LONDON (AFP) – Dutchman Didi Gregorius smacked a home run while Gio Urshela drove in three runs as the New York Yankees beat Boston, 12-8, in a Major League Baseball game Sunday at London.
The Yankees scored nine runs in the seventh inning and held off a late Boston rally to complete a two-game sweep in the 2012 London Olympic Stadium on a specially built field over the home pitch for Premier League side West Ham United.
The historic two-game series, which featured nine homers and 50 total runs over two games, marked the first regular-season MLB contests ever played in Europe, with plans to continue next year when the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs visit England.
“We wanted to make a great foray into Europe and there’s no better way to do that than with rivals,” said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
The Yankees improved to 54-28, 11 games ahead of Boston (44-40) in the American League East division. The Red Sox lost for the sixth time in seven games so far this season between the arch rivals.
Yankees slugger Gregorius, who was born in Amsterdam but moved to Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles, loved playing before European family and friends.
“For me it was amazing. I loved playing meaningful games in Europe,” Gregorius said. “Both teams came out fighting – they score, we score – it was pretty good games.”
After a historic 30-run spectacle in Saturday’s 17-13 Yankees victory that took nearly five hours, the second game in London was closer to the normal major league performance until the seventh inning.
D.J. LeMahieu doubled to begin the Yankees’ seventh and scored on an Aaron Hicks double. Gary Sanchez followed with a two-run single to left field to put New York ahead 5-4.
Boston’s first relief pitcher of the inning, Matt Barnes, had a walk and a strikeout before surrendering a single to Gleybar Torres that loaded the bases, setting up Gio Urshela’s two-run single to centerfield for a 7-4 lead.
Josh Taylor took the mound for Boston and walked Brett Gardner to load the bases, setting up LeMahieu’s second double of the inning to plate two more Yankees runs. New York added runs on a sacrifice fly and a Red Sox error to grab an 11-4 advantage.
Gregorius smacked a solo home run in the eighth to pad New York’s lead, stretching the Yankees’ streak of games with at least one homer to 31.
Boston’s Christian Vazquez smacked a two-run single in the eighth, Eduardo Nunez doubled in another run and Sam Travis singled home another to pull the Red Sox within 12-8.
Yankees relief pitcher Zach Britton walked Mookie Betts to load the bases but Rafael Devers grounded out to first to end the threat.
In the ninth, Cuban-born Yankees closing relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman struck out the last three Boston batters to complete the victory.
New York’s Edwin Encarnacion, a Dominican slugger who leads the American league with 24 homers, became the first player to compete in MLB games in Asia, Europe and North America in the same season, having played for Seattle in the season openers in Japan as well.
Sellers walked down stadium aisles selling such regular baseball fare as popcorn, popular US offerings beyond arenas such as doughnuts and British drinks such as Pimms liqueur drink.