The Boston Red Sox cruised to a 9-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Sunday night at Fenway and eliminated them from the AL East race. The Red Sox now leads second-place Tampa Bay by nine and a half games with a magic number of four to clinch its second division title since 1995, according to the Boston Globe on Sept. 15. But before doing so, the Sox honored longtime rival Mariano Rivera in a touching pregame ceremony as he made his last Fenway stop before retirement.
Clay Buchholz, in just his second start since coming off the DL, walked four and struck out three, allowing only one unearned run.
Mike Napoli cranked a two-run homer in the first inning to make it 3-1. Yankee starter Ivan Nova plunked Mike Carp in the fifth with bases loaded bringing the score to 5-1.
After tacking on two more in both the sixth and seventh innings, the Sox went on to win their tenth out of the last 12, and 17 of their last 21 games.
The Boston Red Sox also extended their winning streak over rival Yankees to six wins in seven games over 11 days.
New York trails the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers by three in the wild-card race. Cleveland and Baltimore are also ahead of them.
Of course Boston won't shed a tear for the Yanks, as they won the last two division titles in a row and 13 of the last 17.
The Sox rolled out the red carpet for Yankees closer Mariano Rivera before the game Sunday night, honoring the legendary reliever with number of gifts.
That after first having the Boston Cello Quartet play him on, donned in tuxedos, with his signature Metallica entrance song "Enter Sandman".
The Boston fans gave Rivera, who's retiring at the end of this season, a standing ovation during the pregame ceremony in what was likely his last Fenway appearance.
Some of the gifts the Red Sox gave Mariano included a video with highlights of his Fenway appearances, a painting of Rivera in Fenway Park and an original Fenway Park seat.
Rivera also got a piece of pitching rubber from the bullpen, the number "42" placard used in the Green Monster whenever he pitched at Fenway and even a hug from David Ortiz.
Of course the Red Sox had a little fun first, showing video of Rivera’s blown saves in Fenway before the ceremony started, according to USA Today. Click their link to see video of the ceremony.
The playful video included Rivera's blown a save in Game 4 of the 2004 AL Championship Series, which ultimately led to the Red Sox winning their first world championship in 86 years, ESPN reports.
"It’s a blessing to me to play here for so many years", Rivera told reporters prior to the game. "To come here to play against the Red Sox at Fenway, it’s always a great game. But it’s never easy".
Both Boston and New York fans alike absolutely loved the gesture from the home team.