BOSTON -- The way the Red Sox figured it, the best way to warm up Fenway Park on a sub-40-degree Tuesday night was to bash a barrage of hits in their first rivalry matchup against the Yankees this season.Behind a monster performance by Mookie Betts and a strong outing from
BOSTON -- The way the Red Sox figured it, the best way to warm up Fenway Park on a sub-40-degree Tuesday night was to bash a barrage of hits in their first rivalry matchup against the Yankees this season.
Behind a monster performance by Mookie Betts and a strong outing from the mound by ace Chris Sale, the red-hot Sox made it nine wins in a row by thumping the Yankees, 14-1. With the victory, Alex Cora became the fourth manager in the modern era to start his tenure 9-1, joining Mets rookie manager Mickey Callaway, who accomplished the feat roughly 20 minutes earlier with a win over the Marlins.
"Felt good tonight. Helps when they score two touchdowns and kick both [extra points], so that's nice," said Sale.
For the Red Sox, there were many big performances. It started with leadoff man Betts, who went 4-for-4, reached base five times, scored five times and had a grand slam. Betts became the first Red Sox player to have four hits, four runs and four RBIs in a game against the Yankees since the RBI became an official stat in 1920.
"It's definitely super fun being involved in any win," said Betts. "I just do what I can. Sale did a great job keeping them off the board. The rest of the guys as well. Can't ask for an easier win."
That easy win allowed Cora to join not only Callaway, but also former Red Sox manager Joe Morgan (10-0 in 1988) and the Phillies' Pat Moran (9-1 in 1915) as the only skippers to guide their clubs to nine victories in their first 10 games on the bench.
"They're studying the game, and they keep talking the game, which is awesome," said Cora. "But we're not getting caught up in the whole start. It's just a good start, that's it."
It was all Boston, all night. The exclamation point was in the sixth, when the Red Sox scored nine runs on three hits, including the third career slam by Betts and a two-run double to center by J.D. Martinez.
Then there was Sale, who picked up his first win of the season by holding New York to a run and no walks while striking out six over six innings. Two of the K's were against prized new Yankees acquisition Giancarlo Stanton, which got the Fenway fans on their feet.
"There's no letup there," said Sale. "I mean, that's a heck of a lineup. It just seems like one right after the other. You better have your stuff together there in the first inning, because I could see how it could get out of hand quick."
By contrast, Yankees ace Luis Severino labored from the start, allowing a run in the first and three more in the second to pin his team in a 4-0 hole against Sale.
The righty lasted five innings while allowing eight hits and five runs.
"On a night like that, they wanted to keep going, and it's not an easy night to hit," said Cora. "They found a way to grind out at-bats against a great pitcher. His stuff was still there. He was throwing 99 [mph]. He didn't have the slider. He had to go to his changeup, which is different than usual, so we made adjustments and we put good swings on it."
There wasn't much for the Yankees to feel good about in this one until Aaron Judge unloaded for a solo shot deep into the bleachers in center to slim Boston's lead to 5-1. It was a certified rocket by Judge, leaving the bat at 116.3-mph and traveling a projected distance of 444 feet. The exit velocity was the highest against Sale since Statcast™ started in 2015. It was the fifth hardest-hit homer in baseball this season.
"It was a tough game, a tough loss," said Judge. "Nothing was really working for us. We weren't able to string a couple of hits together off Sale tonight, and that's tough. One of the best pitchers in the game, you've got to be able to manufacture some runs and put a couple on the board early. We weren't able to do that tonight, and they were able to do it against Sevy."
After the Judge laser, it was all Boston. Fittingly, it was Betts who started that nine-run rally in the sixth with a one-out double.
Andrew Benintendi (triple, double, two runs, two RBIs) and Hanley Ramirez (three RBIs) also had plenty to say about this one.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hanley breaks bat, fights off heat: Things were going so well for the Red Sox in the second inning that even when Ramirez broke his bat, he got rewarded. The first baseman fought off a 98.9-mph heater from Severino for an RBI single to left that boosted Boston's lead to 4-0.
Sale stifles Stanton, Sanchez: The Yankees had a chance to get right back in the game in the third with two on and one out and Stanton and Gary Sanchez coming up. Sale buckled down and struck out Stanton on high heat. The pitch was measured at 4.52-feet high. That's the highest pitch Stanton has swung at since the beginning of 2016, and the highest pitch Sale has gotten a swing and miss on in his career. Sanchez worked a six-pitch at-bat, but he struck out on a nasty slider.
"We've been talking about this since November. If you're facing us, you have to execute from pitch one, and that's what I wanted and that's why I mentioned it. That's the first thing that came to mind, you know, the plan that I had, he's going to lead off because I saw it first-hand last year [with George Springer]. I know how it works, and he accepted the challenge and he's doing an outstanding job." -- Cora, on the decision to make Betts his leadoff hitter
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The five runs by Betts were the most by a Boston player against the Yankees since at least 1908. It was the first five-run performance by a Red Sox hitter since Jackie Bradley Jr. on Aug. 15, 2015, against the Mariners.
Lefty David Price has come out blazing this season with 14 scoreless innings over his first two starts. He will get his best test yet when he faces the Yankees' loaded lineup on Wednesday in hopes of giving the Red Sox a 10-game winning streak. In his career against the Yankees, Price is 15-11 with a 4.53 ERA. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.