Mookie Betts helped the Boston Red Sox clinch their third straight American League East title by collecting four hits, including a towering three-run homer off Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the eighth inning in an 11-6 victory over the New York Yankees Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
Betts tied a season high with five RBIs to help the Red Sox (104-49) win their 10th division crown and clinch for the second time in three years in New York, but per Elias Sports Bureau it marks the first time the Red Sox ever clinched a division by beating the Yankees.
Two years ago, the Red Sox won the division title despite Joe Kelly allowing a game-ending grand slam to Mark Teixeira because Toronto lost to Baltimore. This time, the Red Sox achieved it without any outside help, taking over first place for good on July 2.
After Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a game-tying homer off Chad Green (8-3) to start the seventh, Xander Bogaerts lifted a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to put the Red Sox ahead. Bogaerts’ fly ball also scored another run when center fielder Aaron Hicks committed a throwing error on the throw to third.
Betts padded the lead an inning later with a drive into the left-field seats on a 1-1 slider by Aroldis Chapman. It was his third homer against the Yankees this year and gave him 15 RBIs in the season series.
The Yankees held a 6-4 lead after Giancarlo Stanton hit a grand slam into the right-field seats with two outs in the fourth off Heath Hembree.
New York (93-59) saw its lead in the wild-card race over Oakland reduced to 1 1/2 games.
Before allowing the Yankees to take a lead, the Red Sox built a 3-0 lead thanks to Betts. Boston’s designated hitter opened the game with a double off Masahiro Tanaka, scored on J.D. Martinez’s RBI single and produced a two-run single in the third.
New York’s Luke Voit followed a walk to Gary Sanchez and homered in the second to make it a one-run game. Voit became the 12th Yankee to reach double digits in homers, setting a major record, and his latest long ball broke New York’s single-season mark for homers of 245, previously set in 2012.
Brock Holt homered in the third to give the Red Sox a 4-2 lead.
Neither starter made it past the fifth in a laborious game.
Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez allowed five runs on four hits in 3 2/3 innings. He issued a career-high seven walks and was lifted right before Stanton’s grand slam.
Four relievers followed Rodriguez and Steven Wright (3-1) pitched three scoreless innings for the win. Craig Kimbrel secured the title by striking out Stanton.
Tanaka allowed five runs on eight hits in four-plus innings. He was pulled after allowing hits to Betts and Benintendi to open the fifth.