With CC Sabathia continuing to dominate the Red Sox and Greg Bird contributing a two-run homer and a run-scoring single to go with Gary Sanchez's solo blast, the Yankees opened a crucial four-game series against the AL East leaders with a 6-2 victory in front of 43,309 at Yankee Stadium.
Following Sabathia's error on a first-inning bunt attempt by Red Sox second baseman Eduardo Nunez, he walked two batters to load the bases with one out before escaping the jam unscathed. Sabathia, who has had multiple knee surgeries, felt the move was disrespectful, because it jeopardized his health.
"I just feel like they're taking the weak road", said Sabathia, who improved to 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA in four starts against the Red Sox this season.
Sabathia did the fake-tough-guy routine: He said any Boston player could meet him in center field Friday if they had a problem with what he said.
"It shows me what they've got over there", he also said.
The second turning point came in the very next inning, when Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was trying to avoid the one big inning that has so often cost him this season. "They should want to go out and kick my butt". "And if I have to bunt four times in a row, I'll do it".
"Just kind of weak to me".
Going back to last season, Sabathia has won his past five starts against the Sox without allowing more than two runs in any of them. He posted six innings of one-run ball with four hits and five walks.
Using a sharp slider, Sabathia struck out six.
Sabathia (11-5) is 8-0 with a 1.46 ERA in nine starts following Yankees losses. "I think it's who he is and what's made him so great for so long". He was done after six, NY won 6-2, and Sabathia improved to 4-0 vs. Boston in 2017.
For Sanchez, it was a 28th circuit since the beginning of the season.
Gardner opened the first by getting hit by a pitch and Rodriguez walked Gregorius with two outs before striking out Castro.
The Yankees couldn't take advantage of free baserunners in the first two innings, Aaron Hicks stopped at third base when he had a decent chance to score in the fifth, and Bird was doubled off second base on a line drive in the seventh.