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Red Sox 14, Yankees 1: The top of the lineup destroys Yankee pitching

And Chris Sale was good, too.

MLB: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that sure was fun. The Red Sox came into Tuesday’s game riding an eight-game win streak while also fighting the silly narrative that what they’ve done to start the season didn’t matter because of their opponents. This should put that talk to rest. Going up against the Yankees ace and one of the best pitchers in the American League, the top of the Red Sox lineup completely owned Luis Severino and put this game out of reach in a painful manner. All together, the top three of Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez went 8-9 with eight runs scored and nine runs batted in. The offense was incredible and the obvious focus, but Chris Sale also went out there and did some Chris Sale things, too. It was exactly the kind of game this team was looking for against the preseason division favorites in Boston’s first game without Xander Bogaerts.

One of the focuses for Alex Cora and the Red Sox this year has been to jump on opponents early and get out to early leads. It’s why he has Betts and Benintendi at the top of his lineup, and that paid off in a big way on Tuesday. The Red Sox got to Severino right away, and Betts got things started by taking an early pitch and smacking it off the Monster for a leadoff double. It seems as though he’s leading off every game lately with a double, which is certainly not a bad thing. After Benintendi drew a walk, Ramirez put a single through the middle and just like that the Red Sox had a 1-0 lead before recording an out. It seemed like a chance to put forth a big rally, but they couldn’t get anything else. J.D. Martinez continued his tough stretch with an ugly strikeout, and after Rafael Devers walked to load the bases the Sox got two straight outs to end the rally.

Last year, it seemed all but certain that any time the Red Sox blew a rally like that they wouldn’t be able to come back and put forth another opportunity. That has not been the case this year, and it wasn’t the case against Severino on Tuesday. They came right back in the second inning and got going again, with Christian Vazquez and Betts each reaching on singles to bring Benintendi up with two on and one out. The outfielder got a pitch to hit and he smoked it into the right field corner for a two-run triple, and then he’d come in when Ramirez reached on a broken-bat, bloop single. After two, the Red Sox had an early 4-0 lead and it was hard not to feel good about the lineup against the Yankees ace. The top of the lineup just wouldn’t let up from there. In the fourth, Betts drew a walk, Benintendi moved him to third with a double off the Monster and Ramirez knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly to open up a 5-0 lead.

MLB: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Fast-forward to the sixth, with Severino freshly out of the game and Tommy Kahnle heading to the mound, and the Red Sox decided to stop playing nice. Of course, it started with the top of the order. This time around, Betts doubled before Benintendi and Ramirez each drew walks, bringing Martinez up for a chance to blow the game open with one swing. He just missed a grand slam where the Monster meets the center field wall, but the two-run double was a nice consolation prize for the struggling slugger. I won’t go through everything that happened from there, but I will tell you the Red Sox ended the inning with 14 runs on the night and the outburst included a nice little Mookie Betts grand slam.

While all of this was happening, Sale was doing his thing against this vaunted Yankees lineup. The first inning was a little scary even though he allowed only one single and struck out two Giancarlo Stanton. With his first few pitches his slider just wasn’t working, and he went with his fastball exclusively through that first inning and almost entirely through a quick second inning as well.

From there, however, the slider came back and Sale was as dominant as ever. There was still a little bit of spotty command here and there, but I’m starting to come to the conclusion that the expectations are so high that we’re willing to look for any little aspect of his game that’s not perfect and worry about it. The fact is, Sale was incredible. He made one rough pitch in the fifth when Aaron Judge took a fastball belt-high and crushed it over the center field wall. Other than that, Sale mostly breezed through the Yankees lineup. The ace ended up being taken out of the game after six innings and just 87 pitches, but it seems almost certain that he would have come back in for the seventh had the Red Sox not been Extremely Rude to the Yankees in the bottom of the sixth when they poured nine runs on. Over his six innings, Sale allowed just the one run on eight hits (a misleadingly high number as a lot of these hits came on bloops or just general weak contact) no walks and eight strikeouts. That’ll do, Chris. That’ll do.

That left it up to the bullpen to not squander a 13-run lead, which is just about as impossible as it sounds. No worries, they didn’t even come close to doing it. Joe Kelly did allow a runner but eventually got an inning-ending double play and Brian Johnson fought a bloody nose to throw a couple of shutout innings to finish this one off.

The Red Sox will look to build off this massive blowout and extend the win streak to double digits on Wednesday night with David Price taking on Masahiro Tanaka. First pitch comes at 7:05 PM ET.


Courtesy of Fangraphs