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Red Sox defeat Yankees 4-3, advance to ALCS

The Red Sox clinched the AL East in New York, and now they’ve advanced to the ALCS there, too.

Divisional Round - Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees - Game Four Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Game 4 of the American League Division Series was a tense affair with an even tenser ending — the Yankees were down 4-1, and they made it real, real terrifying for the Red Sox and their fans at the end, and gave their own fans all the hope in the world. It wasn’t to be, though, and the Red Sox held on. They’ll now advance to the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros, which will begin on Saturday in Boston.

We live blogged the whole thing, so if you want the blow-by-agonizing-blow of this Game 4, there it is, starting... now.

Red Sox vs. Yankees ALDS Game 4 Live Results

Want to read this live blog from the beginning? Scroll down to the “1st inning” marker and work your way back up!

9th inning: Aroldis Chapman is on the mound, trying to hold the Red Sox lead to 4-1. He’ll be facing the heart of Boston’s order, and he starts out fine by getting Pearce to fly out to right. J.D. Martinez follows up with a ground out on the very next pitch, and that brings up Bogaerts with two down.

Bogaerts shows a bit more patience, and works a 3-2 count against Chapman. He strikes out looking, though, and we’re off to the bottom of the ninth: the Yankees’ last chance to come back and keep the series alive. They’ll have to do it against Kimbrel, and they’ll send Judge, Gregorius, and Stanton to the plate. That’s certainly the guys you want up in this situation.

Kimbrel opens by missing with a couple of curves and a fastball, and he walks Judge on four pitches. Here’s Gregorius with a runner on. And he singles, moving Judge into scoring position. Here comes Giancarlo Stanton with a big ole narrative hanging over his head.

Stanton hasn’t had a very good postseason series, his first ever. He’s the huge acquisition of the offseason. Here’s the moment where he can make everyone forget anything they’ve said about him, his True Yankee™ initiation.

A called strike and a swinging strike open up the at-bat. Kimbrel goes high with a fastball next, 1-2. Stanton goes down swinging on a pitch low and out of the zone. One down, here’s Luke Voit with two runners still on. Voit is certainly capable of going deep, too — this lineup might have been quiet most of tonight, but it is still dangerous and never-ending.

Kimbrel is up to 15 pitches, and Voit is ahead in the count 3-0. Kimbrel just misses with a 99 mph fastball, and Voit loads the bases with a walk. Neil Walker is now up, representing the winning win.

The Yankees use Adeiny Hechavarria as the pinch-runner for Voit. Kimbrel then hits Walker with a pitch, and it’s 4-2, and here comes Gary Sánchez with the bases still loaded. Kimbrel gets him swinging at the first and second pitch, but Sánchez holds back on the third pitch, and Vazquez blocks it well enough to earn extensive praise from the booth.

It’s now a 2-2 count after a foul and another ball: Kimbrel is at 22 pitches. 23 pitches, and it’s a full count. Sánchez hits a huuuuuge fly ball to the warning track in right field, and it’s a sac fly — he nearly won the game there, but the Yankees are now only down by one run, and rookie sensation Gleyber Torres gets his chance to tie this up or win it for the Yankees.

Yankees are down to their last out. Torres takes ball one. Runners on first and second, score is 4-3. Kimbrel goes 96 mph, and it’s a 1-1 count. Torres swings through strike two, and Boston is one strike away from advancing to the ALCS — the Yankees one good swing away from halting that advance.

Slow roller hit to Núñez, who maybe, maybe gets to first in time to end the game and the series — there’s a challenge on the field. The call on the field is safe, but let’s see what the video review says. Early looks show it as an out like it was called on the field, but nothing is official yet, and that’s just the angle TV had to provide.

It’s an out! The Red Sox win, 4-3, and will advance to the American League Championship Series to face the Houston Astros for a rematch of last year’s ALDS.

8th inning: Chris Sale is warming up or the Red Sox, presumably to throw the eighth inning. This makes sense: Sale would start Game 5 if there was one, and he would also be the Game 1 starter in the ALCS should Boston make it there by winning Game 4. Getting him an inning or even part of an inning to get to Kimbrel won’t interrupt any of that.

It’s Kinsler, Núñez, and Bradley in the top of the eighth. Kinsler strikes out in just four pitches, which isn’t giving Sale very much time to warm up. Betances goes up and in on Núñez — it was not supposed to go there, but he pulled some Matrix shit to avoid it, anyway.

Núñez follows up that scare with a double to the corner in left field, giving Boston a runner in scoring position late. Bradley grounds right to Voit, but he can’t corral it, and JBJ is safe at first — Núñez moves over to third. That’s two on for Vazquez, who hit a homer earlier. Which is my way of saying don’t expect something here against Betances from the light-hitting backstop.

