The Boston Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees on Tuesday night in the American League Wild Card Game. The Red Sox will now advance to the AL Division Series against the top seeded Tampa Bay Rays; the Yankees, meanwhile, are heading home for a long winter.
Tuesday wasn't the first time the Yankees and Red Sox have met in an elimination game, however. They've done this dance before, creating plenty of memorable moments. Let's run through them.
1949 - Yankees 5, Red Sox 3
I would say many people forget about this, but most of us weren't alive. The Ted Williams-led Red Sox finished the 154-game regular season schedule with 96 wins. So did the Joe DiMaggio-led Yankees. Oh, and the Red Sox leadoff hitter was Joe's brother, Dom. Fun!
A one-game playoff took place in Yankee Stadium on October 2. The Yankees got a run in the first when Phil Rizzuto hit a leadoff triple and then came home on a Tommy Henrich grounder. No one scored again for a while, as Red Sox pitcher Ellis Kinder and Yankees starter Vic Raschi dealt.
It was 1-0 Yankees going to the bottom of the eighth. Henrich hit a leadoff homer and, after a rally, Jerry Coleman plated three more on a bases-loaded double. It was 5-0 going to the top of the ninth, but the Red Sox made it interesting. After a Williams walk and Vern Stephens single, Bobby Doerr tripled home both. He then scored on a Billy Goodman single, making it 5-3 with the tying run coming to the plate. Raschi managed to close things down, however, in a funny reminder how much different the game was back then Can you imagine a starter being allowed to finish a game after giving up three runs in the ninth and facing the tying run nowadays?
1978 - Yankees 5, Red Sox 4
Both teams navigated the regular season with 99 wins. Pretty rough to win 99 games and maybe not make the playoffs, no? The Red Sox hosted this one in Fenway and jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second with a Carl Yastrzemski homer. They had a 2-0 lead heading to the seventh inning and then it happened. For those of us who remember the pre-2004 Red Sox lore, this was a big one. Bucky (freaking) Dent.
That's a three-run shot to give the Yankees the lead. They'd add another run that inning and then a fifth run in the eighth on a Reggie Jackson solo shot. The Red Sox would rally for two in the bottom half, but that only made it 5-4. The Yankees prevailed.
2003 - Yankees 6, Red Sox 5 (11 innings)
Thanks to the wild card, we finally got to see these two storied franchises facing off in the ALCS. The Red Sox had won 95 regular-season games compared to 101 from the Yankees. The series was tied at 1-1, 2-2 and now 3-3. A two-run shot from Trot Nixon off Roger Clemens and then a run-scoring throwing error from Yankees third baseman Enrique Wilson made it 3-0 Red Sox in the second inning. A Kevin Millar shot made it 4-0 for the Sox in the fourth. The Yankees would get two solo homers from Jason Giambi in the next few innings before a David Ortiz homer made it 5-2 Red Sox heading to the bottom of the eighth.
And then, Hall of Fame Red Sox starter Pedro Martinez was left in too long by manager Grady Little. Pedro got one out, but then it went:
- Derek Jeter double
- Bernie Williams single
- Hideki Matsui double
- Jorge Posada double
Finally, Pedro was pulled, but the damage was done. It was tied, 5-5.
This one went to 11. And then Aaron Boone happened.
2004 - Red Sox 10, Yankees 3
I mentioned Little above for a reason. Leaving Pedro in was the most likely impetus for the Red Sox to replace him with Terry Francona as manager. And this time around it just felt different.
The Yankees again won 101 games. This time around, the Red Sox won 98. The Yankees jumped out to a three games to none lead in this series, highlighted to a 19-8 bloodbath in Game 3. Game 4 gave us the Dave Roberts steal and Big Papi walk-off. It was 12 innings. Game 5 was 14 innings before a Big Papi walk-off single. Game 6 was the bloody sock game.
And this time around, the Red Sox didn't mess around. A two-run David Ortiz homer started things off in the first and then Johnny Damon hit a grand slam in the second.
The Red Sox would end up winning 10-3. The only drama was mild. In the seventh, Francona went to Pedro and the Yankees crowd started chanting "who's your daddy?" (remember, Pedro had previously said the Yankees were his "daddy," so it became a thing) and he allowed two runs. That only made it 8-3, however, and he struck out John Olerud before getting a harmless Miguel Cairo flyout to end the inning.
Finally, almost mercifully, the Red Sox won a do-or-die game against the Yankees. It wouldn't be the last time.
2021 - Red Sox 6, Yankees 2
The Red Sox pounced on Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, sending him to the showers before he could record an out in the third inning. Overall, Boston touched Cole for three runs on four hits and a pair of walks. The Red Sox didn't relent against the Yankees bullpen, either. Boston's lineup plated a run against Luis Severino and later added two more against Jonathan Loáisiga, one of New York's most reliable arms during the regular season.
Nathan Eovaldi started the game for the Red Sox and put his best cleat forward. He limited the Yankees to one run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings. Boston's bullpen, at times leaky during the regular season, did its job. Four relievers combined to hold the Yankees to a run on two hits and no walks over the ensuing 3 2/3 innings.