Yankees look to avoid sweep vs. Red Sox

MLB Baseball

Gerrit Cole looks to stay on a roll and help the visiting New York Yankees avoid a three-game sweep against the rival Boston Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.

Cole (8-3, 2.33 ERA) has delivered three straight quality starts while allowing two runs in each outing. The veteran right-hander is averaging more than eight strikeouts per outing this year through 15 starts.

New York dropped the first two of its three-game series at Boston, including a 4-2 setback on Saturday night. The Yankees are 0-5 against the Red Sox this season after being swept in a three-game home series on June 4-6.

“It’s been very difficult,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “These games are big, and we’re fighting our butts off right now. Things didn’t go our way (Saturday), but we’ve got to continue to fight to make things happen.”

Boston had dropped four of six before a 5-3 win over New York in the series opener Friday.

“We play to win series — and we already did,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We’re facing one of the best pitchers in the big leagues. We’ve faced him (Cole) before on big stages, and we’ve done a good job with him. Hopefully we can do the same thing (Sunday).”

Cole is 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA in six career starts against Boston. He is 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA in three prior starts at Fenway Park. Cole has faced the Red Sox once as a Yankee, tossing seven innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts in a 10-3 win last Aug. 14.

Danny Santana is 8-for-12 with a home run and two RBIs lifetime against Cole. J.D. Martinez is 4-for-15 with a home run and two RBIs against him while both Xander Bogaerts (3-for-16) and Alex Verdugo (1-for-3) have taken Cole deep once.

Eduardo Rodriguez (5-4, 6.07) will get the start for the Red Sox in the series finale.

The left-hander allowed three earned runs in his last start on Tuesday at Tampa Bay, but has allowed four or more total runs in six of his previous seven starts. Rodriguez was charged with five runs on seven hits while walking one and punching out seven in a no-decision against the Rays.

Rodriguez is 6-6 with a 3.94 ERA in 19 career appearances — including 17 starts — against the Yankees. He gave up three runs on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in a no-decision at New York on June 5 — a game the Red Sox went on to win 7-3.

Gleyber Torres historically has been a thorn in Rodriguez’s side, going 6-for-17 with three home runs and nine RBIs against him. However, Rodriguez has found success against DJ LeMahieu, limiting him to three hits with four strikeouts in 13 prior at-bats.

LeMahieu is 5-for-10 in the series after going 4-for-5 with a solo home run and two RBIs in the Yankees’ loss on Saturday. He also hit a tying two-run single in the second inning of the eventual two-run loss on Friday.

–Field Level Media

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