From the 15-run outburst fueled by Steve Pearce's three home runs Thursday night to Sunday's improbable comeback against New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, things couldn't have gone better for the Boston Red Sox in a four-game sweep of their hated rivals at Fenway Park.
It seemed the Yankees would at least salvage one game from their weekend in Boston when they held a 4-1 lead entering the bottom of the ninth with Chapman on the mound. But Boston rallied to tie it -- thanks in part to three Chapman walks and an error by third baseman Miguel Andujar -- then won it 5-4 in the 10th on a walk-off single by Andrew Benintendi.
A look inside Sunday's comeback and the series sweep that gave Boston a 9½-game lead over New York in the AL East:
-- Sunday marked the second career walk-off hit for Benintendi, who also had a walk-off walk against Chapman and the Yankees last season.
-- Chapman's 39 pitches (only 19 strikes) in the ninth were his most in an appearance since 2015.
-- Tony Renda, who was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket this weekend, scored the winning run as a pinch-runner in his Red Sox debut. Renda, who hadn't appeared in a major league game since Oct. 2, 2016 with the Reds, was one of four fringe prospects traded by the Yankees to the Reds in 2015 for Aroldis Chapman. Renda also went to the same high school as Tom Brady (Junipero Serra).
-- The Red Sox are 12-25 (.324) when trailing by three or more runs this season, the most wins and best record of any MLB team.
-- Over the past 10 seasons, the Yankees have lost just twice when leading by three-plus runs entering the ninth inning. Both losses have been to the Red Sox (also Sept. 15, 2016). Over the past 10 years, the Red Sox are 2-53 (.036) against the Yankees in those games. The rest of MLB is a combined 0-430 against the Yankees.
-- According to Elias Sports Bureau research, this is the first time the Red Sox swept a series of at least four games against an opponent that entered the matchup at least 30 games over .500 since July 1939 against the Yankees.
-- Boston's 9½-game lead over New York is the largest division lead in baseball, surpassing Cleveland's nine-game edge over Minnesota in the AL Central.
-- In the divisional era (since 1969), only three teams have failed to finish in first place when leading by 9½ or more games in August or later -- the 1993 Giants, the 1995 Angels and the 2006 Tigers.
-- For the Yankees fans calling out, "What about '78?" through games of Aug. 5 that year, the Red Sox held an 8½-game lead over the fourth-place Yankees in the AL East. The Yankees caught the Red Sox and beat them in a one-game playoff for the division title. So New York will have to top that to win the division this year.
The Red Sox come back to complete a 4-game sweep of the Yankees!— ESPN (@espn) August 6, 2018
Boston is on pace for its most regular season wins in franchise history 🔥 pic.twitter.com/sH7FClkRxD
And on Twitter ...
It seems the Yankees did some premature celebrating:
FINAL: Boston 5, Yankees 4.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 6, 2018
Four on the board. That'll do the trick. pic.twitter.com/dKHr0PrXe1— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 6, 2018
Not surprisingly, the result drew conflicting responses from Pedro Martinez and Stephen A. Smith:
Holder blows it. I'm so surprised. My @Yankees suffer a 4-game SWEEP to the damn @RedSox. What a way to start my week. Damnit! 9 1/2 Games Back now. AL East race is over folks. I said that BEFORE this series. Imagine how I'm feeling right now.— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) August 6, 2018
Q. What's Fenway like during a walk-off to complete a 4-game sweep?— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) August 6, 2018
Here's our @NYDNSports back page for Monday:#Yankees swept by #RedSox as Aroldis Chapman implodes in disastrous ninth inning, and Bombers have some thinking to do (@Ackert_Kristie): https://t.co/AyYQnfsGEU@espn @MLB @BackPageGuyNYDN pic.twitter.com/1k4zKoSccG— Scott Chiusano (@scottchiusano) August 6, 2018