By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Alex Cora refused to feel discouraged after a gut-punch of a loss on Thursday night in Tampa. The Red Sox’ manager, despite falling out of first place on a wild pitch in the ninth inning to lose 1-0, instead felt inspired by his team. Cora then went ahead and promised a “fun summer” ahead for Boston.

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Then the Yankees came to town. Sure enough, Boston had a lot of fun.

The Red Sox won 5-3 on Friday night, 4-2 on Saturday night, and then won via a 9-2 blowout on a steamy Sunday afternoon to sweep the Yankees for the second time this season.

With that, the Red Sox improved to 6-0 vs. the Yankees this season. While six victories vs. their divisional rivals from the Bronx is not necessarily significant, it is the highest win total for Boston vs. New York since 2018, when the Red Sox went 10-9 vs. the Yankees.

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The Red Sox went 1-9 vs. the Yankees last year and 5-14 vs. the Yankees in 2019, for a combined record of 6-23. Suffice it to say, 6-0 is a whole lot better.

“All around, probably the best series we’ve played all season. We played great defense, we ran the bases well, we put pressure on them, and we got timely hitting,” Cora said Sunday. “It was good. It was a good weekend, obviously, against a division opponent, at home. That’s something we talked about before the season started. We did a good job against them.”

The Red Sox also used the weekend to slide back up into first place in the division, as they figure to be jockeying atop the AL East with the Rays for the duration of the summer. The Red Sox have spent 45 days this season in first place, and that’s in large part due directly to the way Boston has played vs. Tampa and New York this season. They’re 10-2 vs. the Rays and Yankees thus far.

With 26 games left against those two teams — 13 vs. each — an .833 winning percentage may prove to be slightly unsustainable. The Rays and Yankees are too good to be held down to that extent over the course of 162 games.

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But a 6-0 record vs. the Yankees and a 4-2 record vs. the Rays is a good way to create a bit of a head start in what figures to be a hotly contested race toward the AL East crown.