Bradley steals on the 0-2 pitch, moving a second runner into scoring position. It’s a 1-2 count to Vazquez, with one out and the top of the order coming. Here’s another mound visit between Betances and Sánchez — they can’t seem to get on the same page here. The visit paid off! Betances leaves a breaking ball up and in, in the strike zone, and Vazquez has an embarrassing-but-understandable whiff at it.

Betts is intentionally walked to load the bases for Benintendi, giving the Yankees back the force at every base and allowing them to avoid facing the potential MVP.

It works, but it also worked in part because Angel Hernandez just called a low, outside pitch a strike. All we asked for was consistency, Angel.

It’s 4-1, Red Sox, and Chris Sale is indeed coming in to pitch as the last steps on the bridge to Kimbrel. He’ll be facing Torres, Gardner, and the top of the order, Hicks. Kimbrel is already warming in the pen — I’d imagine he’ll try for more than a three-out save if necessary, but the idea of Sale is to try to make it so that won’t be.

Torres flies out on the warning track in right-center, and that brings in pinch-hitter Andrew McCutchen in place of Gardner. The Yankees have five outs left in their season, barring a few runs here. A few runs they are very capable of scoring, regardless of whether it’s Sale or Kimbrel on the mound.

It’s not to be for McCutchen, though, as he grounds out to Núñez. I totally understand the Yankees’ plan of “hit it to Núñez until he screws up.” Hicks strikes out on three pitches, and the bridge to Kimbrel is complete. The Yankees have three outs left, and the Red Sox are up 4-1.

7th inning: Robertson remains in the game, which is no surprise since it only took a dozen pitches for him to get through the Sox last inning. He gets Benintendi down 0-2 in a hurry. Dellin Betances is warming, though, likely for the eighth. Benintendi goes down swinging.

Pearce is still in the game even with Sabathia out, given Moreland’s hamstring injury. It takes eight pitches, but he strikes out on a check swing attempt. Ryan Brasier is warming in Boston’s bullpen — it’s unclear if Barnes will come back out and Brasier will take over, or if Brasier will start fresh.

Martinez works a full count, and Robertson is at 29 pitches. This might be the last batter for him, out or no. Martinez heads to first on a free pass, and I was right — Boone is walking to the mound now to remove Robertson in favor of Betances. Great appearance by Robertson, though: he struck out four batters and picked up five outs.

Betances had another fantastic season in relief, but this time around, he finished a lot stronger, so he’s been used in big spots in the postseason. He’ll face Bogaerts with two outs and Martinez on first. A pitch gets through to the backstop, and Martinez moves into scoring position.

It doesn’t matter, because Bogaerts then grounds out to short. The Yankees will bring Voit, Walker, and Sánchez to the plate this inning to try to cut down this 4-1 lead, and they’ll do it against Ryan Brasier, not Matt Barnes.

Voit makes Brasier throw seven pitches, but eventually flies out to Betts all the way out at the wall in foul territory. Neil Walker is the next in line to hit a foul ball that looked like it had a chance at being a homer. Walker strikes out, and here it is: the matchup you’ve all been waiting for. Brasier vs. Sánchez, the guy Brasier told to get back in “the fucking [batters] box” the last time they faced each other, and then struck out. A revenge homer here would certainly galvanize the Yankees and their fans in this stadium, who hate Brasier a lot more today than they did a week ago.

Sánchez pops out this time, though, so like in Game 2, he’ll have to get his revenge on Brasier off of another Red Sox pitcher. It’s 4-1, Red Sox, after six.

6th inning: David Robertson has entered the game in place of Britton. He’ll be facing the rest of the bottom of Boston’s order. Porcello might also be done for the night, as he’s not in his usual dugout spot, and Barnes is back up in the pen. Bradley grounds out for the first out, while Vazquez punches out looking.

Ron Darling, one of Game 4’s announcer, is saying he’d push Porcello another inning, given Boston’s bullpen issues. While I totally get that reasoning, Porcello left multiple hanging breaking balls up there last inning, and started missing his spots. He just got away with it facing the bottom of New York’s order: not pressing your luck against Judge, Gregorius, and Stanton seems entirely defensible. Robertson strikes out Betts, and that’s that for the top of the inning.

It will indeed be Barnes on the mound to face Judge and Co. here in the bottom half of the sixth. Judge works a full count, as Barnes isn’t going right after him and Judge has a good eye. Judge grounds out after swinging at what was ball four on the previous pitch.

Gregorius pops up to the mound, and Núñez catches it because pitchers fielding is weird. Stanton grounds out, and Barnes’ first inning of work is a clean 1-2-3. It’s still 4-1, Boston.

5th inning: Britton is back out for the top of the fifth inning, and he’ll be facing J.D. Martinez first. Martinez is six pitches into an at-bat here, and has Britton at 20 pitches — no one is warming for the Yankees, but it feels like they’ll get up soon. Martinez ends up grounding out to Gregorius, so one down.

