The Yankees started LHP Ron Guidry, who came into the game with a 24-3 record. The Red Sox countered with Mike Torrez, who was an important of the 1977 Yankees pitching staff when they won the World Series. Torrez had lost, however, his last 6 decisions coming into the game. The game was held at Fenway Park, which could have been considered an advantage for Boston. But, just a couple of weeks before, it was the Yankees that came into Fenway and swept a four game series, outscoring the Red Sox 42-9 in the process.
Torrez was solid for the first 6 innings as the Red Sox built a 2-0 lead. Carl Yastrzemski hit an early solo HR and Jim Rice drove in a run with a single to put Boston ahead. Torrez started out the 7th inning by retiring the first batter. He then gave up singles to Graig Nettles and Chris Chambliss. After retiring the next batter, 9th place hitter Bucky Dent hit the memorable home run over the Green Monster to give the Yankees the lead. Bob Stanley, who would be added to the New York Mets history books 8 years later, relieved Torrez and gave up an RBI double to Thurman Munson. Reggie Jackson would homer off Stanley to start the 8th inning, putting the Yankees up 5-2.
Goose Gossage would relieve Guidry in the 7th inning. But, even though he did pitch the final 2 1/3 IP of the game, he struggled in the 8th inning, giving up RBI singles to Yastrzemski and Fred Lynn. Lou Piniella made the heads up play fooling Rick Burleson into holding up on a ball that wound up falling in. This prevented the tying run from scoring as Gossage got through the 9th inning, getting Yastrzemski on a foul pop up to Nettles to end the game. The Red Sox fans, to this day, refer to the Yankees SS as Bucky "F*@#$n" Dent. The Yankees, of course, advanced to the ALCS, where they beat Kansas City for the 3rd consecutive time and to the World Series, where they beat the Dodgers for the second time in as many years. For the record, the home plate umpire was Don Denkinger, who had his own controversial call in the 1985 World Series, and the 3rd base umpire was Steve Palmeiro, who was paralyzed during an altercation in 1991.