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Red Sox 11, Yankees 0: Rafael Devers and Chris Sale lead a Bronx Blowout

This was fun.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Well, this is more like it. The Red Sox showed no mercy in the Bronx on Saturday as they snatched the AL East lead back from the Yankees. They poured on early offense and kept it going all night, large thanks to a huge night for Rafael Devers. They also got an incredible performance from Chris Sale. It was, essentially, the exact opposite of Friday’s game.

Sale was great in this game, and we’ll obviously get to that, but the story here was the offense getting off to a strong start and taking command of the contest right away. After getting totally and utterly shut down by CC Sabthia on Friday, they had to show some signs of life against Sonny Gray. They were able to do that and then some and put the Yankees in a big hole before they were even able to come to the plate against Sale.

While the first inning ended up being a gamechanger for the Red Sox offense, that wasn’t always obvious as the first two batters were set down. In fact, J.D. Martinez came up third and was down 1-2, but he put forth a tremendously impressive at bat and was eventually able to reach on an infield single. Mitch Moreland would keep things going with a walk, and after a Xander Bogaerts single the Red Sox had the bases loaded. That left things up to Rafael Devers, and he took advantage. The young slugger got a curveball belt-high on the outside corner and he put it just over the left-field wall for a grand slam. Devers became the youngest player to hit a grand slam in the history of this rivalry, and the big fly put the Red Sox up 4-0 not too long after they were one strike away from being set down in order.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

With the same 4-0 carrying into the second inning, the Red Sox did not take their foot off the gas against Gray. This time, the rally started with a Sandy León double to lead off the inning, and with one out and following a Mookie Betts walk, Andrew Benintendi smacked a single to knock in a run. On the play, Betts had to stop between first and second to allow the ball to pass through, but he was still able to make it to third. That would prove important because Martinez came up next and smashed a fly ball to the warning track in right field. It was an out, but it scored a run because of Betts’ baserunning. Just like that, the Red Sox had a commanding 6-0 lead after two.

That was all Boston would get for a little while, but it was certainly plenty of damage. It also resulted in extra work for the Yankees bullpen as Gray recorded just one more out in the third before leaving the game. Adam Warren would come on after him and toss 2 23 scoreless innings to preserve Boston’s 6-0 lead heading into the sixth.

While all of this was going on, Sale was doing Sale things. Well, mostly. He wasn’t utterly dominant in the beginning of this outing like his last few, though that says more about how good he’s been lately than anything about this start. He would get stronger and sharper as the game went on, though, and considering the opponent this ended up as perhaps his most impressive outing of the year to date.

After getting a 4-0 lead before even taking the mound — a downright shocking development considering his normal run support — he was a little off his game in the first couple of at bats. He yanked a couple of pitches to Aaron Hicks in the opening at bat and eventually hit him with a back-foot slider (they call it that for a reason, ya know). Of course, he’d come right back and strike out Aaron Judge. After allowing a single in that inning as well, Sale pitched around the trouble and kept the Yankees to a zero on the scoreboard.

He would struggle a bit with his control in the second as well, walking Andrew Romine with two outs and throwing a wild pitch that allowed the runner to get to second base. No matter, though, as that was all he’d give up, and despite a little bit of shakiness (relative to expectations) Sale was through two scoreless innings with four strikeouts.

After that inning, it was perfection. Each of the next three innings were 1-2-3 frames with one strikeout each. Then, the sixth brought the top of the Yankees order to the plate, and all Sale did with them is strike out the side. He came back for one more inning and tossed yet another 1-2-3 frame, this time with one strikeout. That would be the end of his night, and in all Sale allowed just a hit, a walk and a hit batter over seven shutout innings with 11 strikeouts.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The offense was able to add on more after Warren left the game, too. They put one run on the board in the sixth thanks to an RBI single from Martinez. In the seventh, Devers just missed another home run and settled for a double, and a couple batters later León crushed a homer into the second deck in right field to extend the lead to 9-0. They’d add yet another on another Martinez RBI single in the eighth to make it 10-0, and a Brock Holt RBI would make it 11-0.

Heath Hembree came out of the bullpen for the bottom of the eighth, and he tossed a scoreless inning. The ninth belonged to Hector Velazquez, and he’d allow the Yankees their second hit of the game but preserve the shutout and end the game.

The Red Sox will look to finish off a series victory on Sunday Night Baseball in the Bronx. They’ll be sending the red-hot David Price to the mound to take on Luis Severino. First pitch is at 8:00 PM ET.


Courtesy of Fangraphs