BOSTON – Needing a win Sunday to clinch their fourth straight postseason berth, the Yankees had no specific plans about how to celebrate.
“I don’t even know if we will,” Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino said before the game. “We’ve been thinking about this as just getting your foot in the door and go from there.”
By late afternoon, the Red Sox had dashed any thoughts of the Yankees clinching anything at Fenway Park.
In a matchup of promising rookie starters, Tanner Houck easily bested Deivi Garcia in a 10-2 Red Sox win.
But shortly after the Yankees had departed Fenway Park, they clinched a postseason spot by virtue of the Mariners loss to the Padres.
The Yanks were on their way to Buffalo for a series against the Blue Jays when they were officially launched into the eight-team, AL tournament.
A person who somehow got into the ballpark was eventually led away after acting erratically on a platform above the center field bleachers.
With their victory, the last-place Red Sox accomplished more than just delaying their ancient rivals from punching a playoff ticket on their famous home turf.
Boston also snapped the Yankees’ 10-game winning streak – their longest since 2012 – and ended a nightmarish Sox losing streak.
A less-than-imposing Boston lineup chased Garcia after three innings, with Michael Chavis creating the most damage on a couple of hanging sliders.
After blasting a 1-and-2 pitch for a two-run homer in the second inning, Chavis followed up with a three-run homer in the third.
All told, Garcia yielded six runs on eight hits in the shortest of his five big-league starts.
Through a translator, Garcia (2-2) said he battled his command all day, which “kept me from being as aggressive as I wanted to be.’’
Meanwhile, the right-handed Houck (2-0) has yet to yield an unearned run in 11 innings, following his second impressive big-league start.
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The Yanks managed just one hit in six innings against Houck, a leadoff double in the sixth by No. 9 hitter Tyler Wade.
Houck, 24, dodged trouble by getting Luke Voit to tap into a double play, which scored an unearned run.
In the ninth, Voit added to his MLB-leading home run total with his 21st of the season.
A first-round pick by the Red Sox in 2017, the right-handed Houck walked three, struck out four, and drilled Voit in the left shoulder in the first inning.
Garcia, 21, seemed to send a message right back at the Red Sox, throwing a high-and-tight fastball with his very first pitch to leadoff hitter Christian Vazquez.
But after that, the Red Sox made consistent hard contact against Garcia, who had been excited to make his first start on the Fenway mound where his idol Pedro Martinez built his Hall of Fame career.
Wearing his signature No. 45 belt in honor of Pedro, the right-handed Garcia said that “understanding the history and everything he did here at Fenway’’ made Sunday “an important moment for me.
“It’s not the way I wanted (it to turn out),’’ but Garcia said he’d “learn from the experience.’’
Garcia should have one more start before postseason, where he could play a prominent role in the Yankees’ fortunes.
After two relief innings apiece by Luis Cessa and Jonathan Holder, Kratz was asked to break out his knuckleball.
With the Yanks looking to save Michael King for Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays at Buffalo, the 40-year-old catcher was summoned to pitch the eighth inning.
Kratz last pitched in 2018 with the Milwaukee Brewers and had a respectable 3.60 ERA in five appearances before Sunday.
“Couldn’t get my secondary stuff over,’’ said Kratz, who served up one run on a J.D. Martinez homer.
“He had a little pitchability out there, add and subtract,’’ said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “There’s no hiding the joy he has playing the game and that came out on the mound.’’
And he was the only Yankee pitcher Sunday to retired Jackie Bradley Jr. (4-for-5).
“It’s one of those things you’ve got to try to enjoy when you get that opportunity,’’ Kratz said. “I definitely enjoyed it.’’
Pete Caldera is the Yankees beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Yankees analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app.