"This stadium is hard to play in. It showed."
The New York Yankees have set the stage for another postseason showdown against the division rival Boston Red Sox, after defeating the Oakland A's 7-2 in last night's American League Wild Card Game. The Yanks, having won 100 games during the regular season, earned home field advantage for the elimination game and the crowd at Yankee Stadium was raucous from the first pitch to the final out.
The sellout crowd of 49,620 erupted early and often, as Yankees starter Luis Severino retired the A's 1-2-3 on just 10 pitches in the first. In the bottom half of the inning, the noise carried over when leadoff hitter Andrew McCutchen drew a walk and slugger Aaron Judge smoked a rocket into the left field stands giving the Bronx Bombers an early 2-0 lead.
Here's what the players had to say about the atmosphere and energy in Yankee Stadium last night, per NJ.com,
"It was electric," McCutchen said. "That first inning was amazing for us. I definitely think they helped us in that first inning. They were loud. We got a quick three outs and we were able to get it started (with the walk) and Judge with the big homer. That kind of set us up for the rest of the game."
"It was a missile," said first basemen Luke Voit of Judge's two-run HR. "I thought, 'Dang, he might have killed someone.' It was a sense of relief ... and it was so exciting how the crowd was. This stadium is hard to play in. It showed."
"Playing at home, we knew the atmosphere was going to be unbelievable," reliever Dellin Betances said. "It was just crazy to be honest with you how loud the fans were."
"Ah, man, the crowd was amazing," center fielder Aaron Hicks said. "I actually missed my roll call it was so loud in that first at-bat. It was amazing. Really amazing."
The Yankees were 6-0 at Yankee Stadium in the playoffs last year, but before they can return to the Bronx they'll head to Boston for two games at Fenway Park. The best-of-five AL Divisional Series will get underway tomorrow at 7:30pm, followed by Game 2 on Saturday night. The series shifts back to Yankee Stadium for Game 3 next Monday.
Check out some highlights from the AL Wild Card Game in the videos embedded below.