BOSTON: Manager Aaron Boone #17 takes out Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees against the Boston Red Sox during the third inning of the American League Wild Card game at Fenway Park on Tuesday in Boston, Massachusetts. – AFP

BOSTON: Xander Bogaerts smashed a two-run homer as the Boston Red Sox dumped the New York Yankees out of the postseason with a 6-2 victory in their American League wild card clash at Fenway Park on Tuesday. Bogaerts’ blast and a Kyle Schwarber homer helped knock Yankees ace Gerrit Cole out of the game after only 50 pitches as the Red Sox advanced to a divisional series against the top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays.

It was a miserable outing for Cole, who joined the Bronx Bombers in 2019 on a whopping $324 million deal — the richest contract for a pitcher in MLB history. Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi meanwhile struck out eight over 5.1 innings before Ryan Brasier, Tanner Houck and Hansel Robles combined for three scoreless innings to smother the Yankees bats. Boston attacked Cole early on, with shortstop Bogaerts clubbing a 427-foot homer to center field to put the Red Sox 2-0 up. The Sox extended their lead in the bottom of the third when Schwarber smoked a 435ft monster to right field to make it 3-0.

That was followed by a single from Enrique Hernandez and another walk from Rafael Devers, enough to prompt Yankees manager Aaron Boone to make a pitching change, yanking Cole for Clay Holmes. New York stopped the bleeding momentarily, and when Anthony Rizzo blasted a 408-foot breaking ball to right-field in the top of the sixth inning, the Yankees were finally in business. Aaron Judge then singled to build pressure for New York, and Red Sox skipper Alex Cora responded by abruptly yanking Eovaldi for Brasier. But just as it looked as if momentum might have swung back to New York, the Yankees let the Red Sox off the hook.

Giancarlo Stanton’s sharp line drive sent Judge hurtling around the bases from first, but a superb relay throw from Hernandez to Bogaerts to catcher Kevin Plawecki saw the New York slugger out at home plate. Stanton swore in frustration and in the bottom of the inning the Red Sox restored their three-run lead when Alex Verdugo’s double into right field sent Bogaerts scurrying home for 4-1.

Verdugo then struck again in the bottom of the seventh, singling to score Schwarber and Hernandez. Stanton homered at the top of the ninth to give the Yankees hope but Red Sox closer Garrett Whitlock shut it down and mopped up Joey Gallo and Gleyber Torres to wrap up the win. – AFP