The Boston Red Sox sucked all the drama out of their game three matchup against the New York Yankees, thrashing their rivals 16-1 on Monday.
Boston scored seven runs in the fourth inning, going on to take a 2-1 lead in their American League Division Series (ALDS).
The Red Sox pounded out 18 hits, led by Brock Holt, who hit for the cycle – the first in postseason history – and drove in five runs.
The offensive explosion unfortunately overshadowed a great starting performance by Nathan Eovaldi, who allowed only one run and five hits in seven innings.
1B:— MLB (@MLB) October 9, 2018
Welcome to Brocktober. pic.twitter.com/nKOgERVTNP
Cora's surprise starters pay off big
Red Sox manager Alex Cora shuffled his lineup on Monday, putting Holt at second, and also giving third baseman Rafael Devers and catcher Christian Vazquez their first starts of the series. The trio made Cora look like a genius. Holt finished the cycle in dramatic fashion, homering in the ninth inning.
"That's the first one ever?" a surprised Holt asked a TBS reporter after the game.
Holt, Devers and Vazquez combined to go eight-for-18 at the plate, with seven RBIs and six runs scored. Each made the case for more playing time in the postseason, but who do you sit? For now, the three players will have to bide their time on the bench and wait for a chance to play. As they showed on Monday, they are ready to deliver when Cora calls.
runs!— MLB (@MLB) October 9, 2018
Red Sox do a lot of little things right
Boston's powerful lineup (an MLB-leading 5.40 runs per game) and formidable starting pitching draws all the attention, but behind the scenes, the Red Sox do a lot of little things right. In the third inning, Mookie Betts aggressively went from first to third on Andrew Benintendi's single to left field, something that obviously is not done very often. That also allowed Benintendi to move to second on left fielder Andrew McCutchen's throw to third. Betts then scored on a sac fly and Benintendi later scored on a groundout, which was only possible because he had advanced on Betts' charge to third. That is the very definition of manufacturing two runs.
Another thing the Red Sox seemed to do well Monday was defensive positioning. The Yankees hit several hard shots that went right at defenders. That might be partly bad luck, but Boston probably deserve some credit for putting players in the right spots. Speaking of strategy, it is clear Vazquez and Eovaldi had a great plan to attack the Yankees hitters. Baserunning, defensive positioning and pitch selection are often overshadowed by three-run home runs, but they can often make the difference between winning and losing.
Boston in command … but don't count the Yankees out
Boston go into game four seemingly in control of this series. They will start 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, who will go against CC Sabathia. But do not count the Yankees out. Sabathia has vast postseason experience (22 starts dating to 2001). If he can get a good five innings and the Yankees turn to their strong bullpen, the Sox could be in trouble.
On the other side of the equation, the Yankees' bats are overdue for their own offensive explosion, having mostly been held in check this series. The Yankees have been both hot and cold against Porcello this season. On August 3, he pitched a complete-game one-hitter in a 4-1 victory at Fenway. But the Yankees scored five runs (on eight hits) off Porcello in 5.1 innings May 9 in New York. He also pitched seven scoreless (on two hits) against them in April in Boston. Which Yankees team will show up Tuesday – the fearsome lineup that hit an MLB-record 267 home runs this season? Or the one that scored one run on five hits in game three?
