Brock Holt put the finishing touch on Boston’s blowout by etching his name in the record book.
The part-time utilityman became the first player to hit for the cycle in a post-season game and the Red Sox routed the New York Yankees 16-1 on Monday night to grab a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five AL Division Series.
“This one I’ll remember for a long time,” said Holt, unaware of his achievement until told by a television reporter right after the final out. “Obviously, you don’t go into the game expecting to make history or anything like that, let alone score 16 runs.”
It’s 16-1. Unless the Yankees do something in the ninth inning, this is going to be the worst loss in franchise’s postseason history. The Yankees have been in the playoffs 54 seasons.
Andrew Benintendi lined a three-run double and Holt tripled home two more in a seven-run fourth inning that quickly turned the latest playoff matchup between these longtime rivals into a laugher. Handed a big early lead, Nathan Eovaldi shut down his former team during New York’s most lopsided defeat in 396 post-season games.
Severino stung by Sox
“An embarrassing day,” shortstop Didi Gregorius said.
Game 4 is Tuesday night in the Bronx, where the 108-win Red Sox can put away the wild-card Yankees for good and advance to the AL Championship Series against Houston. Rick Porcello is scheduled to pitch against New York lefty CC Sabathia.
Boston battered an ineffective Luis Severino and silenced a charged-up Yankee Stadium crowd that emptied out fast on a night when Red Sox rookie manager Alex Cora made all the right moves.
By the ninth, backup catcher Austin Romine was on the mound for New York — he gave up a two-run homer to Holt that completed his cycle.
“You get a little antsy when a position player’s on the mound,” Holt said. “I was trying to hit a home run. That was probably the first time I’ve ever done that.”
Boosted by noisy fans in their homer-friendly ballpark, the Yankees entered 7-0 at home the past two postseasons — against out-of-division opponents. But the Red Sox, frequent visitors who clinched the AL East crown at Yankee Stadium just 2 1/2 weeks ago, were hardly intimidated.
“I think from pitch 1, we let them know that we were here,” Cora said.
Holt, making his first playoff start this year, opened the fourth with a single off Severino and capped the 26-minute outburst with a triple to right field. Holt also doubled home a run in the eighth and finished with five RBIs.
“He’s been swinging the bat well for a while now,” Cora said. “We felt the matchup was good for him.”
Every starter had at least one hit for the Red Sox, who piled up 18. They only time they scored more runs in the post-season was a 23-7 win over Cleveland in 1999.
Eovaldi exacts revenge
Eovaldi pitched for the Yankees from 2015-16 before injuring his elbow, which required a second Tommy John surgery. Boston acquired him from Tampa Bay in July and the hard-throwing righty compiled a 1.93 ERA in four starts against New York this season — three with the Red Sox.
Bumped up a day in front of Porcello, he delivered a gem in his first post-season appearance. Eovaldi allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, throwing 72 of 97 pitches for strikes.
“It was outstanding,” Cora said. “Efficient, great stuff from the get-go, using the fastball in different spots and mixing up breaking balls and his splitter. He’s been great against them the whole season, and that was good to see.”
Going with Eovaldi was only one of several choices that paid off for Cora.
Looking to play left-handed hitters against Severino, the first-year skipper inserted Holt at second base and Rafael Devers at third. Christian Vazquez started at catcher over Sandy Leon.
Devers singled twice, stole a base, scored two runs and knocked in another. Vazquez’s infield single off Severino’s glove drove in the first run.
Benintendi, already a Yankees nemesis, was on base four times and scored twice. Mookie Betts also scored two runs and drove in two.
TBS reported Severino began warming up only 10 minutes before the game, and he certainly looked out of sorts from the start in misty weather. He left with the bases loaded and nobody out in the fourth and was charged with six runs and seven hits.
“He got his normal pitches routine,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It wasn’t an issue.”