While the Red Sox rolled through July with one of the best offenses in the league, James Paxton and the Yankees’ bullpen shut Boston’s lineup down on Friday night. The Bombers beat the Red Sox by a score of 4-2 to take the first of this four-game set.
After a rough outing against Boston last weekend, Paxton bounced back in a big way, giving up only two runs on two hits in six innings, striking out nine and walking only three. By mixing up his pitch selection by throwing more curveballs and aggressively attacking the zone, Paxton kept the potent Boston lineup at bay all night.
His only mistake came in the first inning, when he left a pitch in the middle of the zone to J.D. Martinez that the designated hitter deposited into the left field seats. Overall, however, Paxton was the dominant sort of pitcher the team needs going forward and into the playoffs.
The Yankees got to Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez early. After DJ LeMahieu led off the bottom of the first with a single, Aaron Judge and Edwin Encarnacion walked to load the bases. Aaron Hicks popped out to first baseman Sam Travis for the first out of the inning, but then Gleyber Torres came through in a big way:
With that grand slam, Gleyber Torres becomes the third-youngest Yankee to hit two grand slams in one season, behind Yogi Berra in 1947 and Mickey Mantle in 1952; only Joe DiMaggio in 1937 has more in one season age-22 or younger.
That would be all the scoring the Yankees would get, as Rodriguez, Marcus Walden, and Nathan Eovaldi limited the Yankees to only two hits after the first inning, although Rodriguez did allow six walks. That would be all the scoring the Yankees would need, however, as Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman combined for three scoreless innings to shut the door and secure the win.
DJ LeMahieu had a big game in his return to the lineup, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, as well as a great play on a Sam Travis line drive to end the game.
James Paxton gets the win, improving to 6-6, while Eduardo Rodriguez falls to 13-5. Meanwhile, Aroldis Chapman collects his AL-leading 28th save of the season. With that win, the Yankees are once again 30 games over .500 as they improve to 69-39. Their lead over Tampa Bay has now improved to 7.5 games, while the Red Sox, who fall to 59-52, are now 11.5 out of first.
The Yankees and Red Sox play two tomorrow. Domingo German and Chris Sale will get the ball in the first game, scheduled for 1:05 PM. Brian Johnson gets the ball for Boston in game two as the Yankees prepare to employ a bullpen game. That matchup is scheduled for 7:05 PM. That is assuming, of course—and tell me if you’ve heard this before—the weather cooperates.