The Associated PressBOSTON (AP) — Chris Sale left the mound to a standing ovation and then waited along with anxious Red Sox fans while the Boston bullpen frittered away most of a five-run lead.
Bases loaded in the sixth inning. Two runs.
Bases loaded, nobody out in the seventh. The Yankees scored another.
A leadoff home run by Aaron Judge in the ninth made it a one-run game.
It was only after Craig Kimbrel struck out the last three New York batters that Sale could savor the first postseason win of his career, a 5-4 victory over Boston’s longtime rivals Friday night in Game 1 of the AL Division Series.
“There’s no holding back now. It’s everything on the table, everything you’ve got,” Sale said after striking out eight and taking a four-hit shutout into the sixth. “I threw every pitch tonight like he was going to take the ball out of my hand after. You have to go up there and do what you have to do to get a win.”
Game 2 in the best-of-five series is Saturday night, with Boston starting another pitcher trying to overcome a history of postseason struggles: left-hander David Price is 0-8 as a starter in the playoffs. He’ll face Yankees righty Masahiro Tanaka.
“It’s a five-game series, and getting them to use the bullpen is a good thing,” Judge said. “We were able to scratch a couple of runs off them. We’ve got to build off that coming into tomorrow.”
In the first playoff matchup between the teams since 2004, J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer off J.A. Happ in the first. The 108-win Red Sox made it 5-0 in the third and then white-knuckled it as New York slowly chipped away after Sale left with two on and one out in the sixth.
HRs push Houston past Cleveland
HOUSTON (AP) — George Springer and the Houston Astros picked up where they left off last postseason, hitting four homers to top the Cleveland Indians 7-2 in Game 1 of their series.