- Don't worry, the Red Sox found plenty of joy in dealing their arch rival its worst-ever postseason lost while one of their own produced the first postseason cycle in MLB history.
NEW YORK — As Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi toweled off in Yankee Stadium’s swanky visitors’ clubhouse, he looked up and grinned. The TVs that hang from the ceiling in a jumbotron-like formation were showing replays from the game that ended minutes before, in which Boston crushed New York in the Bronx, 16-1.
Benintendi had been on fire. He hit a bases-clearing double in the fourth inning and ended the game with two runs, three RBIs, two walks, and one stolen base. He shook his head and smiled again, turning back to face his locker. No reporters were bothering him yet—he was one of the three players chosen to speak at a post-game press conference, so he had a moment to himself before he faced any questions.
But his face gave away more than anything he went on to say after the monster win could have. His smile was just for him—private, involuntary. It showed just how good it felt not only to win a postseason game against your bitter rival, but to obliterate them, to fire them into the sun: Game 3 of the 2018 ALDS was the most devastating loss the Yankees have ever experienced in the postseason. Before Monday night, the franchise’s worst loss occured in the 2001 World Series at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks (the Diamondbacks!), who scored 15 runs to the Yankees’ two.
It was almost unbelievable to watch this New York team—that defeated the Sox 6-2 in Game 2 at Fenway two days before—melt down like a hungry toddler at the grocery store who’s denied the Reese's she sees in the checkout line. The Yankees gave up four runs with zero outs in the fourth inning when they were already down 3-0, allowing three more before finally escaping. The fans—who had been hungry, assured, cocky, even, before the game—started grumbling. With the score at 10-0, the vibe became more “bored in the back of a high school history class” than “jacked up for postseason baseball."
In the words of Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius after the game: “It was embarrassing.”
“We’ve been needing that inning to break loose,” Red Sox infielder Mitch Moreland said. “... We set the tone for the rest of the game.”
By the top of the eighth, the score was 14-1, and most of the stands had already emptied out. One guy on the main concourse half-heartedly yelled, “Boston sucks!” as he departed. But some die-hards stuck around; two people even proposed on the jumbotron during the seventh-inning stretch, which… I mean… maybe it’s like rain on your wedding day? Getting engaged when your team is losing 10-1 has to be good luck (or the worst possible omen).
In the nosebleeds in section 315, hundreds of feet above the field, Brad Wilson sat with his father Cliff. I asked them why they were still there.
“Oh boy,” Brad said. “That means I have to figure out why I’m still here. Inertia? It’s a powerful thing.”
“I’m here because I don’t get to spend too much time with my son,” Cliff said. “And every at bat is valid, even when it’s 14-1.”
“Right, there’s still stuff to watch. I mean, I’ve never seen this guy pitch,” said Brad, gesturing to the field at Stephen Tarpley, who’d been called up to the Yankees from Triple A at the beginning of September. “It’s still baseball.”
It wasn’t pretty, though. At the top of the ninth, Brock Holt added a home run to complete the first cycle in postseason history. He said after the game that he knew he needed the four-bagger to accomplish the feat. Holt figured his chances against Austin Romine—the Yankees catcher sent in to pitch at the end of the game—were pretty good. He was right.
“[Holt’s] the type of guy you pull for,” said Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce. “Everybody in the dugout was pumped for him. It was awesome, seeing the smile on his face as he rounded the bases. I don’t know if he knew he made history but he knew he hit for the cycle. We all knew, everybody knew. But it was awesome the way he did it.”
The Sox needed this victory. It put them up 2-1 in the series. But more than anything, it gave them a morale boost they were in the market for after David Price’s awful start in Game 2, when he lasted only one and a half innings before manager Alex Cora pulled him. Winning on the road against the Yankees—that Evil Empire, that destroyer of dreams—and not having to dig deep into an already shallow bullpen puts Boston in a great position for Game 4.
But New York has a death star lineup. Just as no one saw the Yankees’ epic come-apart coming on Monday night (oh stop it, there’s no way you had any idea it would be this bad), with these two hungry, young, talented teams, there’s no telling what will happen next.
“You’re never safe here,” said Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly after the game, smiling the same sly way Benintendi had moments before. “Will we win again tomorrow by 15? That’d be nice, I don’t know. That would be fun, though.”