Red Sox hold off Yanks in opener

Luke Voit celebrates after his RBI triple in the ALwild-card game Wednesday night. More

As if it weren't enough to earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and tear through the 2018 schedule with 108 wins.

Boston has a terrific lineup, but New York's offense doesn't take a backseat to the Red Sox.

The Yankees are in town.

Martinez belted a three-run homer and Chris Sale struck out eight batters as the Boston Red Sox held on to beat the New York Yankees, 5-4, in the opening game of the American League Division Series on Friday.

Sox Game 1 starter against the Yankees in ALDS had a poor series in last season's playoffs.

NY won the previous postseason meetings, in the 1999 and 2003 ALCS, the latter clinched on a walk-off home run by Aaron Boone, now the first-year Yankees manager.

Sanchez, whose batting average didn't top.200 after June 8, also had a solo shot in the second inning to give NY a 2-0 lead.

NY will have J.A. Happ on the mound, as the veteran has a 1.99 ERA in four starts this season against Boston. Any time you need a clutch at-bat with the game on the line, you want to see Betts at the plate every single time. Sale said. "We got the Yankees and the Red Sox ..."

But what kind of pitcher will Sale be Friday? Sale was sidelined twice during the second half though with shoulder inflammation, so there are still some lingering concerns there. Boston responded with just five hits against four NY pitchers. In his last start, on September 26, the velocity on his high-90s fastball dipped to 92 miles per hour.

While a low-profile acquisition when they dealt for him from the Jays in late June, the Red Sox wanted Pearce for some depth hitting against lefties of which Happ, of course, is part of that breed.

Then the following July, Boston's Bronson Arroyo hit New York's Alex Rodriguez with a pitch, A-Rod stared at the pitch as he walked toward first, catcher Jason Varitek got between them and pushed the AL MVP, leading to dugouts and bullpens emptying.

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"I believe we're the guys that are going to get the job done", he said.

And if Sale's stuff is not up to his usual standards? "Sometimes you go out there and have your best, sometimes you don't".

"You have to find a way with whatever you have on any given day, and roll with it".

HUNT FOR MR. OCTOBER As a Cy Young victor and three-time finalist, David Price has been one of the best regular-season pitchers of his generation.

"He's been one of the best pitchers in the big leagues for a long, long time", Cora said. Those Mariners, by the way, lost to the Yankees in the ALCS.

Since the onset of wild cards in 1995, teams that have outhomered their opponent in a playoff game are 406-132 (.755 winning percentage), including 56-11 (.836) by the Yankees.

"We know how good they are. We know what we have to do".

Happ was unbeaten in his 11 starts with NY and had won seven of them since being acquired from Toronto prior to the trade deadline in July. In fact, Boston relievers had a cumulative 4.84 ERA in 126 1/3 innings.

Joe Kelly recorded two more outs than David Price on Saturday night at Fenway Park.

"We tried to come in and he missed right down the middle", Cora said. "But he's going to compete, and we're going to be fine with him". "Let's (focus on) that".

Lets take a look at 3 keys to beating the Bronx bombers for the Red Sox.

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