BOSTON — He stood in foul territory down the right field line on Tuesday, back at the scene of his famous home run, long ago on a golden October afternoon. Bucky Dent, 69 years old, silver hair beneath his Yankees cap, had flown in from Florida to see his old team face the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park with the season at stake.
Suddenly a ball came roaring his way.
“They’re trying to kill me over here!” Dent exclaimed, but it was friendly fire from batting practice, a hooking liner by a Yankee that rattled around his legs. It turned out to be one of the hardest balls the Yankees hit all night.
There were no new heroes on the Yankees’ side of baseball’s greatest rivalry. There have not been for a while. The Red Sox eliminated the Yankees, swiftly and emphatically, in a 6-2 victory in the American League wild-card game. The Yankees struck out 11 times without a walk, and the last six spots in their lineup combined to go 1 for 20 with an infield single.
“Sick to my stomach,” said Yankees starter Gerrit Cole, describing how he felt after lasting only two innings, allowing two homers, two walks and three runs. It was Cole’s shortest start since 2016, long before the Yankees signed him for nine years and $324 million.