BOSTON -- The Yankees' predisposition for awe-inspiring power invited suggestions that this club would mash alongside the best ever. They have lived up to that potential, but more recently their energy has been focused upon securing home-field advantage for the American League Wild Card Game, an objective that they achieved on enemy turf on Friday evening.
Gary Sanchez, Aaron Hicks, Luke Voit and Aaron Judge homered, leading the Yankees to an 11-6 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park that ensured the AL Wild Card Game against the A's will be played at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. The four homers gave the Yankees 264 for the season, equaling the all-time mark set by the 1997 Mariners.
"That's huge, getting home-field advantage," Judge said. "You guys saw what happened in the playoffs last year. The fans, there's nothing like it. They've got some kind of magic, man, coming to the jungle. It's a crazy atmosphere. It's what you play for."
• FAQs about A's-Yankees AL Wild Card Game
With the venue now secured, manager Aaron Boone said that the final two games of the regular season would be used to rest regulars, dole out at-bats and innings to players who need them, and hammer out the pitching plan for the Wild Card Game. J.A. Happ made his case to start that contest, tossing another solid effort.
The left-hander blanked the Red Sox over the first five innings before serving up a Steve Pearce grand slam in the sixth, finishing his night with four hits allowed, seven strikeouts and two walks. He would be available to face the Athletics on regular rest and said that he would prepare as though he is getting that assignment.
"I'd love to get the nod, I can say that, but I think we're going to feel good with whoever is out there," Happ said. "We'll see how it plays out."
Boone has indicated that Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka are still under consideration to start the Wild Card Game, though Severino is listed as the probable starter for Sunday, likely taking him out of the running. Boone said that the Yanks' power will make them a formidable opponent for Oakland to handle.
"In a lot of ways, we're built for our ballpark," Boone said. "Our power plays for a lot of our guys, especially our right-handed hitters. They use that right field to their advantage. I think it's played out that we've been a very good team at home. I love the fact that our fans will get to be making the right kind of noise for us."
Red Sox starter Christopher Johnson allowed three runs in three innings, including Sanchez's 18th homer leading off the third. New York pounded William Cuevas for six runs in one-third of an inning, with Gleyber Torres' two-run double preceding a three-run homer from Hicks, his 27th.
"This team comes in day in, day out, ready to play games," Hicks said. "Obviously, we're hitting home runs. It feels awesome."
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Voit cracked his 13th homer in the seventh off Thomas Pomeranz, and Judge equaled the '97 Mariners' record in the eighth as he connected for his first homer since returning from the disabled list, a solo shot to straightaway center off Bobby Poyner. Judge's 27th homer was his first since July 21.
"The power and stuff like that will come once the wrist keeps getting stronger," Judge said. "I've just been worried about having quality at-bats. If I swing at the right pitches, usually I'll hit a couple out."
Miguel Andujar's double in the fourth inning was his 44th of the season, tying Joe DiMaggio's 1936 tally for the most by a Yankees rookie. Andujar's 73 extra-base hits are the third most by a Yankees rookie, behind DiMaggio's 88 in '36 and Judge's 79 last year.
HE SAID IT
"He's a warrior. He competes. You can see it in his eyes from the minute he walks out on that mound. Any start, he wants to throw the first pitch and the last pitch of that game. That's the type of guy he is. He's got a lot of fire, and that's who I want on the mound. It's fun to play behind a guy like that." -- Judge, on Happ
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Red Sox challenged a call in the top of the fourth, checking to see if Sanchez touched home plate on Torres' two-run double. The drive struck the Green Monster and ricocheted to center fielder Mookie Betts, who tossed to the infield. Xander Bogaerts' relay throw arrived behind Sanchez, who scored standing up while planting his right foot on the plate. After a review, the call stood, giving New York a 4-0 lead.