Boston, MA - Not only did the Boston Red Sox avoid being swept by their arch rivals, the New York Yankees last night, but they also managed to be crowned the division champs for the third consecutive season. What's more? They did this at Yankee Stadium!
One of the few things sweeter than clinching a milestone like this at home is clinching it in the home of the team that was vying for the division themselves. With a record of 104-49, Boston is ten and a half games ahead of New York and even with a three game set between the two teams to end the season, it wouldn't be enough for the Yankees to come back to win the division.
Boston's record this season is also leagues ahead of their records in 2016 and 2017, when they finished 93-69 to win the American Leage East. This is the first time in franchise history that the Red Sox have won the division three years in a row, but this one feels like the sweetest, especially considering it's Alex Cora's first year as manager and considering the way in which they clinched, which was emblematic of how Boston has played with a never say die attitude all season.
The game started out with Eduardo Rodriguez pitching well and Boston's two biggest stars, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, driving in Boston's first three runs of the game. Brock Holt added a solo shot for good measure, but on the heels of a home run from Luke Voit and a grand slam from Giancarlo Stanton (who was too quick to call curtains on the game), the Yankees jumped out to a 6-4 lead.
Boston barreled back to an 8-6 lead in the later innings, as they often do, thanks to sacrifice plays from Martinez and Xander Bogaerts, a home run by Jackie Bradley, Jr., and an error by Aaron Hicks that scored Andrew Benintendi. The exclamation point came, not from Steven Wright's three innings of shutout ball or Craig Kimbrel's clutch save, but rather from a three-run home run by Betts.
It was a thrilling game, but the Red Sox have more they want to accomplish. The season continues tonight against the Cleveland Indians as they look to break the franchise record for wins in a single season.