Red Sox Hang on to Down Yankees, 4-3, Advance to ALCS

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The Boston Red Sox advanced to the American League Championship series on Tuesday night, holding off a rally by the New York Yankees in the ninth to win 4-3. A three run third inning backed the outstanding start by Rick Porcello and Craig Kimbrel earned his second save of the series despite the Yankees scoring two runs in the ninth.

It was a scoreless contest after the first two innings, but Boston would change that in the top of the third. Andrew Benintendi was hit by pitch to start the inning and advanced to third when Steve Pearce hit a bloop single into center. J.D. Martinez followed with a sacrifice fly, bringing home Benintendi to give the Red Sox a one run lead. A ground ball moved Pearce to second and he scored on a double down the line in left by Ian Kinsler. Eduardo Nunez lined a base hit into left that scored Kinsler and Boston suddenly had a 3-0 lead.

An inning later, Boston extended their lead. Christian Vazquez led off the inning with a towering drive over the right field wall for his first home run of the postseason. That made it 4-0.

In the bottom of the fifth, New York would cut the deficit back to three. Gaby Sanchez doubled with one down and moved to third when Greyber Torres hit a slow roller to third that he beat out for a base hit. A sacrifice fly by Brett Gardner brought Sanchez home to cut the Red Sox lead to 4-1.

That was the only run that Boston starter Rick Porcello allowed. The right-hander gave up four hits in his five innings of work. He did not walk a better while striking out one.

From there, the Boston bullpen was dominating over the next three innings. Matt Barnes came on in the sixth and tossed a perfect frame. Ryan Brasier relieved in the seventh and tossed a perfect frame of his own. Chris Sale came on in the eighth, retiring the side in order.

That set up the dramatic ninth-inning. With Boston Red Sox seemingly in total command of this contest, they turned to closer Craig Kimbrel. He walked Aaron Judge before giving up a single to Didi Gregorius to put two on with no one out. After striking out Giancarlo Stanton, the Boston closer walked Luke Volt to load the bases. Neil Walker was then hit by pitch, driving in Judge, and Sanchez followed with a sacrifice fly to pull New York within one. The Yankees had the tying run at second base, but there were two outs now for Torres. He hit a ground ball to third but was narrowly thrown out at first to finish off the game.

Nunez finished 2-4 with an RBI to lead Boston. Pearce was 2-5 with a run scored. The Yankees were led by Gregorius, who was 2-4 with a run scored.

With the victory, the Boston Red Sox move on to the American League Championship series which will begin on Saturday night. Boston will host the first two games against the Houston Astros. Game 1 starts at 8:09. Neither teams’ starter has been named yet.

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Photo by Julie Jacobson/AP Photo

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