The Associated PressBOSTON (AP) — When Steve Pearce’s third homer of the game clanged off the light tower above the Green Monster, a few fans behind home plate tossed their caps onto the field to celebrate his first career hat trick.
When he came to the plate in the eighth for his final at-bat, he received a standing ovation from the Boston fans eager to see him make more history against the hated Yankees.
“It was a good night. A fun night. A great team win, and something that I’ll never forget,” Pearce said on Thursday night after driving in six runs with three homers to help the Red Sox beat New York 15-7.
“It was exciting, especially when you get home and you see all your teammates there, ready for you,” said Pearce, who walked on five pitches in his final at-bat.
“To be able to celebrate with them, it’s a great feeling.”
In the opener of a four-game series that gave New York the potential to erase most of its division deficit, the Red Sox instead expanded the lead to a season-high 6½ games, taking advantage of manager Aaron Boone’s decision to pull starter CC Sabathia after three innings with a 4-2 lead. Jonathan Holder (1-2) faced seven batters and did not record an out.
“We have to do a better job playing a better brand of baseball especially against a real good opponent,” Boone said.
“When it’s difficult, not everything going our way, we need to be airtight to minimize damage on the other side.”
Mookie Betts had four hits and two walks, reaching safely all six times he came to the plate.
Pearce, J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler and Andrew Benintendi had three hits apiece for Boston, which has won five of its last six games and 20 of its last 25 to match a season-high 42 games above .500.
Pearce hit a solo homer in the third and then added a three-run shot in an eight-run fourth inning that erased the rest of a 4-0 Yankees lead. He also had a two-run homer in the sixth, joining Mo Vaughn and Kevin Millar as the only Red Sox players to have three home runs in a game against the Yankees.
Didi Grigorius homered twice, Aaron Hicks hit one and Giancarlo Stanton got his 25th of the season for the Yankees, who have lost just twice in the past week — playing sloppily both times — but dropped two games in the division.