The Londoners who came to watch the Yankees and Red Sox play in MLB’s official first game in Europe were not exactly treated to typical game experience. Sure, like many Yankees vs. Red Sox games, it was agonizingly long (almost five hours!) and featured plenty of offense, but otherwise it was unlike any game in recent memory. Neither starting pitcher could complete even one inning. Both offenses couldn’t seem to stop scoring. The Yankees simply were able to out-mash the Red Sox at London Stadium in this history-making game.
Date of Game: June 29, 2019
Final Score: Yankees 17, Red Sox 13
Game MVP: DJ LeMahieu
The first inning of the matchup featured more runs than you’ll see in most full games. The Yankees wasted absolutely no time in teeing off on Red Sox starter Rick Porcello. DJ LeMahieu, in full LeMachine mode in his first season with New York, got things off with a single to right field, the first MLB hit in Europe. It was his 13th-straight game with a hit. Catcher Gary Sánchez walked, then Luke Voit ripped a double to left to drive in one run. The turf at London Stadium would play a role all game — it appeared to play particularly fast.
Didi Gregorius and Edwin Encarnación followed with doubles of their own to drive in three more runs. Porcello had thrown more than 30 pitches in the inning and only gotten one out when Aaron Hicks chased him out with a massive two-run home run.
Porcello was replaced by Colten Brewer, who walked Gleyber Torres but was finally able to end the top of the first.
A 6-0 lead in the first should have meant the Yankees could have coasted for the rest of the game, but Masahiro Tanaka was sadly just as bad as Porcello was to start. Mookie Betts greeted him with a single, then Rafael Devers hit a shot past Voit at first base for a double. The foul area on the field was huge, and Aaron Judge had no shot to get the ball in before Betts scored.
Tanaka walked Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez to load the bases with no one out. Andrew Benintendi popped out to Gregorius, and Christian Vázquez hit a long ball into the gap that Judge was luckily able to catch for a sacrifice fly. Tanaka could have kept the damage to two runs, but Brock Holt snuck a single through the infield to bring in one more, followed up by a long Michael Chavis home run to center field to tie the game at six. Chad Green would come in to end the frame, but it was already one of the wildest starts to a game that you’ll see.
Those weren’t the only six-spots in the game — the Yankees would score six again in the fourth, while the Sox would do the same in the seventh. LeMahieu was the best performer for the Yankees, going 4-6 with 5 RBI. Aaron Judge hit a two-run home run and walked three times, while Gregorius and Brett Gardner had three RBI apiece. Chavis was the top offensive performer for the Sox — he hit a second three-run homer in the seventh inning.
Lest you think the game was solely about the hits, there was also some stellar defense to be seen. Mike Tauchman, who was subbed in for Judge, laid out for a diving catch in the seventh to get an out for Nestor Cortes.
And to cap the whole thing off, Gregorius and Torres combined to turn an amazing double play to finally close matters out.
The expansion of baseball overseas is a priority for MLB, and Yankees vs. Red Sox was a fun, if unrepresentative, sample for the fans in England. The sheer amount of runs in this game was staggering, and it’s undeniably fun to watch the 2019 lineup go around and around. The new CBA dictates more games outside of the United States, but it’s hard to imagine them being anything quite like this.