NEW YORK (AP) — Gary Sánchez hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the fifth inning, Aroldis Chapman escaped trouble in the ninth and the New York Yankees bullpen held tight again to beat the Boston Red Sox 5-3 Saturday night.
After starter Domingo Germán was chased early, six Yankee relievers combined for 5 1/3 scoreless innings to lock down another victory over the rival Red Sox — New York is 4-0 to start the season series, a first since 2012.
Chapman walked Mookie Betts and allowed a single to Andrew Benintendi leading off the ninth, but J.D. Martinez hit a double-play grounder and Rafael Devers rolled the last out to first.
Chapman got his 17th save in 18 tries, closing out a game where Chad Green (1-2) and Adam Ottavino stranded runners with timely strikeouts. The bullpen also pitched four shutout innings in a 4-1 win Friday.
Boston went 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position, including seven strikeouts. The Red Sox tied a season high with 14 strikeouts and matched a season most with their fourth straight loss.
The Yankees have won 15 of 18 and clinched their ninth straight series victory, a first for the franchise since 1998.
Xander Bogaerts homered and had three hits for the Red Sox, who have lost 6 of 8 and fell 9 1/2 games behind New York for the AL East lead. That is Boston’s biggest deficit in the division since finishing 15 games out in 2015.
Sánchez threw his hands at Rick Porcello’s 2-2 slider well outside the strike zone and poked it an estimated 403 feet to right-center. It was Sánchez’s 18th homer, matching his total from an injury-spoiled 2018.
Sanchez was in a five-way tie for the AL home run lead before connecting.
DJ LeMahieu’s two-run single put New York ahead 3-1 in the second, but Boston tied it in the fourth on Bogaerts’ leadoff homer and Sandy León’s second RBI single of the game.
León was 3 for 3 before manager Alex Cora replaced him with pinch-hitter Christian Vázquez with a runner on in the eighth. Vázquez hit into an inning-ending double play.
Porcello (4-5) faced New York for the first time since his series-clinching victory at Yankee Stadium in Game 4 of last year’s AL Division Series. The right-hander entered with a hot hand, but left after allowing five runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Germán allowed three runs in 3 2/3 innings, failing to qualify for what would have been his major league-leading 10th win. He struck out eight but gave up six hits and two walks.
Yankees DH Kendrys Morales ended a 1-for-19 skid with three hits. Luke Voit also had three hits.
BACK ON TOP
Prior to the game, Cora informed Betts that he would be hitting leadoff for the rest of the season. Betts batted first throughout his MVP 2018 season, but Cora opened this year experimenting with Benintendi in the top spot with Betts at No. 2.
Batting 1-2 atop the order, Betts and Benintendi combined to go 2 for 9 with three strikeouts and a walk.
Red Sox: Boston placed World Series MVP Steve Pearce on the 10-day IL with a low back strain. 1B/OF Sam Travis was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. … RHP Nathan Eovaldi is set for a second simulated game Tuesday as he works back after having a loose body removed from his right elbow April 23. He threw 22 pitches in a sim game Friday.
Yankees: OF Clint Frazier spoke with a trainer after being hit by a pitch in his left elbow in the fifth inning. He stayed in to run but was replaced in right field by Cameron Maybin in the sixth. … Manager Aaron Boone said SS Didi Gregorius could join New York for its series at Cleveland from June 7-9. Gregorius is with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on a rehab assignment following Tommy John surgery last fall.
Boston’s David Price (2-2) and New York’s CC Sabathia (3-1) face off in a showdown of Cy Young Award-winning left-handers.
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