The Yankees entered Tuesday night’s contest down 2-1 in the series, their backs against the wall and facing elimination. Trying to send the ALDS to a Game 5 back at Fenway Park, Aaron Boone sent his big lefty to the mound. C.C. Sabathia has by far the most postseason experience of any hurler on the staff, so optimism was high that he could once again come through for the Yankees. But, despite scoring 16 runs on Monday night, the Red Sox offense was not done making a statement. Boston scored three of their four runs in the 3rd inning off Sabathia. J.D. Martinez hit a sac-fly to score Andrew Benintendi, Ian Kinsler doubled to score Steve Pearce, and Eduardo Nunez singled to left field to score Kinsler. The rally ran Sabathia from what could be his last game in Pinstripes, having recorded just nine outs. His final line: 3 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB. C.C. gave way to Zach Britton who surrendered a fourth inning home run to Christian Vasquez. Using the short porch in right field to his advantage, Boston’s catcher staked the Red Sox to a 4-0 lead. Brett Gardner provided a response in the bottom of the 5th inning with a sac-fly that scored Gary Sanchez. With the score at 4-1 after 5, the Yankees were quickly running out of outs to play with.
In relief of starter Rick Porcello, who worked 5 innings, Alex Cora called on his bullpen to get the final 12 outs of the game. Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, and Chris Sale combined to give their manager 3 perfect innings, setting up Craig Kimbrel for the three-out save. But in the postseason, and especial with these two rivals, everything is easier said than done. Kimbrel entered the game and immediately walked Aaron Judge on four pitches. The very next batter, Didi Gregorius, ripped a single to left field, bringing Giancarlo Stanton to the plate as the tying run with nobody out. Stanton swung at two balls in the dirt, and ultimately struck out swinging for the first out of the inning. But Kimbrel went right back to throwing balls, walking Luke Voit and loading the bases for Neil Walker. On the very first pitch to Walker, the Boston reliever drilled him, scoring Judge and trimming the Red Sox lead to 2. With bases still loaded, Gary Sanchez hit a deep sac-fly Benintendi, scoring Gregorius and making it a one-run game.
In a cruel bit of irony, with two outs and runners on first and second, Craig Kimbrel got Gleyber Torres to ground a weak dribbler to ex-Yankee Eduardo Nunez (who was infamous for his lackluster defense in New York). The third baseman came in and made a spectacular play on the ball, slinging it over to a sprawling Steve Pearce for a close out at first. With the season coming down to a game-ending play, Aaron Boone had no choice but to challenge the judgement of highly-criticized first base umpire, Angel Hernandez. Upon further review, the “out” call was upheld, sending the Red Sox into yet another celebration in the Bronx. Although they came up short of expectations for a second year in a row, the Yankees have plenty to be optimistic about moving forward. They won 100 games with a young core and first-year manager — that’s saying a lot! They hit a million home runs and made for a thrilling division race and brief postseason run. But now it’s on to the off-season for the Yankees, and we will be here to cover their every move leading up to what promises to be a very successful 2019 season.