BOSTON — CC Sabathia didn’t get out of the fifth inning and gave up five runs to the Red Sox on Saturday, yet he lowered the Yankees’ rotation ERA from the past seven games.
That didn’t lead to a victory over their blood rivals, who continued bludgeoning Yankee pitching in a 9-5 victory watched by a Fenway Park crowd of 36,862 that bathed in the Red Sox taking three straight from the Yankees and in position for a sweep Sunday night.
Sabathia gave up nine hits — two homers to Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez — and absorbed a second straight loss that dropped his record to 5-6. Throw in two no-decisions that preceded the two losses, and Sabathia hasn’t won since he beat Toronto on June 24.
The victory pulled the second-place Red Sox to within eight games of the AL East-leading Yankees, who had an 11-length lead on the Sox when they pulled into town early Thursday morning. The Rays slipped to third with a 10-9 loss to the Blue Jays in 12 innings.
In the past eight games, Yankees starters are 1-5 with two no-decisions and a whopping 13.78 ERA. They have allowed 59 hits, 10 walks and hit two batters in 32 innings. Ten of those hits are homers.
“There is no question we are going through a tough stretch right now on the mound, had a rough week, but that is part of it, too,’’ manager Aaron Boone said before the latest beating. “You hear the talk all the time, 162 [games], you are going to get punched in the mouth and face different periods of adversity. Right now we have struggled a little bit on the mound and that is part of it. You have to deal with it and I know our guys are equipped to deal with it.’’
Boone’s starters might be getting an upgrade before Wednesday’s trade deadline. Prior to the starters getting pounded, general manager Brian Cashman was looking to acquire a starter. Now, with the rotation melting in the past eight games, the need for another starter is screaming.
Gio Urshela went 4-for-4 nut put a scare into the Yankees when he limped around first during an eighth-inning double. He was visited by trainer Steve Donohue and remained in the game.
Kyle Higashioka stroked a two-run single off Nathan Eovaldi in the eighth inning that cut the Red Sox lead to 9-5.
With the pitching getting rocked for 38 runs in three games by the Red Sox, there isn’t much attention on a lineup that has produced 13 runs in the three games.
Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez won his fifth straight start and is 13-4. He allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 ²/₃ innings.
The Red Sox increased the lead to 8-3 in the sixth against Chad Green with two of the three runs via sacrifice fly and Jackie Bradley Jr.’s RBI triple.
A walk to Gleyber Torres and Urshela’s second bloop single in three innings presented the Yankees with a chance to bite into a 5-3 Boston lead in the fifth. After Rodriguez retired Mike Tauchman on an infield pop, right-hander Matt Barnes surfaced from the bullpen to strike out Higashioka and strand two.