BOSTON -- The red-hot Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Red Sox by hanging on for an 8-5 victory on Sunday night at Fenway Park. It marked New York's first sweep of three games or more in Boston since a five-game sweep from Aug. 18-21, 2006.
"That's pretty cool. It's obviously a tough place for us to play," said Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner. "They've always got a good team, they always play us tough, especially in their home park. They've got a really good lineup, really good offensive team. It's tough to hold them down. We were able to get some runs early, and it ended up being just enough."
While the Red Sox (12-13) fell below .500 for the first time this season, the American League East-leading Yankees (16-9) reeled off their 10th win in the last 12 games.
"It's been a month and we're one game under .500, but there's nobody giving up in this clubhouse," said right-hander Joe Kelly, who took the loss. "We're all looking forward to coming here tomorrow and playing a big series against the Rays."
The Bronx Bombers jumped on Kelly for five runs over the first three innings, and had an 8-0 lead by the top of the sixth. Jacoby Ellsbury had four hits and reached base six times, but it was Mark Teixeira (two-run homer) and Gardner (three-run shot) who accounted for much of the damage, with Brian McCann adding a two-run double.
Stifled early by Yankees starter Adam Warren, Boston's bats came alive in a five-run sixth inning. The big blow was a three-run homer by Mike Napoli. But the Red Sox couldn't come all the way back. With the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, David Ortiz lined out to center to end the game.
"Hopefully that continues," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the Fenway sweep. "That's not easy to do, and this is a tough place to play. Obviously we were able to do that; we had some excellent pitching and some real timely hitting. We had some big home runs tonight; a big one from Tex and a big one from Gardy. That's the difference."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Closing at Miller time:Andrew Miller improved to 10-for-10 in save opportunities, but it didn't come easily, leading to a ninth-inning showdown with Ortiz representing the winning run. Miller issued a leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Allen Craig, and after two strikeouts, a walk to Mookie Betts and a Chase Headley error on Dustin Pedroia's grounder brought up Big Papi, who has never hit a walkoff grand slam. Ortiz made good contact but Ellsbury tracked the liner down to end the game.
"He's got a flair for the dramatic," Miller said. "I think he lives for that situation, and he's thrived in it. I think probably the most impressive part of his career is what he has done in those situations. Again, it's not ideal. He hit the ball square, but Jacoby had a good read on it and we won the game." More >
Napoli blast sparks surge: Napoli's homer in the sixth was important because the slugger had been mired in a slump for most of the season. The blast over the Green Monster could be a sign that he's ready to get hot. It also brought the Red Sox to within 8-5 after trailing, 8-0. After Hanley Ramirez was drilled by Warren earlier in the inning, the crowd started to get more into the game. Pablo Sandoval's RBI single helped set up Napoli's homer against Esmil Rogers. All five runs were scored with two outs.
"I thought we showed tremendous fight, tremendous comeback," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We scored five in the bottom of the inning after we're down, 8-0, right down to the final swing of the night. We kept battling back, all the way through. We didn't give any at-bats away. There's still a strong competitive spirit in that room." More >
Bet on Brett: Gardner connected for his three-run homer in the sixth inning, depositing a Craig Breslow pitch into the Red Sox bullpen that put the Yankees up by eight runs. That busted the game open at the time, but actually proved to be key. Gardner hit safely in all three games of the Yankees' sweep at Fenway, collecting three RBIs in each of the final two contests.
"You don't think the game's close when it's 8-0, but you never have enough runs in this ballpark, against that team," Gardner said. "They've got a real good lineup top to bottom. We've got a real good pitching staff, and we feel good about the arms we've got in the bullpen, but you can't ever score enough runs against these guys in this ballpark. It just goes to show you -- that's what happened tonight. Thank goodness we got enough early." More >
Impressive debut for Hinojosa: Cuban righty Dalier Hinojosa had an impressive Major League debut for the Red Sox when he was called into an eighth-inning jam. With runners at the corners and one out, Hinojosa struck out Alex Rodriguez. He got out of the inning when McCann flied out to right. In the ninth, Hinojosa battled out of a bases-loaded jam to keep it a three-run game.
Farrell had a successful challenge in the bottom of the fourth, when Ramirez was originally ruled out at first at the end of what would have been a 6-4-3 double play. But a hustling Ramirez just beat the throw to first, and the call was overturned after a review of 3 minutes and 12 seconds. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they didn't gain any momentum from it. Sandoval grounded out to end the inning. More >
"Playing from behind is difficult. We had the lead once, I think, in this series. They shut us down for two-plus games until we were able to mount somewhat of a big inning. For us to right the course, we still need to point to that rotation to continue to give us quality innings and keep a game under control until our offense gets on track." -- Farrell
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Napoli continues to be a certified Yankee-killer. His homer was the 12th he's struck against the Bronx Bombers since joining the Red Sox in 2013. Napoli is tied with Evan Longoria for the most home runs against the Yankees during that span.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: Right-hander Chase Whitley will make his second start of the season as the Yankees open a three-game series with the Blue Jays on Monday at Rogers Centre. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will be on the mound for Toronto in the 7:07 p.m. ET contest.
Red Sox: The enigmatic Clay Buchholz will try to recover from another tough outing when he opens a three-game series on Monday night at 7:10 p.m. ET against the Rays. Buchholz lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his last start, giving up six hits and five runs (four earned).