Josh Donaldson started the Yankees regular season with a walk-off hit to defeat the Red Sox.
Five months later, he did it again to beat their postseason ticket.
Donaldson continued to swing a hot bat at an important moment, delivering an RBI-single in the 10th inning to give the Yankees a 5-4 victory over the Red Sox on Thursday-evening in The Bronx.
The veteran’s third goal of the evening — and fourth walk-off hit of the season — scored auto runner Marwin Gonzalez from second base, officially earning the Yankees a playoff spot with 13 games left in the season. .
“It has happened a few times this year, [but] it doesn’t disappoint,” Donaldson said of delivering the game winner.
The Red Sox intentionally walked Gleyber Torres to lead the 10th, bringing Donaldson to the front. He said he understood why they did it, to set up a doubles scenario, but said the situation made him “happy.”
Donaldson trailed 0-1 against Kaleb Ort before getting a 97mph fastball up and down and chopped it through the left side to win it.
“That was a big one,” said manager Aaron Boone.
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In his last 10 games since returning from a stint on the paternity list before the birth of his daughter, Donaldson went 13-for-41 (.317) with four extra-base hits and seven RBI’s. He has made it to base safely in 12 consecutive games, establishing himself in the clean-up spot for a lineup that still misses a few key pieces.
“It’s just getting some traction,” Boone said. “I feel like he’s been a lot close this year where he gets it going for a day or two and then kind of backs off. I feel like his energy has been great. He’s really locked in and focused.
“We are at that time of year when we play a lot of course. I think you just see a really good player locked in and enjoying a lot of being in the middle of winning scenarios. It’s good to see him getting more and more consistent results.”
Donaldson, who got the game belt player at the Yankees clubhouse and gave a speech welcoming his teammates into the postseason, attributed his increased production to the fact that he got a number of things in his way.
“I don’t miss a single shot I can hit,” said Donaldson. “I’m feeling pretty confident on the record right now.”