings early in the at bat, but then with two strikes he ripped a line drive down into the right-field corner for a bases-clearing double. Suddenly, it was a 7-0 blowout. Chad Green would eventually come in for Lynn, but he’d allow three more runs to score on hits from Pearce and Holt, and by the end of the half-inning it was a 10-0 game.
So, now it was simply about the pitching staff (specifically Eovaldi) avoiding disaster. He did get into his first bit of trouble in the bottom half of that fourth inning when he allowed back-to-back singles to kick things off. With runners on the corners, it looked like Eovaldi got a double play but instead settled for a fielder’s choice, and the Yankees had their first run of the night. It was all they’d get as the Sox righty came back with a strikeout and a ground out.
In the fifth, he’d settle back into his groove with a 1-2-3 frame before allowing just a single in the sixth. Eovaldi would come back for one more inning in the seventh, and he set the side down in order. Overall, he allowed just one run in seven innings in yet another dominant performance against the Yankees.
Meanwhile, Boston would tack on a few more runs for good measure late in this game, and Heath Hembree came on for garbage time and tossed a 1-2-3 eighth. Then, it was Eduardo Rodriguez in the ninth and he allowed just a walk.
Oh, and in the top of the ninth the Yankees used catcher Austin Romine on the mound and that’s when the magic happened. Romine actually got a couple of quick outs, but then he issued a walk to bring Holt to the plate. Holt ripped out over the wall in right field, giving Boston their first homer of the night and more importantly giving him the cycle.
So, the Red Sox have a chance to close out this series and pop champagne in the Bronx for the second time in a few weeks. They’ll be sending Rick Porcello out to the mound to take on CC Sabathia, with first pitch at 8:07 PM ET.