MLB

Giancarlo Stanton’s late-inning grand slam lifts Yankees past Red Sox; rivals now tied for top wild card spot

The Yankees‘ trailed for most of Saturday’s key contest against the rival Red Sox at Fenway Park, but a clutch Giancarlo Stanton grand slam in the eighth inning flipped the script and lifted New York to a 5-3 critical win (box score). 

Here’s Stanton’s massive blast that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 Yankees lead: 

Stanton turned around that first-pitch fastball from Darwinzon Hernandez and sent it off the bat at 114.1 mph. It wound up traveling 452 feet. One of the biggest stretch-drive home runs of the season merits another look, this time with lens trained on the hitter: 

Just prior to Stanton’s mighty swing, the Yankees had a 31.8 percent chance of wining this game. After the ball cleared the Green Monster, they had a 90.5 percent chance of winning. It’s the first Yankees grand slam at Fenway Park since Nick Swisher hit one in April 2012. It’s the first go-head grand slam hit by a Yankee at Fenway in the eighth inning or later since Johnny Blanchard’s in 1961. Joe DiMaggio in 1948 is the only other Yankee to pull off that particular feat. 

Stanton, who also drive in four runs for the Yankees in their 8-3 win over Boston on Friday, is now batting .275/.358/.514 on the year with 33 home runs in 132 games. 

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The Yankees’ win on Saturday means that they’re now tied with the Red Sox for the top wild card spot in the AL. The occupier of that top spot will host the AL Wild Card Game, and the winner of that game will advance to the ALDS to face, very likely, the Rays. The Yankees and Red Sox are at the moment both 2 1/2 games clear of the Mariners and Blue Jays for playoff position. 

In this one, the Red Sox were unable to take advantage of a strong start from Nick Pivetta, who allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings while striking out seven and walking none. Boston made things interesting in the ninth, as Bobby Dalbec homered off inconsistent Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman to make it 5-3. Then Chapman hit Kevin Plawecki with a misplaced fastball to bring the potential tying run to the plate. Chapman, however, bounced back to strike out José Iglesias and end it with an Enrique Hernández 5-3 ground-out. 

Also encouraging from the New York standpoint is that right-hander Luis Severino, in just his second appearance since completing an almost two-year recovery from Tommy John surgery, twirled two scoreless high-leverage innings in relief. 

According to the SportsLine Projection System, the Yankees and Red Sox entering this game had, respectively, a 56.0 percent chance and a 99.3 percent chance of making the postseason. Those odds have tilted significantly in the Yankees’ favor with Saturday’s comeback win, but both figures remain at the expense of the Blue Jays and Mariners, who right now are shut out of of the AL playoff picture. 

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The Yankees will go for the sweep against the Red Sox on Sunday evening, as Jordan Montgomery opposes Eduardo Rodriguez.


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