|The Red Sox swept the Yankees in their final showdown of the season|
The red-hot Red Sox kept rolling over the weekend by sweeping a three game set from the Yankees at Fenway Park.
The series opener was the closest and thus the most exciting. Boston jumped out to an early four-run lead, only to watch the Yankees battle back and tie the score. Jarrod Saltalamacchia became the hero when he smashed a grand slam that propelled Boston to an 8-4 victory.
The middle game was billed as a pitching duel between southpaws Jon Lester and CC Sabathia, and while Sabathia turned in another stinker, Lester was masterful. Lester's been lights-out over the past month and was exceptional once again on Saturday afternoon, delivering eight innings of one-run ball and allowing just five baserunners. Sabathia was not up to snuff and Boston prevailed 5-1.
After honoring Mariano Rivera before Sunday's game, the Red Sox routed the Yankees in their final regular season meeting of the year The Sox shelled Ivan Nova and co. for nine runs. That was more than enough for Clay Buchholz, who surrendered a lone run (unearned) in six innings of work.
Though the games didn't mean much for Boston--who now lead the AL East by 9.5 games--they could cripple New York's postseason hopes. The Yankees came into the series with a 23 percent chance of winning the wild card, but left town with their odds down to 6.5 percent. They trail Tampa and Texas by three games for the second wild card spot with 12 remaining, which means they're still alive, but only barely.
The Red Sox magic number to clinch the AL East is down to four, so they should wrap up the division title sometime this week. They finished the year 13-6 against their archrivals.