NEW YORK — It has been 13 years and 349 days since the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox last met in baseball’s postseason, a long and lonely stretch – at least in the eyes of television executives and Major League Baseball’s accountants – that has seen an 86-year-old curse broken (then re-broken and re-broken again) in Boston, and a 27th World Series championship banner raised in the Bronx, but no more October entries in baseball’s most essential and storied (or depending upon your viewpoint, overblown) rivalry.

That will change, for better or worse, Friday night at Fenway Park when the Red Sox host the Yankees in Game 1 of the best-of-five American League Division Series, an outcome assured Wednesday night when the latter dispatched the Oakland Athletics, 7-2, in the AL wild-card game at Yankee Stadium. You may relish the thought of a Sox-Yanks matchup, with all its attendant hype and history, or roll your eyes at it – but either way, chances are you will tune in.

“They can’t wait,” said Aaron Boone, who, in 2003, as the Yankees’ third baseman, smashed the pennant-winning home run against the Red Sox in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series, and who, in 2018, is the Yankees’ manager. “And I think they’re ready, and they relish the opportunity to go up against the game’s best.”

Never have the Red Sox and Yankees met in October under circumstances such as these, with both having steamrolled through a regular season at such a prolific clip. The Red Sox might was on display across 108 wins this season, the most by any team in 17 years. The Yankees’ was evident across 100 regular-season wins – good only for home-field advantage in the dreaded wild-card game – and again Wednesday night in a game that could have ended their season, but instead validated it.

With starter Luis Severino delivering four scoreless innings and Aaron Judge giving them an early lead on a two-run homer in the first inning, the Yankees let their deep bullpen and deep lineup do the rest, breaking open the game in the sixth on Luke Voit’s two-run triple to right off A’s closer Blake Treinen – who hadn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any single month during his brilliant regular season, but gave up three Wednesday night.

Before they depart the postseason stage, the charming, upstart, 97-win Athletics deserve one last moment of appreciation. Despite entering the season with baseball’s lowest payroll, and despite being beset by a near-biblical plague of pitching injuries that saw 10 different starters lost to the disabled list, they were baseball’s winningest team in the second half, as well as its most resourceful. Among the many things for which they will be remembered is adding the phrase “the opener” to baseball’s postseason lexicon.

Having clinched the wild card with a week to spare in the regular season, they had the luxury of choosing any pitcher on their roster to start Wednesday night’s game – and they chose a journeyman reliever on his sixth franchise in eight years, who had pitched only 24 innings in the majors this season and who was designated for assignment in June, meaning any team in the majors could have picked him up for next to nothing.

Using Liam Hendricks as a short-spurt “opener” made sense in the context of a changing game in which the line between starters and relievers has been blurred, and especially in the context of the A’s critical dearth of decent starting pitchers.

But here, it was a borderline disaster. After leadoff man Andrew McCutchen worked Hendricks for a five-pitch walk, Judge launched a 2-1 fastball on the insider half of the plate into the bleachers in left. Yankee Stadium exploded, Judge circled the bases with his head down, and the Yankees had a 2-0 lead.

“I was already excited from the national anthem on,” Judge said. “The crowd was into it from the beginning.”

Lou Trivino, the A’s hulking setup man, entered in the second and stabilized the game with three scoreless, overpowering frames. But given the way Severino was pitching, and the arms that awaited deployment in the Yankees’ bullpen if necessary, the A’s could have used 1992 Dennis Eckersley as their opener, and followed him with 1974 Catfish Hunter and 2002 Barry Zito, and it wouldn’t have made a difference.

By the time Severino threw his fourth pitch of the night – those four pitches being fastballs of 96, 97, 99 and 98 mph — he had already exceeded his performance in the same game a year ago, when he lasted just one-third of an inning against the Minnesota Twins in the 2017 wild card game.

“After what happened last year,” Severino said of his dominating opening frame, “that was big for me.”

This time, Severino struck out six A’s batters his first trip through their order, carried a no-hitter into the fourth and escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the fifth with a strikeout of Marcus Semien on a 99-mph fastball, flexing his arms and letting out a guttural roar as he stomped back to his dugout.

But a tight strike zone and some iffy infield defense extended Severino’s innings, and he departed two batters into the fifth – it actually felt like a curiously late hook, given the game’s do-or-die nature — and required right-hander Dellin Betances to clean up the two-on, no-out mess he left behind. At the last moment where the game felt legitimately up for grabs, Betances struck out A’s designated hitter Khris Davis, the majors’ home run champ, and half-danced, half-fell off the mound.

If Severino is going to be the type of pitcher he showed Wednesday night, as opposed to the wayward soul who had a 5.57 ERA in the second half of the regular season, and if Judge is going to be this kind of hitter, instead of the guy who homered just once in 51 plate appearances after coming back from the disabled list in mid-September, the Yankees are going to give the Red Sox all they can handle – eight-game deficit in the division be damned.

“That’s kind of a good look at when we’re at our best, right there,” Boone said.

At various points Wednesday night, as the outcome moved from possible to probable to assured, a chant, faint but clear, went up from the crowd of 49,620 at Yankee Stadium: “We want Boston! We want Boston!”

And by the end of a triumphant night, one punctuated by Giancarlo Stanton’s towering homer to left off Treinen in the eighth, they had gotten what they wanted: It will be Yankees vs. Red Sox in the Division Series. It’s been a long time coming.