BOSTON -- At the four-hour-and-39-minute mark of a zany Sunday night/Monday morning comeback, Andrew Benintendi's three-hop single to cap a 5-4 walk-off win in 10 innings was just about the perfect way for the Red Sox to complete a four-game sweep that couldn't help but crush the Yankees.
"I'd take a 19-hopper up the middle for a game-winning hit," said slugger J.D. Martinez. "That's baseball, man."
Pinch-runner Tony Renda, who just minutes earlier came off the bench to make his debut for Boston in his first Major League game since 2016, dove home to end it at 12:49 a.m. ET.
"Pretty surreal," Renda said. "It's unbelievable. I knew where the defense was playing, I had a feeling they weren't standing where Benny hit that ball, and as soon as you hear the crowd just go nuts, it's unbelievable. You just go numb and run as hard as you can. Jackie [Bradley Jr.] was telling me, 'Down, down, down' and that's that. It's unbelievable."
As you can guess, the Red Sox didn't seem tired.
Not after a game in which they rallied from 4-1 down with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against Yankees closer Albertin Chapman to tie it.
Not after a dagger of a sweep that put them 45 games above .500 (79-34) and 9 1/2 games up in the American League East against their rivals, whom they won't see again until Sept. 18 in New York.
"They play the game the right way, they play until the end. That was fun to watch," said manager Alex Cora. "We always come to a series and the goal is to win it, and we swept them. Now, it's great, that clubhouse is pretty loud right now, but like I've been saying all along, tomorrow is an off-day and then we've got Toronto. We've got to turn the page and be ready for that team and the same goal -- go win the series."
According to Statcast™, Benintendi had a hit probability of just 13 percent on his 93.5-mph hopper against Jonathan Holder, who had a tough weekend in Boston.
"He started me off with two fastballs," said Benintendi. "The third one was in for a strike. The last one was a changeup up and away, and I got on top of it and just kind of rolled it over. And of all the hits up the middle that were taken away by the shift, that one finds a way to get through, and thank God it did."
The Yankees had a three-run lead and looked primed to salvage the finale of the four-game series until Chapman struggled mightily in the ninth. The lefty walked the bases loaded, then had to face the dangerous Martinez, who hammered a two-run single to center to make it a one-run game.
"Chapman's a guy who can throw four balls to the backstop, then dot four balls right on the corner. He's one of those guys," said Martinez, who has an MLB-leading 93 RBIs. "Yeah, once the bases got loaded, once he started with the walks, then you're like, 'There's a chance here.'"
It was a cashed-in chance that couldn't have happened without some help from the Yankees.
After the big hit by Martinez, Xander Bogaerts hit a grounder down the line at third, and Miguel Andujar could have ended the game with a good throw to first. Instead he bounced it, and first baseman Greg Bird couldn't hang on to it. Bradley came roaring around from second to tie it.
"It's a tough way, obviously, to end a tough weekend, but we can't let this define what's been a great season for us," said Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
Left-hander David Price turned in a solid performance for Boston, and reversed his recent trend of rough outings against the Yankees. He walked off the mound in the top of the seventh with two on and nobody out to a loud ovation from the Fenway faithful.
"It was big," said Price. "You know I think I've given up at least three runs against those guys in the first inning every time this year. And to make pitches and get out of that first inning, that was big."
As soon as Price left, things went awry against reliever Richard Hembree, who has been the go-to guy for the Red Sox this season with inherited runners.
The Yankees had No. 9 hitter Shane Robinson up, and even though Robinson tried to make an out three times by attempting a sacrifice bunt, Hembree still couldn't get him out. Instead he issued a seven-pitch walk that proved to be predictably damaging. Aaron Hicks then smacked a grounder to short that looked like it might have been a double-play ball, but Bogaerts booted it for an error, and two runs scored to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
In July, Hembree inherited 12 runners over 11 appearances and stranded all of them. This was the first time since April 28 he allowed an inherited runner to score.
In six-plus innings, Price gave up four hits and two runs while walking three and striking out five.
"This team doesn't quit," Price said. "This lineup doesn't quit. They continue to have good at-bats throughout the night. That was a very good one."
Masahiro Tanaka matched zeros with Price for the first four innings. Mookie Betts broke the deadlock in the bottom of the fifth by hammering a solo shot over the Green Monster and onto Lansdowne Street.
According to Statcast™, Betts' 26th homer of the season had an exit velocity of 106.2 mph with a projected distance of 437 feet.
For a while it seemed as though Betts' long ball would be enough. But there were plenty of twists and turns left and right until the sweet end on Benintendi's soft and well-placed contact.
"Everybody knew how big this series was," Benintendi said. "We came in and did what we wanted to do. Kind of stole this one. Every win counts the same, but now again we have to reshift our focus toward Toronto."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Leon the rally starter: Though catcher Sandy Leon is mainly known for his defense, he came up with a couple of big at-bats in this one, starting the tying rally in the ninth and the winning one in the 10th. After Chapman struck out Brock Holt for the first out of the ninth, Leon took a 101-mph fastball for the first strike, then let four straight pitches go by for a walk. In the 10th, with two outs and nobody on, he flared a 64.2-mph bloop into short left for a two-out single against Holder. That brought the dangerous Betts to the plate and, after a wild pitch moved Leon to second, Boone intentionally walked Betts to set up Benintendi's game-winner.
"We put together a lot of at-bats, good ones, from the seventh inning on, against their bullpen," said Cora.
The last time the Red Sox had a bigger lead in the division than the one they currently have was when Cora was playing for the team instead of managing it. In July 2007, Boston had a lead of 11 1/2 games at one point.
HE SAID IT
"I feel like it's the same story every night. We're a team that doesn't give up, and we find a way to stress out those relievers and really put a lot of pressure on them and lock it in. I think that's why this team is really good. We just don't give away any at-bats, it feels like." -- Martinez
The Red Sox will spend Monday's off-day in Toronto before opening a three-game series against the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. Lefty Thomas Pomeranz, who is still trying to establish some kind of groove to cement his spot in the rotation, will get the start. Last time out was a small step forward for Pomeranz, as he held the Phillies to four hits and two runs over five innings in a 3-1 loss. In four career starts at Rogers Centre, Pomeranz is 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA. The Blue Jays counter with righty Marcus Stroman (4-8, 5.63 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET.