NEW YORK – Brock Holt put the finishing touch on Boston’s blowout by etching his name in the record book.
The part-time utilityman became the first player to hit for the cycle in a postseason game and the Red Sox routed the New York Yankees 16-1 on Monday night, grabbing a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five American League Division Series.
“This one I’ll remember for a long time,” said Holt, unaware of his achievement until told by a television reporter right after the final out. “Obviously, you don’t go into the game expecting to make history or anything like that, let alone score 16 runs.”
Andrew Benintendi lined a three-run double and Holt tripled home two more in a seven-run fourth inning that quickly turned the latest playoff matchup between these longtime rivals into a laugher. Handed a big early lead, Nathan Eovaldi shut down his former team during New York’s most lopsided defeat in 396 postseason games.
“An embarrassing day,” shortstop Didi Gregorius said.
Game 4 is Tuesday night in the Bronx, where the 108-win Red Sox can put away the wild-card Yankees for good and advance to the A.L. Championship Series against Houston. Rick Porcello is scheduled to pitch against New York lefty CC Sabathia.
Boston battered an ineffective Luis Severino and silenced a charged-up Yankee Stadium crowd that emptied out fast on a night when Red Sox rookie manager Alex Cora made all the right moves.
By the ninth, backup catcher Austin Romine was on the mound for New York – he gave up a two-run homer to Holt that completed his cycle.
“You get a little antsy when a position player’s on the mound,” Holt said. “I was trying to hit a home run. That was probably the first time I’ve ever done that.”
Boosted by noisy fans in their homer-friendly ballpark, the Yankees entered 7-0 at home the past two postseasons – against out-of-division opponents. But the Red Sox, frequent visitors who clinched the A.L. East crown at Yankee Stadium just 2 1/2 weeks ago, were hardly intimidated.
“I think from pitch 1, we let them know that we were here,” Cora said.
Holt, making his first playoff start this year, opened the fourth with a single off Severino and capped the 26-minute outburst with a triple to right field. Holt also doubled home a run in the eighth and finished with five RBIs.
“He’s been swinging the bat well for a while now,” Cora said. “We felt the matchup was good for him.”
Every starter had at least one hit for the Red Sox, who piled up 18. They only time they scored more runs in the postseason was a 23-7 win over Cleveland in 1999.
Eovaldi pitched for the Yankees from 2015-16 before injuring his elbow, which required a second Tommy John surgery. Boston acquired him from Tampa Bay in July and the hard-throwing righty compiled a 1.93 ERA in four starts against New York this season – three with the Red Sox.
Bumped up a day in front of Porcello, he delivered a gem in his first postseason appearance. Eovaldi allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, throwing 72 of 97 pitches for strikes.
“It was outstanding,” Cora said. “Efficient, great stuff from the get-go, using the fastball in different spots and mixing up breaking balls and his splitter. He’s been great against them the whole season, and that was good to see.”
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