For Red Sox fans, it was heart attack central. Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier followed with a flawless inning each to protect a 4-1 lead, and Red Sox ace Chris Sale followed with a 1-2-3 eighth in a rare relief appearance.
Nonetheless, the bullpen (and Kimbrel, barely) was able to finish the job after the Red Sox hitters gave them a lead to work with, via RBIs by J.D. Martinez and Ian Kinsler as well as a solo home run by catcher Christian Vazquez.
Xander Bogaerts grounds out to the pitcher.
Jackie Bradley Jr. grounds out to first. What followed was the first postseason cycle in Major League Baseball history, one punctuated by a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning in a 16-1 Boston blowout. It wasn't until the final pitch of the Bogaerts at-bat that the bullpen, specifically right-hander David Robertson, started to warm up.
Kinsler doubled over a leaping Gardner for a 2-0 lead and Nunez singled on the next pitch for his first RBI of the postseason. "We feel this is the best lineup to attack CC Sabathia". The larger issue is Sabathia remaining in the game to make those mistake pitches.
This was the first playoff meeting between the clubs since then, and the Red Sox once again made themselves right at home in the Bronx. NY set a major league record this year for most home runs in a season, but didn't go deep in the two games at Yankee Stadium. "We've been doing it the whole season".
And yet, Sabathia remained in the game, and Kinsler and Nunez plated insurance runs when better options were available.
NY prepared to ascend an extreme regrouping opposed to wild closer Craig Kimbrel, attaining twice in the ninth inning.
Sale had started Game 1 and would have been in line to start a decisive Game 5. "So you kind of evaluate those and think about those and hopefully analyze always and kind of sharpening the process as far as those decisions are made". He pitched five innings allowing just one run on four hits, and manager Alex Cora questionably removed Porcello from the game before the sixth inning even though he had only thrown 60-something pitches. After splitting two games at Fenway Park, they quieted the Yankees' boisterous crowd - and their risky bats.