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NEW YORK – By the end of the seventh inning, the stands at Yankee Stadium were a quarter-full. Maybe. A miasma of questionable decision-making, bad hitting and worse pitching hung over the place, a fetid reminder that the New York Yankees were on their way to being one game away from their season being over.
The Boston Red Sox ambushed their rivals early, then added insult to injury as the night wore on in a 16-1 shellacking in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Monday night, the biggest blowout loss in Yankees postseason history, one that spans 54 seasons. The Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series and in Tuesday’s Game 4 will seek to clinch a spot in the AL Championship Series against the Houston Astros.
Coming into Game 3, the Yankees felt comfortable with the state of the series. They were ready to play in front of 49,657 in the Bronx, where they had won seven consecutive postseason games. They were coming off a propulsive Game 2 victory in Boston to steal home-field advantage. And they were starting their ace, Luis Severino, who had looked solid enough in the team’s wild-card victory.
What unfolded was markedly different. Boston touched Severino for a run in the second and two more in the third, and when Yankees manager Aaron Boone left Severino in to load the bases in the fourth, the tenor of the stadium had changed from pregame hoots and hollers to boos and puzzlement.
Severino’s replacement, Lance Lynn, issued a four-pitch, run scoring walk to the first batter he faced, a bases clearing double to the second and another single before Boone pulled the plug on him, too, a 7-0 deficit enough.
It got far worse. Six Red Sox lashed at least two hits, including Brock Holt, whom Red Sox manager Alex Cora inserted into the Game 3 lineup and proceeded to hit for the first ever postseason cycle, finishing it off with a ninth-inning home run against Yankees catcher Austin Romine, who became the second position player to pitch in postseason history.
Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi – a former Yankee – was masterful over seven innings, mixing in 100-mph fastballs with hard cutters and diving splitters to flummox New York. The Yankees looked nothing like a 100-win team. The Red Sox looked every bit of a 108-win team.
Every Red Sox starter got at least one hit. Every Yankees pitcher allowed at least one run. Ugliness was a theme of the game that extended to first-base umpire Angel Hernandez having four calls challenged by replay and three overturned.
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