|BREAKING NEWS: Messi out of Clasico with fractured arm|
|Awesome Ashton marks Sale bow with hat-trick|
|Klopp hopes for positive Henderson prognosis amid Liverpool injury issues|
|Benitez ´convinced´ Newcastle can survive despite seventh defeat|
|Barcelona 4 Sevilla 2: Messi injured but champions go top|
|Kovac relieved by Bayern´s timely victory|
|Strasbourg 2 Monaco 1: Sy howler and Grandsir red card cost Henry in first match|
|Leicester City defender Chilwell signs new six-year contract|
|PSG´s Tuchel hopes Verratti and Di Maria can face Napoli|
|Liverpool star Salah had no fear during scoring drought|
|Alonso´s 2019 plans not damaged by McLaren´s IndyCar decision|
|Edinburgh outclass troubled Toulon, Wasps and Bath play out thrilling draw|
|Barca concern as Messi substituted with worrying arm injury|
|Howe: South coast derby draw a fair result|
|Our heads were in Manchester – Allegri left fuming at Juventus´ loss of focus|
|Derby County 2 Sheffield United 1: Marriott blunts Blades with 77th-minute winner|
|We have so many problems – Jokanovic alarmed by Fulham defensive woes|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Liverpool 1: Salah snaps winless streak|
|Pellegrini ruing injuries after Yarmolenko hurts ankle|
|Villarreal 1 Atletico Madrid 1: Simeone´s side denied LaLiga top spot|
|Gracia: Not easy to dominate Wolves like that|
|Isner´s Finals hopes hindered by Stockholm defeat|
|Dyche incredulous at refereeing decisions in Man City thrashing|
|Juventus 1 Genoa 1: Champions´ winning run ends despite record Ronaldo goal|
|´Fantastic´ Lamela urged to find consistency by Pochettino|
|You don´t want to lose any players - Young speaks out on Wade NFL speculation|
|Championship Review: Smith gets off to a winning start, Leeds beaten|
|Guardiola hails extraordinary Fernandinho after Burnley drubbing|
|Pochettino lauds Lloris as one of world´s best after West Ham heroics|
|Paris Saint-Germain 5 Amiens 0: Ten wins in a row for PSG as Neymar rests|
|Cristiano Ronaldo nets record 400th league goal|
|Marcelo backing beleaguered Lopetegui despite Madrid slump|
|Garcia dazzles to hit the front at shortened Valderrama Masters|
|Cardiff City 4 Fulham 2: Paterson gets Bluebirds off the mark|
|Newcastle United 0 Brighton and Hove Albion 1: Benitez´s men bottom after dismal defeat|
|West Ham 0 Tottenham 1: In-form Lamela settles London derby|
|Manchester City 5 Burnley 0: De Bruyne returns in comfortable win|
|Wolves 0 Watford 2: Capoue and Pereyra turn form book on its head|
|Bournemouth 0 Southampton 0: Howe´s side stifled by Saints|
|Prove you´re crazy about Inter - Spalletti rallies players ahead of Milan derby|
|Wolfsburg 1 Bayern Munich 3: Lewandowski leads Kovac out of trouble|
|Goerges betters Bencic to clinch Luxembourg title|
|Morgan wants more from ´rusty´ England despite series win|
|Sarri says sorry after touchline bust-up overshadows Chelsea´s late escape|
|Chelsea draw an ´awful´ result for excellent United, says Mourinho|
|The Chelsea assistant that angered Mourinho - Who is Marco Ianni?|
|Steve Kerr supports Colin Kaepernick: ´I think he deserves a chance to play´|
|Lopetegui ´more motivated than ever´ amid Real Madrid sack reports|
|That´s football – Rudiger shrugs off late Ianni-Mourinho fracas|
|AC Milan´s improved mentality could be difference against Inter - Gattuso|
|Emotional Kasatkina comes back from the brink to win Kremlin Cup|
|Forget it, it´s over - Mourinho accepts apology over touchline row|
|Mourinho in furious bust-up with Chelsea staff after late equaliser|
|Chelsea 2 Manchester United 2: Barkley strike denies Mourinho|
|Raptors star Kawhi Leonard: Too early for MVP chants|
|WTA Finals 2018: Profiling the ´elite eight´|
|Cipriani sent off and facing ban for high tackle|
|Real Madrid 1 Levante 2: Lopetegui on the brink as abysmal run continues|
|Warriors coach Kerr: Jerebko ´one of us´ after game-winning tip-in|
|Real Madrid break record for longest goalless run|
|England wrap up ODI series in Kandy rain|
|Melbourne Victory 1 Melbourne City 2: Honda scores but suffers losing start|
|Mata starts for United as Chelsea boss Sarri selects Morata|
|Dovizioso prepared for another Marquez duel|
|Isco returns as Bale makes the bench for Real Madrid|
|Maddison feeling at home with Puel´s Foxes|
|Ruthless Australia beat Tonga in historic Test|
|Pep talks helped Mendy make the most of his time out of action|
|Wantaway Butler revels in boos|
|Emery: Arsenal must be calm with returning Koscielny|