What has been a mostly miserable season in The Bronx had a month’s worth of drama Saturday — and for a change, the Yankees came out on top.
After losing their first seven meetings of the year against the Red Sox, the Yankees finally beat their rivals, 3-1, in six innings at Yankee Stadium.
All it took was a rainstorm, some awful calls by the umpires and a pair of homers from Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres.
At first, it hardly looked like the Yankees were going to avoid a third straight loss. After getting shut out on Friday, they didn’t get a hit Saturday off Boston right-hander Nathan Eovaldi until Greg Allen doubled to right-center with two out in the fifth inning.
But DJ LeMahieu followed with a run-scoring single to left, and back-to-back solo homers by Sanchez and Torres in the sixth gave them the lead.
Gerrit Cole, coming off a complete game shutout in Houston — and pitching with Sanchez behind the plate because Kyle Higashioka is on the COVID-19 IL — delivered another solid performance.
After Kiké Hernandez ripped a double on Cole’s first pitch of the game, Tim Locastro made a leaping catch in foul territory on Alex Verdugo’s fly ball to left. Locastro appeared to injure his right knee on the play, but stayed in the game for the rest of the inning before being replaced by Tyler Wade in the second.
Hernandez moved to third on the play and the Yankees brought the infield in for J.D. Martinez. Cole got Martinez on an 0-2 check swing for the second out and struck out Rafael Devers swinging to end the inning.
Rain started in the bottom of the first after the beginning of the game had been delayed by nearly an hour despite no precipitation.
With two out in the first, Rougned Odor was awarded first base when a 100 mph Eovaldi fastball brushed his jersey on an 0-2 count. Eovaldi then hit Sanchez with an 0-2 fastball to bring up Torres.
Torres’ struggles continued, with a flyout to right.
In the second inning, Cole allowed a one-out hit to Jarren Duran, his first hit in the majors.
Duran moved to second on a comebacker by Christian Vazquez and scored on Christian Arroyo’s soft liner to left to put the Yankees in another early hole.
After hitting Odor and Sanchez in the first, Eovaldi retired nine straight before Torres walked with two out in the fourth.
Cole was dominant after the second-inning hiccup. He gave up just one hit after Arroyo’s RBI single and retired 10 in a row before a walk to Devers with two outs in the sixth.
Hunter Renfroe followed with an infield single, and after a visit from pitching coach Matt Blake, Cole walked Duran to load the bases for Vazquez.
Following a brief delay, Cole got Vazquez on another questionable check swing third strike to keep it 1-1. Arguments from the Boston dugout led to the ejections of Boston bench coach Will Venable and catcher Kevin Plawecki.
The game was delayed again before the bottom of the sixth, when a fan threw a ball from the stands that hit Verdugo in left field.
The Red Sox left the field momentarily as the fan was ejected.
Hirokazu Sawamura took over for Eovaldi to start the bottom of the sixth, and with one out, Sanchez took him deep to right to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
A fan appeared to reach over the fence, but the play was upheld after a review showed the fan did not interfere.
The struggling Torres followed with his first homer since June 5.
With rain pouring down, play was stopped after the sixth inning and the game was called following a 52-minute delay, giving the Yankees a much-needed victory.
“We need to make up ground and we’re playing [Boston] head-to-head,” Jameson Taillon said before the game. “We haven’t proven we can beat them yet. I think we need to put our foot down, make a statement and win some games.”