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?
|Pliskova feeling confident after impressive start in Singapore|
|Big-hitting Imrul rescues Bangladesh in opening ODI|
|Leinster suffer late defeat at Toulouse, Newcastle snatch dramatic victory|
|Chargers pip Titans to dramatic London win|
|Everton 2 Crystal Palace 0: Substitutes Calvert-Lewin and Tosun clip Eagles´ wings|
|Thunderstorms push Andalucia Valderrama Masters into reserve day|
|Edmund masters Monfils to claim maiden singles title|
|Kohli and Rohit fire India to comprehensive ODI win|
|Manchester United didn´t play - David Luiz blasts Mourinho tactics|
|Svitolina out to silence ´haters´ in Singapore|
|Emre Can facing surgery on thyroid problem|
|Tsitsipas claims maiden ATP crown in Stockholm|
|Mariners boss Mulvey knows nothing of Bolt contract offer|
|WATCH: Vinicius Junior scores free-kick - then sees red!|
|Gronkowski ruled out of Bears clash|
|Khachanov enjoys home comforts with comprehensive Kremlin Cup win|
|Isner wants Wimbledon tie-break rule named after him|
|Hummels lauds ´outstanding´ Lewandowski|
|Liverpool´s defensive improvement no accident – Gomez|
|Pliskova overpowers defending champion Wozniacki in Singapore|
|Marquez dislocates shoulder celebrating MotoGP title|
|Henry taking positives from opening Monaco defeat|
|A-League Review: Mariners held as Bolt considers move|
|Dominant Svitolina ends Kvitova hoodoo in Singapore|
|Pereira warns Juventus to expect ´pumped up´ Manchester United|
|D´Antoni backs NBA to ´sort out´ Lakers-Rockets brawl|
|Mixed feelings for champion Marquez after Dovizioso crash|
|Bolt offered contract by Central Coast Mariners|
|Anthony accuses Rondo of spitting after Lakers-Rockets brawl|
|Martial insists he has good relationship with Mourinho|
|Bautista to replace Lorenzo at Phillip Island|
|Emery wanted Lacazette at Paris Saint-Germain|
|Wallabies centre Hodge suffers fractured ankle|
|Koepka claims top ranking with CJ Cup win|
|Dramatic Dovizioso crash gifts Marquez MotoGP title in Japan|
|LeBron´s home debut ends in defeat, Walker makes NBA history|
|Rondo, Ingram and Paul exchange punches in Lakers-Rockets clash|
|Dodgers to face Red Sox in World Series after beating Brewers|
|Valverde doesn´t care about extending Barca contract|
|Qualifying speed a ´positive surprise´ for Ferrari´s Vettel|
|I was in a different headspace – Hamilton revels in Austin pole|
|Barcelona can cope without Messi – Pique|
|Allegri: Juventus abandoned Genoa clash|
|Sale: Hospital visit was because of belly button ring|
|Valverde accepts Barcelona will miss Messi|
|No Messi or Ronaldo in El Clasico for first time since 2007|
|Barcelona have not won a Clasico without Messi since his debut|
|Ramos calls for Real Madrid unity after latest loss piles pressure on Lopetegui|
|Hamilton has title in sights after storming to Austin pole|
|Inter, El Clasico and more - the games Messi will miss with broken arm|
|End of Messi-Ronaldo duel good for LaLiga - Simeone|
|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|