BOSTON -- Gary Sanchez's first home run of the night helped knock David Price out of the game. His second? It may have knocked over the center-field scoreboard had it been a few feet to the right.Sanchez's 479-foot blast lengthened the Yankees' lead to five runs in the seventh inning,
BOSTON -- Gary Sanchez's first home run of the night helped knock David Price out of the game. His second? It may have knocked over the center-field scoreboard had it been a few feet to the right.
Sanchez's 479-foot blast lengthened the Yankees' lead to five runs in the seventh inning, giving the bullpen some breathing room as New York evened the best-of-five American League Division Series with a 6-2 win over Boston at Fenway Park.
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In the second inning, Sanchez took Price deep into the Green Monster seats, the second home run the Red Sox left-hander allowed in the Yankees' first five at-bats of the night.
Sanchez joined Hall of Famer Yogi Berra as the only Yankees catchers to hit two home runs in a postseason game, becoming only the 10th catcher in Major League history to accomplish the feat.
"It's an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as him, a legend of baseball," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "It's an honor to me."
Sanchez's majestic blast in the seventh left the bat at 114.8 mph, while the projected 479 feet made it the second-longest homer in the postseason since Statcast™ began in 2015, trailing only Willson Contreras' 491-foot shot for the Cubs in last year's National League Championship Series.
Sanchez held his bat in the air as he admired his long home run, then let it go in mic-drop fashion before rounding the bases.
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Aaron Judge's first-inning home run went a mere 445 feet with an exit velocity of 113.3 mph. Sanchez's homer was the fourth-hardest-hit postseason home run during the Statcast™ era; Judge's first-inning home run in Wednesday's AL Wild Card Game ranks second on that list, trailing only Giancarlo Stanton's 117.4-mph moonshot from the eighth inning of that same game.
"Everybody knows that Judge has way more power than me," said Sanchez, who now has five home runs in 16 career postseason games. "I don't have to tell that to anybody. But a homer is a homer. If we have the opportunity to score runs like that, even if it's 300 feet, I'll take it."
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Sanchez -- who struggled all season, hitting .186 with a .697 OPS -- was 0-for-6 in his first two postseason games, though Price proved to be the perfect tonic for his woes. Entering the game, Sanchez was 6-for-13 (.462) with five home runs against the left-hander.
"I always stayed positive throughout the whole season," Sanchez said. "I know it was a rough season for me; it was a tough one. But you know that's the regular season, and that's done. We're done with that. Now we're playing the really exciting baseball. To have an opportunity now to keep on playing and produce at this time, it's actually more important."
Sanchez discussed that very topic with Dellin Betances during their ride to Fenway Park on Saturday afternoon, confident that Game 2 would present him with an opportunity to break out. Manager Aaron Boone must have been thinking the same, elevating Sanchez from the No. 8 spot in the lineup to the No. 5 hole.
"He pretty much said, 'I hope they're hitting me third, because it's going to be a good day for me,'" Betances said. "He wasn't hitting third, but he's had a lot of success against Price. His confidence showed today.
"The moments here will make everybody forget about the regular season. If you make an impact here, everything erases and that's what he did tonight."
Sanchez and Red Sox reliever Ryan Brasier exchanged a few words and looks during their fifth-inning matchup, as the pitcher didn't like the time Sanchez was taking between pitches. Brasier shouted at Sanchez to get back into the batter's box, prompting Sanchez to glare back at the mound.
"I called timeout a couple times, maybe three times and the reason why was because my hands were a little numb from a foul ball," Sanchez told ESPN. "I saw he mentioned something to get back in the box, but you know things like that will happen in a game so no big deal."
"He stepped out three pitches in a row after an 0-2 count," said Brasier, who went on to strike him out. "I felt like it was time to throw the pitch. He just kept stepping out. I was ready to go. That's all it was."
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As pleased as Boone was with Sanchez's home runs, he seemed more interested in pointing out the much-maligned catcher's solid play behind the plate through the first three games of the postseason.
"Almost more importantly, he's caught really well," Boone said. "I think he's been really good back there from the receiving, blocking, game-planning, all those kinds of things. And then tonight just a monster night; you know he's capable of that. We all know he's capable of that. That's kind of what we've been waiting for to some degree where he can take over a game on offense."
Sanchez cited his hard work on both sides of the game, praising Boone and his staff for showing the confidence to stick with him in the biggest games of the season.
"The good news is that right now I'm doing it on both sides of the plate," Sanchez said. "I want that consistency to keep on going."
Mark Feinsand is an executive reporter for MLB.com.