Local Sports

Brock Holt had one thing in mind: He was swinging for the fences.

 

After all, the game was decided long ago. And everything else went Boston's way all night, so why not this?

 

The part-time utilityman put the finishing touch on a Red Sox blowout, becoming the first player to hit for the cycle in a postseason game as Boston routed the New York Yankees 16-1 on Monday to seize a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five AL Division Series.

 

Andrew Benintendi lined a three-run double and Holt tripled home two more in a seven-run fourth inning that quickly turned the latest playoff matchup between these longtime rivals into a laugher. Handed a big early lead, Nathan Eovaldi shut down his former team during New York's most lopsided defeat in 396 postseason games.

 

Game 4 is Tuesday night in the Bronx, where the 108-win Red Sox can put away the wild-card Yankees for good and advance to the AL Championship Series against Houston. Rick Porcello is scheduled to pitch against New York lefty CC Sabathia.

 

Boston battered an ineffective Luis Severino and silenced a charged-up Yankee Stadium crowd that emptied out fast on a night when Red Sox rookie manager Alex Cora made all the right moves.

By the ninth, backup catcher Austin Romine was on the mound for New York and he gave up a two-run homer to Holt that completed his cycle.

 

Boosted by noisy fans in their homer-friendly ballpark, the Yankees entered 7-0 at home the past two postseasons - against out-of-division opponents. But the Red Sox, frequent visitors who clinched the AL East crown at Yankee Stadium just 2 1/2 weeks ago, were hardly intimidated.

Mookie Betts, in fact, hit a 405-foot flyout to the center-field warning track to begin the game.

 

Making his first playoff start this year, Holt opened the fourth with a single off Severino and capped the 26-minute outburst with a triple to right field. The 2015 All-Star also doubled home a run in the eighth and finished with five RBIs. Holt also hit for the cycle against Atlanta on June 6, 2015.

 

Every starter had at least one hit for the Red Sox, who piled up 18 in all. The only time they scored more runs in the postseason was a 23-7 win over Cleveland in 1999.

 

Eovaldi pitched for the Yankees from 2015-16 before injuring his elbow, which required a second Tommy John surgery. Boston acquired him from Tampa Bay in July and the hard-throwing righty compiled a 1.93 ERA in four starts against New York this season - three with the Red Sox.

 

Bumped up a day in front of Porcello, he delivered a gem in his first postseason appearance. Eovaldi allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, throwing 72 of 97 pitches for strikes.

Going with Eovaldi was one of several choices that paid off for Cora.

 

Looking to play left-handed hitters against Severino, the first-year skipper inserted Holt at second base and Rafael Devers at third. Christian Vazquez started at catcher over Sandy Leon.

 

Devers singled twice, stole a base, scored two runs and knocked in another. Vazquez's infield single off Severino's glove drove in the first run.

 

Benintendi, already a Yankees nemesis, was on base four times and scored twice. Betts also scored two runs and drove in two.

Local Weather