Britton just maybe cost the Yankees an out — maybe — because he deflected a bouncing ball in play, and it gave Bogaerts time to get to first. The play might not have been made even without the deflection, though: if Britton couldn’t field it clean, it was probably a single regardless.

Kinsler strikes out, and there is action in the New York pen. They won’t need it in the fifth, as Britton ends the top of the frame with a fly out to right.

It’ll be Walker, Sánchez, and Torres this inning against Porcello. Walker flies out to center, nearly right to Bradley. Sánchez nearly hits a homer to left on the first pitch of the at-bat, a slider that hung up there just a little too long. He does end up getting a double, though, so he’s in scoring position with one out for Torres.

Torres works a full count, and then collects a single on a ball that just wouldn’t roll foul, and it pushed Sánchez to third base, too. The Yankees are rallying here with one out in the fifth. Matt Barnes is warming up — Alex Cora isn’t going to take any chances here, apparently, despite Porcello having thrown just 56 pitches.

Gardner is 0-for-8 in the postseason, but he picks up a sac fly here to cut the lead to three. It’s 4-1, Boston, and the Yankees still have a runner on, with the top of the order now up. Hicks just misses cutting the lead to one with a slicing liner on a fastball, but it went foul. The count is 0-2, but Porcello has been missing his spots a bunch this inning, and the Yankees have nearly homered twice because of it.

Hicks fouls off the third pitch in a row — this one was up and in, maybe to get him to back off the plate a little. And here’s a fourth foul — Hicks has pushed Porcello’s pitch count to 64 after working a full count on the eighth offering of this plate appearance.

Hicks flies it out to right field, shallow enough for Kinsler to catch it, and Porcello limits the damage to one run while also avoiding a situation where Judge comes up with two runners on base. It’s 4-1 Red Sox after five.

4th inning: Sabathia is indeed out of the game, and Britton is taking his place on the mound. Britton actually pitched more for the Yankees than the Orioles this year, despite being in a midseason trade, thanks to an Achilles injury that kept him on the disabled list to start the year.

Vazquez, the first batter Britton faces, hits a home run to right field juuust over the fence. It’s 4-0 Red Sox because a guy who hit three homers this year just went deep. The postseason remains weird.

As I was saying about the postseason being weird, Britton followed up that Vazquez homer by striking out Betts, who might win the MVP, and Benintendi, who wasn’t Betts-level good in 2018 but is still real good. Baseball! Britton gets out of the inning thanks to a great defensive stop by Gregorius. It’s 4-0, Red Sox.

It’s good to remember that the Yankees set a new home run record for a single season in 2018 when looking at Boston’s 4-0 lead. When you consider Porcello allowed 1.3 homers per nine — 27 in 193 innings — it feels even more relevant. No lead is safe in this park, not for either team.

Porcello keeps Judge in the park this time around, though, getting a fly out to right. Gregorius finds a hole in the Boston outfield alignment, though, and he gets a double to put a runner into scoring position for Stanton. The slugger grounds out and breaks his bat, but it moves Gregorius over to third base for Voit.

Núñez handles another grounder to third, and it’s still 4-0 Sox. Porcello has thrown four scoreless, but maybe more importantly, he’s only used 40 pitches to do it. With the Red Sox having trouble bridging to closer Craig Kimbrel, a long start from Porcello could make or break Game 4 for Boston.

3rd inning: The third inning begins with Sabathia plunking Benintendi on the arm on a cutter that didn’t cut, so the Red Sox have a runner on first for Pearce. Pearce works a 2-2 count, pushing Sabathia to 41 pitches after a couple of fouls.

Pearce ends up getting another single to drop in front of Hicks out in center, and this one gets Benintendi to third base. No outs yet, and here’s J.D. Martinez with two on. Martinez hits a ball to deep center, nearly at the warning track, and it’s a long sac fly to make it 1-0, Red Sox. Pearce stayed at first base, so one down, one on, and here’s Bogaerts.

There is no one warming in the Yankees’ bullpen, despite the deep fly balls and Sabathia’s pitch count approaching 50.

Bogaerts works a 3-2 count on pitch 50 from Sabathia. Bogaerts hits a soft grounder to the mound, but far enough off the mound that there was no chance of getting Pearce at second: Bogaerts is out, and there are two down for Kinsler with a runner in scoring position. And now Pearce is at third base, because of a wild pitch.

David Robertson is warming in the Yankees’ bullpen now, so Boone listened to that fan.

Kinsler is showing a little more patience this time around, as he’s got a 2-0 count. He got the pitch he wanted on a 2-1 count, this one over Gardner’s head, and it’s 2-0 Boston thanks to an RBI double.

