The Red Sox broke open a tight game with four runs in the top of the eighth to take a 7-3 victory over the Yankees on Saturday night in Yankee Stadium.
Winning the first two of a three-game series, the Red Sox will look to complete the sweep on Sunday night. Boston improved to 35-23 but remain one game behind the front-running Tampa Rays.
Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez rebounded from four consecutive losses to register a quality start in a no decision. Rodriguez mixed his fastball and change to go 5.1 innings with three earned runs and seven strikeouts. Garrett Whitlock pitched 1.2 innings in relief of Rodriquez and picked up his first win of the season. Former Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino blanked his old teammates in a scoreless eighth. Closer Matt Barnes retired one batter in the ninth to pick up his 14th save of the season.
“After what I had been through the last four starts I feel like this was a big step for me,” said Rodriguez. “I worked on my change up and you could see it today and it was like my old change up.”
The Red Sox had four players with multiple hits in the game. Rafael Devers had two hits, scored two runs and drove in a pair. Kiki Hernandez snapped an 0-for-27 slump with an RBI double in the eighth that drove in Devers with the game winning run. Bobby Dalbec capped the eighth inning rally with his eighth home run of the season.
“I wasn’t pressing as much as I was frustrated because nobody wants to go on a skid like I did,” said Hernandez. “It felt really good to finally get on the board and help the team win.”
Yankees starter Jameson Taillon got out of a minor jam in the top of the first with a pair of spectacular plays in the field. Alex Verdugo smacked a one out double to right field. Xander Bogaerts, who was batting in the three-hole in place of J.D. Martinez (left wrist), followed with a chopper over third base that was snagged by Gio Urshela on the run.
Urshela pivoted and made a fade away off-balance throw that got Bogaerts and kept Verdugo at second. Rafael Devers’ line drive was knocked down by second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who made the toss to first.
The home half of the first ended with an equally spectacular play. Aaron Judge laced a sinking liner that bounced off Bogaerts and was caught by Marwin Gonzalez. The veteran second baseman made a hurried throw to first that got Judge.
The Red Sox ran into the third out in the second inning when Christian Vazquez tried to stretch a single into a double. Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez set the Yankees down in order with a pair of strikeouts in the home half of the frame.
Rodriguez retired the first two batters he faced in the third before giving up consecutive singles to Clint Frazier and LeMahieu that put runners on first and second. Rodriguez escaped the situation when he struck designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton with a fastball. Taillon was equally effective, setting the Red Sox down in order in the third while facing four batters in the fourth.
Judge struck out to open the fourth, but the Yankees got to Rodriguez with the middle of their order. Urshela delivered a bloop single to center and Gleybar Torres followed with a home run to the left field bleachers to take a 2-0 lead.
Taillon appeared juiced by the instant two run lead when he retired the Red Sox in order. Hernandez and Dalbec went down swinging while Vazquez hit a harmless bouncer back to the mound.
Rodriguez shook off the setback and retired the Yankees in the fifth with a pair of strikeouts and a fly to center. The Red Sox took a 3-2 lead in the sixth and chased Taillon from the game in the process.
Verdugo started the rally with a one out single to left with the Yankees defense in a right field shift. Bogaerts followed with a double that bounced high off the left field fence, just inched above the outstretched glove of Miguel Andujar. Devers came through with a two-run single to right that prompted Yankees’ skipper Aaron Boone to go to the bullpen.
Hunter Renfroe greeted reliver Jonathan Loaisiga with an infield single to short that put Devers on second. Gonzalez scored Devers on a double down the right field line. Loaisiga retired Hernandez and Vazquez to end the threat.
Rodriguez got into trouble in the sixth that compelled Red Sox manager Alex Cora to go to the bullpen. Judge drew a one out walk on a full count and went to third on a ground rule double to right by Urshela. Garrett Whitlock entered the fray to face Torres, who lofted a deep foul ball to right that was caught by Renfroe. Judge tagged up and scored to tie the game, 3-3.
The Red Sox had runners on first and second in the seventh with one, but Bogaerts lined into a double play to third to end the frame.
Whitlock came out for the seventh and faced just three batters, courtesy of an inning ending 6-4-3 double play. Southpaw Chad Green was brought in to start the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Devers.
Green retired the next two batters, but the slumping Hernandez stroked an RBI double down the left field line scoring Devers for a 4-3 lead. Boston went up 5-3 when Vazquez scored Hernandez with an RBI double to right. Dalbec, who was 0-for-3 on the night, followed with a two-run blast into the centerfield bleachers to make it 7-3.