NEW YORK (AP) Matt Holliday and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back home runs as the New York Yankees wore out Chris Sale early and routed the Boston Red Sox 9-2 on Sunday night, taking three of four games in their final series of the season to make up ground on the AL East leaders.
Chase Headley also went deep against Sale, and slumping Aaron Judge capped a six-run sixth with a two-run homer that snapped his longest drought of the season. Starlin Castro laced a three-run double and Luis Severino (12-6) was overpowering for New York, striking out nine in six innings of two-hit ball to win a marquee matchup on the mound.
The second-place Yankees won the season series 11-8 and sliced Boston’s cushion in the division to 3 1/2 games. In a schedule quirk, it’s the earliest these longtime rivals have completed their season series (in a season not shortened by a strike) since 1985.
Sale (15-7) has been one of baseball’s best pitchers all year, but he came up empty against the Yankees during his first season with Boston. The ace left-hander was chased in the fifth and dropped to 0-3 in five starts vs. New York this year – though he entered with a 2.12 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings against them.
This time, the Yankees were especially gritty in the batter’s box. They hit 29 foul balls off Sale, who threw 109 pitches in 4 1/3 innings.
Boston hardly helped him at the plate, going 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position before Sandy Leon hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth. The Red Sox finished 1 for 27 during the series in those situations, a problem for them against the Yankees all year.
Headley connected on an 0-2 slider leading off the third, his third home run in 28 career at-bats against Sale. It was Headley’s second homer in two days.
Holliday also went deep for the second straight day since coming off the disabled list. He sent a solo shot to left-center in the fourth and Frazier followed with his 22nd of the season.
Gary Sanchez drove in a run on a bases-loaded infield single with two outs in the sixth – he was originally called out at first base, but the Yankees challenged and the ruling was overturned after a replay review.
Castro followed with a three-run double to right, and Judge regained the AL lead with his 38th home run – a long drive to left field that was estimated at 469 feet. He broke a homerless skid of 57 at-bats and 15 games that stretched back to Aug. 16 at the New York Mets.
Jacoby Ellsbury, batting ninth, was 3 for 3 with a walk and a stolen base.
Sale and other Red Sox seemed to take issue with plate umpire Sam Holbrook’s strike zone much of the night, and Boston pitching coach Carl Willis was ejected during New York’s big sixth inning.
Red Sox: Slumping SS Xander Bogaerts (hand) did not start for the third consecutive game. He’s expected back in the lineup Monday night against Toronto. … 2B Dustin Pedroia returned to the lineup after sitting out Saturday. He was removed for a pinch-runner in the seventh. Pedroia (knee) came off the disabled list Friday. … LHP David Price (elbow inflammation) plans to throw his entire assortment a 30-35 pitch bullpen session Monday at Fenway Park.
Yankees: OF Aaron Hicks went on the 10-day DL with a strained left oblique. … Castro (tooth) was back in the lineup after sitting out Saturday. … Rookie OF Clint Frazier (strained left oblique) plans to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday at Double-A Trenton.
New York was still awaiting word from Major League Baseball on the appeals by catchers Sanchez (four games) and Austin Romine (two games) of their suspensions stemming from a fight-filled game Aug. 24 in Detroit. But manager Joe Girardi said Sanchez and Romine will not have to serve their penalties at the same time.
BACK IN THE BIGS
Boston recalled infielder Deven Marrero and RHP Hector Vel?zquez from Triple-A Pawtucket.
Red Sox: A nine-game homestand begins Monday night with RHP Rick Porcello (9-15, 4.45 ERA) on the mound against Toronto LHP J.A. Happ (6-10, 3.96). Porcello, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, went 5-1 over six starts in August. He has a 0.66 ERA in two outings vs. the Blue Jays this year.
Yankees: A quick turnaround before Monday’s game in Baltimore at 2:05 p.m. EDT. New York requested an earlier start Sunday night and got a bit of a break when the game was moved up 30 minutes to 7:35 p.m. The opener against the surging Orioles was pushed back a half-hour as well. Baltimore RHP Dylan Bundy (13-8, 3.94 ERA) is coming off a one-hitter vs. Seattle, his first career shutout. The Yankees are skipping LHP Jaime Garcia and instead starting rookie LHP Jordan Montgomery (7-7, 4.15), who went to Baltimore ahead of the team Sunday to rest up.
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