BOSTON – The Red Sox bullpen lived on the wild side, but in the end they protected the lead as the Sox beat the Yankees 5-4 in Game 1 of the ALDS at Fenway Park Friday night.
The Red Sox played from ahead all night, thanks to a J.D. Martinez three-run home run in the first inning. Boston added two more runs in the third, chasing Yankees starter J.A. Happ from the game.
Chris Sale went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He struck out eight and threw 93 pitches.
It was the longest playoff outing by a Red Sox starting pitcher since John Lackey in Game 6 of the World Series in 2013.
Sale was strong for 5 innings, but tired in the sixth and left two runners on base.
Then the adventure began.
Ryan Brasier struggled, letting both inherited runners score and allowing two additional runners to reach base. Brandon Workman walked a man to load the bases, but struck out Gleyber Torres on a 3-2 breaking ball out of the zone to escape the inning.
Workman gave up two singles to lead off the seventh. Matt Barnes came on and allowed one of the inherited runners to score, but avoided any more damage despite loading the bases at one point in the frame.
In an aggressive move, Alex Cora went to Game 3 starter Rick Porcello to pitch the eighth inning. The sinkerballer retired the first two men he faced before giving up an infield single to Gleyber Torres. Craig Kimbrel entered the game and induced an Andrew McCutchen fly out to end the inning.
There was more trouble on the way in the ninth. Aaron Judge homered into the Red Sox bullpen to cut the lead to one.
But Kimbrel bounced back, striking out Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, and Luke Voit to close the game out.
Game 2 is Saturday night. The Red Sox will send David Price to the mound as the lefty looks for his first postseason win as a starter. The Yankees will counter with Masahiro Tanaka.