The Red Sox swept the Yankees following Brett Gardner’s comments
The Boston Red Sox entered the three-game series in the Bronx having won only one game at Yankee Stadium over the last two seasons. This ballpark had become a house of horrors but this weekend proved that the tides of the rivalry have shifted back in Boston’s favor. In the first meeting of the season with their greatest nemesis, the Red Sox won all three games to complete their first sweep in Yankee Stadium in a decade.
A battle between these fierce division rivals doesn’t need more hype to generate excitement but the Yankees provided some bulletin board material that gave the Red Sox with some additional motivation. Brett Gardner took a shot at manager Alex Cora, who returned to the Red Sox after serving a one-year suspension for his role in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.
“Having him in the dugout obviously makes me want to beat them,” Gardner said, per ESPN. “We don’t like those guys; they don’t like us. It will be interesting for them to come to town.”
It’s clear that Yankees players are still sore about losing to the Astros in the 2017 postseason during the peak of their trashcan-banging antics. That has nothing to do with the Red Sox though and Cora already served his punishment for his crimes, which turned out to be less involved than he was initially accused of.
Gardner still couldn’t resist running his mouth. The veteran outfielder would later backtrack his comments by claiming he was “half-joking” but his words had already caught the attention of those in the Red Sox clubhouse.
Xander Bogaerts told SportsCenter’s Steve Levy after completing the sweep on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball that Gardner’s trash talking gave his club a little extra incentive to send a message to the Yankees.
“Obviously, Gardner said a couple of words before the series started. It kind of got us fueled up a little more,” said Bogaerts.
Bogaerts was 5-for-12 with a double, a walk and three RBI in the three-game series. His base hit into the gap in left-center field drove in a pair of runs in the 10th inning to clinch the sweep.
These clutch moments have been a common occurrence for the resurgent Red Sox this season while remaining elusive for the sputtering Yankees lineup.
Boston has won four straight games and seven of their last 10. They still trail the Tampa Bay Rays by one game in the AL East but they are tied in the loss column. The Red Sox can narrow the gap to half a game by beating the Miami Marlins on Monday in a rescheduled meeting of a game that was rained out last month. Tampa Bay, along with the rest of the AL East, is idle today.
New York has now lost four straight to drop 6.5 games behind the Rays and six in the loss column behind Tampa Bay and Boston. The Red Sox currently hold the top Wild Card spot while the Yankees are 2.5 games out of the second spot with three teams to climb over.
The race is far from over and there will be plenty of action between these two clubs. The Red Sox have 16 more games remaining against the Yankees with the next clash between the titans scheduled for June 25 – 27 at Fenway Park. Eight of the first 11 games coming out of the All-Star break will be between these two rivals.
The Red Sox received a confidence boost from this series by proving they can win in Yankee Stadium following a couple of tough years in that venue. The sweep puts momentum in their favor and the motivating trash talk helped put them in this position. Gardner poked the bear and the bear bit back.