Sports

‘We hate losing to them’: New York Yankees eliminated by Boston Red Sox in ALDS

NEW YORK — Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees couldn’t wait
to get back home.

Now, that’s exactly where they’re staying.

CC Sabathia became the latest pitcher to put New York in an
early hole as rookie manager Aaron Boone again stuck with his
starter too long, and the Yankees fell just short of extending
their season Tuesday night with a 4-3 loss to the rival Boston
Red Sox in Game 4 of their AL Division Series.

“That’s the one team that you don’t want to lose to,”
outfielder Brett Gardner said. “We hate losing to them and we
love beating them. Obviously, they just had our number this
year.”

Boston
Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce stretches for the throw to the
bag ahead of New York Yankees’ Gleyber Torres for the final out
of Game 4 of baseball’s American League Division Series, Tuesday,
Oct. 9, 2018, in New York. The Red Sox won 4-3.

Bill
Kostroun/AP
/ AP

New York mounted a last-ditch rally against wild closer Craig
Kimbrel, scoring twice in the ninth inning. But the Yankees’
comeback stalled when Gary Sanchez’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly
was caught on the left-field warning track, and rookie Gleyber
Torres grounded out with two on to end it — sort of.

The play at first base was close, so both teams and a sellout
crowd held their breath during a dramatic replay review before
the out call was upheld following a 63-second delay. Kimbrel
and the Red Sox — suspended in mid-celebration for a minute —
resumed bouncing around in excitement.

“We played a really hard season, we managed to win 100 games
and then we get to this point and we just can’t finish off a
series against the Red Sox. It’s tough,” reliever David
Robertson said.

Asked about his long fly, Sanchez said through a translator: “I
wasn’t sure about it. I hit it well, but I got under it.”

After beating Oakland in the AL wild-card game, it was a
humbling playoff exit for a power-packed Yankees team that
added reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton last off-season and hit
a major league-record 267 home runs.

With the stakes at their highest, however, the Yankees never
left the yard in two home games versus Boston. They were
outscored 20-4 as the AL East champs took the best-of-five
series 3-1 and advanced to the ALCS against defending World
Series champion Houston.

“I didn’t expect to come here and lose two in a row. I expected
to come back here and win two in a row,” Gardner said.

Last year, it was the Yankees who reached the AL Championship
Series before their surprising run ended with a Game 7 loss to
the Astros.

I didn’t expect to come here and lose two in a row. I
expected to come back here and win two in a row

This time, a 2018 season that began with sky-high expectations
— now over in bitter disappointment.

While the Red Sox got strong starts from Chris Sale, Nathan
Eovaldi and Rick Porcello during the series, Yankees starters
were charged with 15 runs over 13 innings in four games.
Masahiro Tanaka was the only one to get an out in the fourth.

“They just had a lot of stuff going right. We’re very equal
teams,” Sabathia insisted. “The ball just bounced their way.”

Adding to the humiliation, the Red Sox got to revel in a second
champagne celebration at Yankee Stadium in less than three
weeks.

Boston also clinched its third consecutive division crown on
enemy ground Sept. 20.

“They got momentum on their side and never really slowed down,”
Robertson said.

So while the Red Sox roll on seeking their fourth World Series
title in 15 years, the Yankees own but one pennant and
championship during that span (2009).

On deck, a long winter of wondering how they’ve fallen behind
in a rivalry they dominated for nearly a century.

All that changed in 2004, when Mariano Rivera was finally
unable to close out the pesky Red Sox and they rallied for an
unprecedented comeback from a 3-0 deficit to win the ALCS.
Boston took Games 6 and 7 at Yankee Stadium on the way to its
first World Series championship in 86 years.

New
York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia talks with home plate
umpire Angel Hernandez (5) at the end of the top of the first
inning of Game 4 of baseball’s American League Division Series
against the Boston Red Sox, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, in New
York.
Frank Franklin II/AP / AP

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. After splitting two games at Fenway Park, they
quieted the Yankees’ boisterous crowd — and their dangerous
bats. New York hadn’t gone consecutive games at Yankee Stadium
without a home run since April.

“Definitely frustrating,” Boone said. “I think one of their
goals in this series was to keep us in the ballpark, and then
coming here where we’re so good at that, they were able to do
it. Credit to them for being able to hold us down and shut us
down, but in the end, you don’t move on usually when you can’t
get enough big hits in a series, and they just outplayed us a
little bit.”

Before the last two games, New York was 7-0 at home over the
past two postseasons.

Confident players were excited about returning to the Big
Apple, and Judge even walked past Boston’s clubhouse inside
Fenway Park early Sunday morning with Frank Sinatra’s rendition
of “New York, New York” blaring from a boom box.

“It’s a good song. And Aaron, he’s one of our resident deejays,
so he’s got a pretty extensive playlist,” Boone said later that
day at Yankee Stadium, a smirk filling his face. “We like to
hear that song sometimes when we win a big game.”

That was the last time they did.

Boston’s 16-1 blowout Monday marked the most lopsided defeat
for a home team in post-season history, and shortstop Didi
Gregorius called it “an embarrassing day.”

Boone acknowledged some regret in allowing ace Luis Severino to
start the fourth inning down 3-0. Severino was removed with the
bases loaded and nobody out, but relievers Lance Lynn and Chad
Green quickly let the game get out of hand.

The next night, after 1978 Boston nemesis Bucky Dent threw out
the first pitch , Boone stayed with Sabathia even when the
38-year-old lefty, pitching on 11 days’ rest, ran into trouble
in the third . By the time the inning was over, the Red Sox had
a 3-0 lead they never relinquished.

“I was fine with the way CC was throwing the ball,” Boone said.
“I think it was a sound decision.”

Zach Britton gave up an opposite-field homer to No. 9 batter
Christian Vazquez in the fourth, and New York never fully
recovered.

“They’ve got a great team over there. They won 108 games,”
Judge said. “They’re one of the most potent offences in the
game and it was a battle back and forth.”

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