It took the Boston Red Sox five batters to show the New York Yankees that this year’s season series would be nothing like the results of the pandemic-shortened campaign.
After getting the lead early and ending an 11-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox try to clinch the series with New York on Saturday night when the rivals play the middle contest of a three-game set.
The Red Sox opened the series with a 5-2 victory after Rafael Devers hit a three-run homer, Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run double and Nathan Eovaldi pitched six innings of two-run ball.
That gave Boston its first win over the Yankees in New York since June 2, 2019. The Red Sox were swept in a four-game series in New York in August 2019 and then went 0-7 there while posting a 24-36 record last season.
“It was a good all-around game,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “We did a good job of keeping them off-balance. It was a good game.”
Friday ended Boston’s second-longest losing streak at any version of Yankee Stadium and followed up a tidy 5-1 victory in Houston on Thursday after the Red Sox dropped three straight.
After getting Friday’s win, the Red Sox will try to secure their first regular-season series victory in New York since Aug. 8-11, 2017. Since then, the Red Sox are 6-24 in their past 30 regular-season games at Yankee Stadium.
“We haven’t won here too often these last two years,” Cora said. “To put ourselves in position to win the series right away is big for us.”
The Yankees mustered eight hits but went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position Friday. They also hit into two more double plays, raising their major league-leading total to 54.
“We’re frustrated,” New York first baseman DJ LeMahieu said. “We’re not helping out our pitchers like we know we can. It’s not one guy — it’s all of us.”
Aaron Judge homered and is batting .357 (30-for-84) over his past 24 games. New York’s top five hitters of LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Judge, Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres were a combined 8-for-19 Friday but the rest of its lineup was 0-for-15 with 10 strikeouts.
After Eovaldi turned in Boston’s 48th start of at least five innings, Eduardo Rodriguez (5-4, 5.64 ERA), hopes to reverse some recent struggles. After missing last season due to myocarditis in his heart following a battle with COVID-19, Rodriguez began this season 4-0 with a 3.52 ERA but is 1-4 with a 7.28 ERA in his past six starts.
Rodriguez last pitched in Monday’s 11-2 loss at Houston when he allowed six runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. It marked the fourth straight start he allowed at least four runs.
“It’s been tough for me this whole month,” Rodriguez said. “Every time I go out there, something happens. Pitches, location, whatever, it has been tough.”
The left-hander is 6-6 with a 3.87 ERA in 18 career appearances (16 starts) against the Yankees.
Jameson Taillon (1-4, 5.10), who has pitched five times when the Yankees have scored one run or fewer for him, starts for New York. He last pitched in Monday’s 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay when he allowed three runs on five hits in five innings.
Taillon’s only previous start against the Red Sox was a no-decision at Boston on April 5, 2017, when he allowed five hits in seven scoreless innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I got the opportunity to pitch at Fenway years ago as a Pirate and even that felt cool,” Taillon said Friday afternoon. “So, growing up a baseball fan, I can just remember watching Yankees-Red Sox games as a kid. I understand what the rivalry is and what it means to everyone involved and to the game of baseball. So I’m excited to be a part of it.”
–Field Level Media