Xander Bogaerts and Kyle Schwarber homered off Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, and Nathan Eovaldi took a shutout into the sixth inning to help the Boston Red Sox beat New York 6-2.
With Bucky Dent in the crowd and Aaron Boone in the Yankees dugout, Boston chased Cole in the third inning and beat New York in the playoffs for the third straight time. The Yankees, who lead the majors with 27 World Series championships, have not won it all since 2009.
Previous story below
One of sports quintessential rivalries prepare to add another chapter to an ongoing battle for bragging rights on Tuesday night.
It's fitting that after a 162-game Major League Baseball regular season, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, who finished with identical 92-70 records, will duke it out in an epic winner-take-all wild card showdown sure to elicit comparisons to the 1978 'Bucky Dent' classic.
Much like that game, Boston's Fenway Park will serve as the venue for this matchup with the Green Monster lurking beyond the diamond casting its shadow over the field and its stars. And there are plenty.
For the Bronx Bombers, they will send out their ace Gerrit Cole, in what will be the biggest start of his Yankee career.
"You're dreaming about putting yourself in that position, and coming through for your team. And here we are," Cole said.
The right-handed flamethrower went 16-8 with a 3.23 ERA despite a pair of rough outings to round out the season. The Yankees are hoping he can rediscover the form that helped him dominate hitters for much of the year. But he won't be alone.
RELATED | Yankees clinch playoff spot with dramatic walk-off win over the Rays
While the team has endured a rollercoaster of winning and losing streaks -- the lineup's most imposing figures, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, have remained a constant force -- slugging a combined 74 home runs in 2021.
The latter smashed three long balls against the Sox during the final regular season series at Fenway last weekend, helping the Yankees notch a sweep.
But as in any Yankee, Red Sox showdown -- the boys from Beantown have lethal weapons of their own and are not to be underestimated.
Former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi will start for the Red Sox, and like Cole, brings a tantalizing fastball and a pedigree of success on the biggest stage.
In the batter's box, the Sox sport a three-headed monster of hitters in Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez that have wreaked havoc on pitching staffs all season.
It will be the fifth time the teams have met in the playoffs - the 1978 tiebreaker counted as part of the regular season - with each club winning twice. In postseason games, New York leads 12-11, but Boston has won seven of the last eight.
Twice series have come down to a win-or-go-home seventh game, in the 2003 and 2004 ALCS. Each team has won one of them.
ALSO READ | Gabby Petito family joins Twitter, calls on Laundrie to surrender
Beyond the results, the rivalry has always been fueled by its seemingly endless cast of characters like Derek Jeter, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada and Pedro Martinez to name a few.
"It was more about the characters, the players, bigger-than-life," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "It was like, 'Wow, these guys are unbelievable.'"
Current Yankee manager Aaron Boone, himself, became a hero in the Bronx after his 11th inning walk-off homer in Game 7 of the 2003 AL Championship Series at Yankee Stadium.
"It matters here. It's fun to compete in games here. It's tough to compete in games here," Boone said. "Yeah, I think there will be some tension, electricity. Everything you could hope for for a winner-take-all game in the playoffs and two outstanding franchises and teams."
With the season on the line for both teams -- the question now is: which character will be the hero on Tuesday night? And which team will ultimately claim bragging rights in this latest postseason showdown?
The Associated Press contributed to this story
* Get Eyewitness News Delivered
* Follow us on YouTube
* More local news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts Submit a News Tip