Debut European series ends as Yankees sweep old rival Red Sox

Debut European series ends as Yankees sweep old rival Red Sox

The New York Yankees doubled up in London on Sunday afternoon as they rallied to beat the Boston Red Sox 12-8 and complete a sweep of the first major league series to be played in Europe.

Boston led for most of the afternoon but they fell in the seventh inning as the Yankees punished several errors, scoring nine runs to turn a two-run deficit into an advantage that withstood a late Red Sox rally.

It was not quite a repeat of Saturday’s 30-run offensive marathon between these two teams but the Yankees will not care as they leave town with two victories over their old foes and an increased lead at the top of the American League East.

“The experience was great,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “The guys relished it, I felt they were really excited to get here and they embraced the whole thing.

“It felt big, it felt important, and to get out of here with two wins from some crazy games with a lot of offense, we’re really excited about that.”

Boston, briefly resembling defending World Series champions, stormed into the lead with three home runs in the first inning but it proved a false dawn.

Needing a spark after being kept on the backfoot throughout Saturday’s slugfest, they found it as Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez went back-to-back before Christian Vazquez cleared the fences, powering them into an early 4-0 advantage.

All those runs came off Yankees starter Stephen Tarpley, only recalled from the minor leagues on Tuesday and thrust into a starting role when the Yankees burned through their pitching options on Saturday.

The Yankees hit back with two in the second, but the runs soon dried up and, after Saturday’s arcade version of the game, the London crowd got to see baseball played at a more normal pace.

Where Saturday had been about the relentless offensive play, the defences took their turn to shine in the middle of the afternoon.

There was Michael Chavis’ sliding catch in foul territory off Encarnacion in the top of the fifth, while an athletic grab from the Yankees’ Dutch-born shortstop Didi Gregorius set up an inning-ending double play for the Yankees.

“For me this means a lot,” Gregorius said of the win. “To be back in Europe it was lot of fun being here. It was a crazy atmosphere. That’s what you want to see, a lot of people, and it felt like a soccer match at the end. Pretty cool.”

A run of four scoreless innings came to a swift halt in the seventh when Boston’s bullpen imploded again.

Marcus Walden gave up four runs without recording an out, while Matt Barnes was charged with three as the Yankees turned a 4-2 deficit into an 11-4 lead.

Gregorius then tagged on a solo shot in the eighth to pad New York’s lead further, which was needed as Boston threatened a late rally, scoring four in the bottom of the eighth.

But Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman recorded three strikeouts in the bottom of the ninth to ensure the first European series in Major League history was a Yankees sweep.

A frustrated Red Sox manager Alex Cora said: “When you have a 4-0 lead and you have the chance to add on and you don’t add on…Last year we were putting teams away and this year we’re not doing that.

“It’s not a lack of effort, it’s a lack of execution. We have the talent to win the World Series but we have to play better.”

But while Cora admitted it was “not a good weekend on the field” for his team, he revelled in the overall experience.

“The atmosphere was amazing,” he said. “I played in many different venues, international venues, some great venues.

“What we witnessed here was great, the atmosphere, the passion, and I hope it happens more than twice. I know the (Chicago) Cubs and (St Louis) Cardinals are coming and hopefully other teams can experience this venue too.”