BOSTON -- The Red Sox are a dangerous team at home -- one that seems to have little to no interest in playing the American League Wild Card Game on the road on Oct. 5.
Fenway Park has become an increasingly big factor for manager Alex Cora’s squad, which once again banged the ball over and off walls en route to a 6-3 victory over the Mets in the first of a two-game series on Tuesday night in Boston’s Back Bay.
“We love it here,” said Cora. “We know offensively it’s a different ballgame here. We’ve still got four more games [at home] against two good teams and need to keep it going. Today was a great atmosphere out there. It was a fun atmosphere, so come back tomorrow and be ready to play.”
It was a good start to the second-to-last week of the regular season for the Sox, who ran their winning streak to six games and held serve on a night their top two competitors (the Blue Jays and Yankees) in the Wild Card standings also won.
With 10 games left in their season, the Red Sox (87-65) are in possession of the top Wild Card spot by 1 1/2 games over the Blue Jays and two over the Yankees.
After starting the season 10-11 at Fenway, the Sox are 38-18 in their last 56 home games.
This includes winning the first four games of this final homestand while wearing yellow City Connect uniforms the Sox hadn’t worn since Patriots’ Day weekend in April.
As superstitious as baseball teams are, you can be sure the Red Sox won’t be wearing their home whites again until they lose.
“Hey, we’re on a good run,” said shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “As of now, I don’t anticipate us changing them for tomorrow. If we win tomorrow, hopefully we see it the next day also. I know it’s not white and red. I know we’re not the Yellow Sox also, but we need wins right now. So if it’s yellow, it’s yellow.”
The yellow wasn’t doing the Red Sox any favors early on Tuesday. They trailed, 2-0, in the fourth, but stormed back with their bats and bullpen arms.
The momentum started to change when Kiké Hernández threw a bullet home from center to cut down Pete Alonso, which prevented the Mets from taking a 3-0 lead.
“That throw, that was amazing,” said Cora. “It was a good throw. Right on line. He got to the ball very quick. Basically, he helped [Eduardo Rodriguez] to limit the damage right there.”
Hernández then mashed a game-tying solo shot over the Monster in the fifth against a tough starting pitcher in Marcus Stroman.
Bogaerts, miffed when he hit into a 5-2-3 double play with the bases loaded and nobody out in third, didn’t waste his ensuing opportunities. The star shortstop unloaded for a tiebreaking two-run homer off a light stanchion above the Monster in the fifth. And he came up with the bases loaded again in the sixth and this time ripped a two-run single to increase Boston’s lead to 6-2.
It isn’t just Fenway. Overall, the Red Sox are swinging the bats with authority again, scoring six runs or more in each game during the winning streak.
In their last 21 home games, the Sox have scored 161 runs (7.7 per game) while connecting for 37 homers.
On a night Rodriguez (4 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) struggled with his command, the bullpen came through.
Ryan Brasier got perhaps the two biggest outs of the game in the top of the fifth, when the Mets had runners at second and third and one out and didn’t score. Brasier had just been recalled from Triple-A prior to the game due to rookie stud reliever Garrett Whitlock going on the 10-day injured list.
“We were talking about Whit before the game, how big of a loss that is. But whoever comes up, they’ve got to do the job,” said Cora. “Brasier had a chance to come in. He was amazing and gave us a chance to win.”
And win the Red Sox did -- something they continue to do at Fenway no matter if they are wearing white, red or yellow.