The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox began the 2021 MLB playoffs with a single-elimination thriller. The latter defeated New York 6-2 Tuesday and advanced to the ALDS to face the Tampa Bay Rays.
New York and Boston split their four previous playoff series — the Yankees won the first two (1999 ALCS, 2003 ALCS) and the Red Sox won the last two (2004 ALCS, 2018 ALDS).
As if there needed to be an added layer between these two storied organizations, the fifth winner-take-all meeting between the AL East rivals had all the makings of an instant classic.
The AL wild-card race had a dramatic finish that came down to the final regular season game of the season. New York punched its ticket with a dramatic walk-off win over the Rays, courtesy of Aaron Judge s ground ball single. On the other hand, Boston’s comeback victory over the Washington Nationals proved to be enough for the top wild-card spot.
Despite finishing the regular season with identical records, Tuesday’s game took place at Fenway Park instead of Yankee Stadium because Boston won the season series by just one win and one run in 19 meetings this season.
The homefield advantage worked out to the Red Sox’s advantage early on as the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins shared their best wishes ahead the Wild Card action. A few big names from other sports were tuned in as well.
On top of all of that, the Massachusetts State Lottery numbers and presence of Bucky Dent added even more fuel to an already fiery feud.
Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts started off the scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning.
Kyle Schwarber’s solo home run into right-field extended Boston’s lead and put an early end to starting pitcher Gerrit Cole’s night. It was the shortest start of his postseason career.
The Green Monster played a big factor in this game, preventing the Yankees from producing points.
Giancarlo Stanton fell victim to the green wall — having a potential homerun robbed at the top of the first. He was close to hitting it out of the park again in the sixth, but the baseball bounced off the wall again — making it two homeruns that could’ve been.
Things were looking bleak for the Bronx Bombers until Anthony Rizzo injected some life into their comeback hopes.
He launched a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning to cut the lead to 3-1.
Just when the momentum was swing towards New York, Boston managed to take it back.
Alex Verdugo hit a ball into the right corner, resulting in an RBI double and extending their lead to 4-1. Former Red Sox player and baseball legend David Ortiz was pumped — to say the least.
In an apparent encore, Verdugo generated more offense when he singled to center to drive in Enrique Hernandez and Kyle Schwarber during the very next inning.
Ortiz wasted no time reminding fans about Verdugo’s timely bat en route to Boston’s largest lead of the game.
Once the dust settled from another Wild Card thriller, Boston secured an ALDS bid against the Tampa Bay Rays, who split the previous two postseason meetings between both teams.
Boston’s win marked its eighth in the last nine postseason meetings against the Yankees.
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