If there was any game in this series that felt like a loss waiting to happen, you had to think it was going to be this one. After all, the Yankees were trotting out their bona fide ace, Gerrit Cole. The Red Sox countered with Eduardo Rodriguez, who has struggled mightily since his hot start to the season.
How mightily? Well, since May 1 Rodriguez had put up a 7.25 ERA, with batters hitting .333/.388/.522 against him. Teams were seeing what he throws, hitting it, and hitting it hard.
You would be forgiven for thinking the Yankees would be the first to score. That would be the expected result. Instead, Rodriguez tossed a fantastic first inning, and Gerrit Cole gave up a home run on the first pitch of the game to Enrique Hernández. Alex Verdugo continued to put the pressure on with a double a few pitches later to put a runner in scoring position. J.D. Martinez drew a walk too, and then Cole finally was able to get an out. But the celebration ended there for the Yankees.
Rafael Devers hit a three-run shot that was absolutely annihilated. 4-0 Red Sox. It was the first inning. These are the things you love to see.
Raffy leaves Earth off Cole . 451' pic.twitter.com/YKIGjkLXuu— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) June 27, 2021
The home runs did not stop in the first. To lead off the third inning Martinez spiked a no-doubter to the batter’s eye in center field to give the Sox a 5-0 lead. The pressure on Cole was constant, and it didn’t end with the dinger. Xander Bogaerts singled on a ground ball and got over to second on a throwing error by Gleybar Torres. Devers then pushed him over to third on a ground ball that almost turned into another single, Hunter Renfroe toughed out a come-from-behind walk, and Christian Vázquez drove in Bogaerts on a sacrifice fly to make it 6-0.
Through all of this, you might be wondering what voodoo god the Red Sox unearthed over the past few days, allowing Rodriguez to keep the Yankees scoreless through the first five innings of the contest. After all, the Yankees offense isn’t bad, with a 100 wRC+ (aleague-average mark) on the season. He was keeping the hits to a minimum (three in the first five innings) and striking guys out (seven in the same time frame). Best of all though, he wasn’t walking anyone.
Today is the first time in 2021 that Rodriguez has opened a game with five scoreless innings.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) June 27, 2021
Rodriguez’s train came to a halt in the sixth inning as a leadoff single set the stage for Aaron Judge to drive a ball into the Monster Seats to make it 6-2. Rodriguez was able to finish the inning, and his final line reflected one of his finest days of work in a long time. He finished with six innings of work, five hits, two runs, eight strikeouts, and no walks. A very fine outing indeed.
Darwinzon Hernandez came in out of the pen to start the seventh inning but struggled, allowing two runners to reach base while mustering only one out. Alex Cora had a quick trigger as he called on Garrett Whitlock to put out the fire. Gary Sánchez greeted him by drawing a nine-pitch walk to load the bases for Red Sox Killer DJ LeMahieu. Whitlock struck him out with authority and conviction. That man had a family, Garrett. He also induced a pop-out by Aaron Judge. Fire. Extinguished.
For good measure, the Red Sox added back on to their lead in the bottom half of the same inning. After two quick outs, Bogaerts laced a double into left field. and Rafael Devers drove him in to put the Red Sox on top 7-2. Devers has not been getting as much love as Vlad Guerrero Jr and Shohei Ohtani, but he should be in the MVP race, even if it’s just as the third-place finisher.
We heard you like runs. So we put some runs on the board so you can celebrate while you celebrate. This time, a home run was provided courtesy of Christian Vázquez. He parked one into the Monster seats himself to make it 8-2 in the 8th inning. It became 9-2 on an Enrique Hernández double that brought in Marwin Gonzalez (who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning).
The Red Sox brought out Yacksel Ríos to close the door and give the better members of the pen a day off with the Sox up by seven runs. While he walked a batter, he didn’t give up any runs, and that was that. Ball game over, Red Sox win, 9-2.
So yeah, this was the one game this series you had to expect the Red Sox were going to lose. And they didn’t. Instead, they completely demolished the Yankees this series, and enforced their will on their adversaries to complete their second sweep of the team in the month of June. Time will tell if the Yankees will end up selling in the next month— How fun would it be to be one of the primary factors in their needing to sell? — but it’s nice to think that the Sox outclassed them so thoroughly in such an important series.
The win moves the Sox to 47-31, which puts them in a tie for first place in the AL East. (Ed. Note: The rays have since lost, and the Red Sox have a half-game lead in the division.)
They host the Royals next with first pitch tomorrow at 7:10 ET. Old friend Andrew Benintendi is still on the shelf, so we won’t see him this time either.