And now it’s 3-0 Red Sox, as Núñez hits a single that Kinsler goes home on. Spike Lee is in attendance, and he made a call to the bullpen, but Boone is not listening. Bradley Jr. is up against Sabathia, and it’s hard to blame Boone for this specific batter: he’s not very good against left-handed pitching. And he continues that trend by grounding out here — the damage is done, though, and it’s 3-0 Red Sox as we head to the bottom of the third.

Zach Britton is now warming up in the Yankees’ bullpen, too, so the chances of Boone pushing Sabathia into the fourth seem nonexistent. Porcello has a three-run lead to play with, which he’ll likely need, given the homer issues combined with the issues the Yankees do not have hitting homers. Gleyber Torres leads it off for New York here in the third.

Torres hits a ball into what should have been the gap in left-center, but Benintendo got to it just in time to make the catch. Say what you will about Jackie Bradley Jr.’s inconsistent bat, but the Red Sox having three center fielders out there helps them defensively.

Gardner grounds out for the second out, and that brings up the top of the order and Hicks. Hicks pops up to the shortstop area that’s occupied by Núñez on the shift, and that’s three. It’s 3-0 Red Sox after three complete in New York.

2nd inning: Sabathia is back on the mound — he threw 21 pitches in the first despite all the baserunners, and Eduardo Núñez just helped him out by swinging at the first pitch in the second. One down.

Sabathia has to work a little harder to get Jackie Bradley Jr., but JBJ strikes out in the end. That brings up the number nine hitter, Christian Vazquez. The 27-year-old is definitely not in the lineup for his bat, and even though he’s not Porcello’s regular catcher, Alex Cora has him working tonight. Hey, it’s not like Sandy León is ever in there for his bat, either. Vazquez works a two-out walk, and the Sox lineup is back to Betts.

Sabathia works an 0-2 count, and then throws a strike low in the zone that Betts has to swing at — he hits a harmless fly, and Sabathia is through two scoreless frames.

Here’s Giancarlo Stanton to face Porcello in the bottom half of the second. Núñez almost doesn’t get Stanton on a slow roller thanks to the shift, but he actually makes good throw this time, and Stanton is out.

Luke Voit also grounds out to Núñez, but the next batter, Neil Walker, hits a liner to right for a single for the Yankees’ first baserunner of Game 4. That brings up catcher Gary Sánchez, who hasn’t had many hits this series, but made them count in Game 2 to help the Yankees win. Sánchez grounds out, too, and that’s the end of the second. We’re still 0-0 in New York.

1st inning: CC Sabathia made 29 starts and threw 153 innings this year: he’s not someone the Yankees try to push deep into starts. And with their bullpen, they don’t have to push him, either. With that in mind, Sabathia could be pulled early if he’s not sharp or if he gets into trouble, and the bullpen will go from there — tonight is either the last game of the season or the night before a day off to rest, so the bullpen can handle this workload.

Sabathia will be facing Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Steve Pearce to begin the game.

If you’re wondering why Pearce is hitting third, it’s because Sabathia is left-handed: Pearce would be playing this game even if Mitch Moreland weren’t nursing an injury suffered during Game 2, as mashing lefties is what he was acquired for in the first place.

Mookie Betts gets things started with a ground out. Benintendi is out at first on his own ground out, despite Sabathia not running to cover first: it wasn’t forgetfulness or laziness or anything, it’s that Sabathia can’t beat Benintendi in a foot race with his knees. Voit got to first in time, however, so two down.

Pearce does what he’s there for and gets the first hit of the game on a single to center. He hit it, by the way, to Aaron Hicks, who is back in the Yankees’ lineup for the first time since he injured his hamstring in Game 1.

J.D. Martinez just got an infield hit, so we’re already in “things you didn’t expect to see” territory in this game. The shift kept that part of the infield open, and no one could get there in time. Giveth, taketh away, and so on. Here’s shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

Angel Hernandez is behind the plate tonight. I’m mentioning that because he let what looked like a strike in the top part of the zone a ball and what looked way inside a strike just now. So long as his bad zone is consistent, everyone can work with that! It’s the inconsistency that ruins everyone and their good time.

Bogaerts walks on a pitch that was way off the mark, and the bases are loaded for Ian Kinsler, who gets the start at second despite Brock Holt’s cycle on Monday. The Red Sox are playing those platoon matchups. Kinsler puts a ride into the first pitch, to the warning track nearly in foul territory, but Brett Gardner hauls it in. The Yankees escape Boston’s opportunity for fun with two — 0-0 heading into the bottom of the first.

It’ll be Aarons Hicks and Judge, followed by Didi Gregorius, against Rick Porcello. Hicks also sends one to the warning track, but Jackie Bradley gets under it right in front of the fence in center.

Judge follows with a much quieter out, this one on the ground, but it counts the same in the boxscore. Gregorius strikes out on a fastball tailing up and away from him, and the Yankees go down 1-2-3 in the first.