Red Sox vs Yankees: Lefty earns trust to finish 7 IP with flourish
There was a gleam in CC Sabathia’s eyes as he stabbed a tapper to the first-base side of the mound, a rush of adrenaline momentarily erasing the consciousness that he has continued to work on a pair of balky knees. Charging toward the bag, he flipped the ball to Greg Bird, pumping his left fist before unleashing a PG-13-rated bellow.
That weakly hit ball off Mookie Betts’ bat marked the final pitch thrown by Sabathia on Friday evening, as the big man came through in another huge spot. Rising to the occasion for what he had called his club’s most important games of the season, Sabathia hurled seven sparkling innings and led the Yankees to an 8-1 victory over the Red Sox on Friday evening.
“We played a good game against a good team,” Sabathia said. “I know what this team is capable of. I’m confident in this team and this bunch. Hopefully we can keep going out and playing like this the rest of the season.”
The Yankees reclaimed the best record in the Majors as the “Baby Bombers” carried the offensive load behind Sabathia, with Bird enjoying the second multi-homer game of his career. Miguel Andujar and Aaron Judge also homered, powering New York to its Major League-leading 30th win at home.
Working in front of a sellout crowd of 47,120, the Yankees’ largest of the season, Sabathia limited Boston’s potent lineup to a run on six hits in the 97-pitch effort. Less than a month shy of his 38th birthday, Sabathia improved to 7-1 with a 2.57 ERA in 12 starts against the Red Sox since the beginning of 2015.
“He was great. He’s been great all year,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “That might have been his best outing, and to kick off a homestand against them — that was a really good offense that he was in complete command against. CC set the tone by controlling their offense for the most part.”
“We feed off that, just the energy he provides when he pounds the strike zone,” Judge said. “He just dominates them. He doesn’t miss a spot. It’s fun to see out of him just pitching. I remember back in the day he used to go out there and throw 98, 99 [mph], but now he’s pitching. It’s fun to play defense behind a guy like that.”
New York thumped Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez for five runs and seven hits over six innings. Gleyber Torres legged out his first career triple and scored on an Andujar single in the second inning, then lifted a sacrifice fly that drove home the second run in the fourth.
Andujar continued the inning by launching a two-run homer to left, his 12th, and Bird immediately followed by slamming an opposite-field drive to left for his fourth homer. Judge put the game out of reach in the seventh, blasting a two-run shot to right off former Fresno State teammate Justin Haley, his 21st of the season, and Bird capped the scoring by homering off Haley in the eighth.
“It’s been all year,” Sabathia said. “Since all these guys came up, they’ve been the biggest part of our team, all these rookies. Aaron Judge last year, [Gary] Sanchez two years ago, now you’ve got Torres and Miggy. These guys come up here and they play like veterans.”
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