Yankees lead Red Sox Wild-Card

BOSTON – The Yankees feel it now, after nearly six months of triumph and torment, great moments and punches. They are blistered or bli...


BOSTON – The Yankees feel it now, after nearly six months of triumph and torment, great moments and punches. They are blistered or blistered, rarely in between. They knew they would need a final boost to reach the playoffs for the fifth straight season, and here it is.

“We’re not afraid to make it interesting,” Giancarlo Stanton said Sunday night, “for sure.”

Stanton played punish all weekend at Fenway Park, lifting the Yankees to No. 1 in the American League wildcard race with a three-game sweep against the Boston Red Sox. They could come back here to start the playoffs with a knockout game on October 5, but they have no plans to. They threw a departure party in the squeaky visitors clubhouse.

“It’s quaint, tight, low ceiling,” said manager Aaron Boone. “It was quite noisy after this one. It is as if a family is reuniting. “

Stanton launched another rocket over the Green Monster and onto Landsdowne Street to cap Sunday 6-3 victory, the Yankees’ sixth consecutive victory. He was 7 for 12 in the series, leading in 10 points with three homers. The only other Yankee to play in all three of a three-game streak at Fenway? Joe DiMaggio in 1949.

Stanton’s Sunday explosion followed Aaron Judge’s brace after the Red Sox stubbornly refused to let Judge make an outing. Receiver Christian Vasquez dropped a third strike while transferring the ball from his glove to his bare hand. This was after first baseman Bobby Dalbec extended his batting presence by letting a foul ball fall intact on the warning lane.

“I felt like a cat,” Judge said. “I felt like I had nine lives up there.”

Given yet another chance – Well if you insist – The judge hammered a fastball from Adam Ottavino into the left center gap. The judge slipped headfirst into the second, elated with celebration, then noticed that his little finger was pointing the wrong way. He put it back in place and continued to play.

“I don’t need it to hit,” Judge said, “so I think I’ll be in good shape.”

You have to admit: fickle as the Yankees are, they are terribly imposing at their best. Judge and Stanton combined 70 homers and 185 RBIs (and, yes, 304 strikeouts). The pitch is deeper with Corey Kluber and Luis Severino returning from injuries and two more – Jameson Taillon and Jonathan Loaisiga – most likely returning in the next few days. Closer Aroldis Chapman converted his last 14 stopping chances.

Taillon, Gerrit Cole and Kluber face Toronto in a three-game road series starting Tuesday. blue jays, who have finally settled in their homes after being forced out of Canada due to coronavirus restrictions, they are doubling Rogers Center capacity to 30,000 for the series, their first in Canada with the Yankees since 2019. Regardless of the outcome of games, the Reds Sox will be happy; in such a tight race (the Yankees have 89 wins, the Red Sox 88, the Blue Jays 87), the schedule is their ally.

“We still have a wild card spot,” manager Alex Cora said. “We know the Jays and Yankees go head to head, so for this weekend’s size, Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday are probably bigger. We know someone is going to lose in the next three games and we can gain some ground. “

The Red Sox will end the regular season with three games in Baltimore and three more in Washington. The dreaded Orioles have lost 12 of their last 13 games to the Red Sox, and the Nationals are not much better.

The Yankees will return from Toronto to host the Tampa Bay Rays next weekend, while the Blue Jays will stay at home to face the Orioles. The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics – both alive but behind the three AL East teams – face off for three games in Seattle starting Monday.

Also, don’t forget: if Boston and the Yankees are tied for the top of the wild card, the Red Sox will host the Yankees on October 5 because they won the series of the season, 10 games to 9. The Red Sox have won the first seven of those encounters, which is in line with the pace of the Yankees season: awesome or awful, all or nothing at all.

Maybe now is the reward for all this mental angst. The Yankees have managed to reach the precipice of a playoff berth, and they deserve to be proud.

“We’ve had a lot of crushing losses and some good streaks too, so we’ve been through a lot of things that we need to get through times like these,” Stanton said. “It’s about understanding all of that, and understanding how this year hasn’t been a washout, it’s really a learning curve and we can use it to our advantage, even the bad parts.”

Stanton has dealt with a lot of good and bad over the four seasons with the Yankees. But he carried the team to the playoffs last fall, and with 18 home runs and a .314 average since Aug. 1, he’s starting over.

“He’s the kind of player he is,” said Judge. “He comes in great times and continues to deliver, deliver, deliver.”

Stanton was asked about sentiment among players after Sunday’s sweep, and he confirmed Boone’s description. There was joy in the clubhouse, he said, but also recognition of their position. While other teams burn out playoff spots, the Yankees aren’t quite there.

“We’re excited,” Stanton said. “It’s very important that we were able to sweep them away. But yes – hype and all business too. We know there is still a lot of work to be done.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Yankees lead Red Sox Wild-Card
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