BOSTON — If it is Yankees-Red Sox in the American League wild-card game come Oct. 5, the Yankees will love their chances.
Regardless of venue.
Rallying for a second straight game against a suspect Boston bullpen — with Aaron Judge and, yes, Giancarlo Stanton again playing significant roles — the Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Red Sox with a 6-3 victory on Sunday night in front of a mostly irritated sellout crowd of 36,312 at Fenway Park.
The Yankees (89-67), winners of six straight, reassumed the top wild-card spot in the American League by one game over the Red Sox (88-68). They stayed two games ahead of the Blue Jays (87-69), against whom the Yankees will start a three-game series Tuesday night in Toronto.
"They don’t want to be denied,’’ Aaron Boone said. "I love the frame of mind they’re in, the fight they’re in, the way they’re competing. Looking forward to an off day tomorrow, taking a breath and getting back at it."
The Yankees wound up going 9-3 against the Red Sox after dropping the first seven games between the teams.
Sunday night’s game could only be described as bizarre, with the Yankees doing everything in their power to lose the game and winning it anyway.
Judge’s two-run double off former teammate Adam Ottavino in the eighth gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead and Stanton, who may well have turned around the Yankees’ playoff prospects with his 452-foot grand slam in the eighth inning Saturday, visited Lansdowne Street for a second straight night, blasting a 448-foot two-run shot to make it 6-3. He went 7-for-12 with three homers and 10 RBIs in the three-game series.
The Red Sox tied it at 2-2 on Christian Vazquez’s sacrifice fly in the seventh, but all appeared OK for the Yankees in terms of getting out of the inning when pinch hitter Kyle Schwarber sent a foul pop to third. DJ LeMahieu was camped under the ball but dropped it for an error, extending the at-bat. All appeared OK again when Schwarber lifted a soft fly to left-center, where Joey Gallo arrived in plenty of time . . . and dropped the ball, giving the Red Sox a 3-2 lead.
"Just a weird couple of plays,’’ LeMahieu said. "Honestly, it meant a lot to me; I dropped a pop-up and Greeny [Chad Green] looked at me like, ‘I got you.’ That means a lot. And [then] Judgie and G with those big hits. They really picked us up there."
"A little bit stunning,’’ Boone said. "Can’t make that stuff up, but again, one of my messages to the guys all year long, but certainly when the games are more important, mistakes are going to happen and you can’t get bogged down by it. You’ve got to move on."
"We aren’t afraid to make it interesting, that’s for sure,’’ Stanton said. "We could have let them steal one there but we kept pushing and knew there was a chance until the last out."
Garrett Richards started the eighth by walking Gio Urshela. Tyler Wade pinch ran but was thrown out attempting to steal second by Vazquez. Wade did not slide, thinking the pitch had been fouled off.
LeMahieu wound up walking and Anthony Rizzo lined a double to right-center to put runners at second and third. Ottavino came on to face Judge, who fouled off four 1-and-2 pitches before lining a two-run double on one hop off the Green Monster in left-center for a 4-3 lead.
His at-bat was extended twice: first when first baseman Bobby Dalbec failed to catch a pop in foul ground and then when Vazquez failed to hold on to a foul tip. He snow-coned it briefly, and the drop may have come on the transfer, but that is not reviewable.
"You can’t give that man too many extra chances," Stanton said.
"I felt like a cat,’’ Judge said. "I felt like I had nine lives up there."
Judge dislocated his left pinkie on the slide but stayed in the game. "My biggest mistake was not going feet-first,’’ he said. "Kind of kicking myself for that. Didn’t feel much when [I got up], but when I checked my batting gloves, I saw it was kind of out of place . . . Not too concerned with it. I don’t really need it to hit, so I think we’ll be in good shape."
Stanton then hit a hanging 0-and-1 slider to leftfield over the Green Monster seats for his 34th homer. Beginning Aug. 3, he has 18 homers and 47 RBIs in 48 games.
"It kind of evened out,’’ Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery said. "We missed those two and they missed that one. I don’t know if that’s karma or baseball working its magic. Certainly a huge inning for us and enough to get us the W."
"Story of our season is getting punched in the face and coming back,’’ LeMahieu said, "so we’re used to it at this point."