Yankees 12, Red Sox 6. New York's Joe Cowley and Boston's Bruce Hurst were both reasonably effective 26-year-old pitchers on the date of this game. Hurst would pitch well through the remainder of the decade and into the '90s; Cowley, meanwhile, had only two respectable seasons left in him.
The Yankees jumped out to an immediate lead in the first. With one out, Ken Griffey, Dave Winfield, and Don Baylor hit consecutive doubles, and Toby Harrah added an RBI single to make it 3-0. Boston loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning on a Wade Boggs double, a Dwight Evans single, and a two-out Mike Easler walk, but Bill Buckner hit into an inning-ending force to post a zero on the board. Hurst was perfect in the second, however, and the Sox rallied in the bottom of the inning on a Marty Barrett single, walks to Jackie Gutierrez and Boggs, and doubles by Evans (scoring two) and Jim Rice (scoring Boggs, but somehow only moving Evans from second to third). With the go-ahead run 90 feet away, Cowley recovered to retire Tony Armas and Easler to keep the tie intact.
New York pulled ahead again in the third when Willie Randolph walked, Griffey singled him to third, and Winfield hit a sacrifice fly. Cowley retired the Sox in order in the bottom of the inning, and the teams exchanged inconsequential hits in the fourth (a Brian Dayett double in the top, a Boggs single in the bottom). Hurst was flawless in the fifth, and Boston tied it once more in the bottom of the inning when Easler singled, Rich Gedman walked, and Barrett singled Easler around from second.
As before, as soon as Boston tied the score, New York pulled ahead again. Harrah and Don Mattingly opened the sixth inning with doubles, the second of which knocked in the go-ahead run and drove Hurst from the mound. Steve Crawford relieved and recorded two quick outs, but then allowed an RBI single to Rick Cerone, making it a 6-4 game. Cowley allowed singles to Boggs and Evans in the bottom of the sixth, and was replaced by Bob Shirley for the final out of the inning. Crawford worked around an error in the top of the seventh, and the Sox pulled within a run in the bottom of the inning; Gedman's one-out single chased Shirley in favor of Mike Armstrong, and Armstrong allowed a Barrett walk and a Boggs single that brought Gedman home.
The Yankees got that run back in the top of the eighth. Harrah opened the inning by drawing a walk, moved to second on a groundout, and scored on a two-out single by Bobby Meacham. Boston drew closer yet again in the home eighth when Easler doubled against Armstrong and Buckner greeted Dave Righetti with an RBI single. But the rally was left incomplete when Buckner was stranded at first, and New York eliminated any reasonable chance of another one in the ninth.
Griffey led off the inning with a double against Mark Clear, Winfield walked, and Baylor and Harrah both hit run-scoring singles. Mattingly walked to load the bases with nobody out, and Clear was replaced by Charlie Mitchell. Omar Moreno greeted the newcomer with a two-run double, making it an 11-6 lead, and Mattingly came home one out later on a passed ball. A hit batter and a double play finally ended the carnage, and Righetti set the Sox down in order in the bottom of the ninth to bring the game to a close.
The raw hitting numbers for the two teams in this game were very similar in most respects. The Yankees had 15 hits to Boston's 14; both teams drew five walks, and New York also had a batter get hit by a pitch and benefited from two Red Sox errors, but those slight advantages were largely offset by a pair of double plays and one runner caught stealing.
The difference, then, came in the extra-base hits. Neither team managed a triple or a home run - but while the Red Sox had four doubles, the Yankees hit a whopping eight. Throw in somewhat better-timed hits, and you get a good explanation for the eventual 12-6 margin in a game that played far closer than the final score for the first eight innings.