BOSTON -- David Ortiz hit his 495th career home run, Jackie Bradley Jr. showed off his bat and his arm, and the Red Sox withstood a ninth-inning threat to celebrate a 4-3 victory over the Yankees on Monday at Fenway Park.
The Yankees remained 1 1/2 games behind the Blue Jays in the American League East chase despite piecing together a frantic rally against Red Sox closer Jean Machi, who allowed a leadoff single and walked three batters in the ninth to force home a run.
Machi recovered to strike out Greg Bird and got Didi Gregorius to fly out to the warning track in right field, notching his fourth save.
After taking two out of three from the Mets over the weekend, the Red Sox -- who have won nine of their last 13 games -- seem primed to play spoiler to New York's other team.
"This team is able to step up at the right moment," said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo. "This team is able to make a pitch when they need to, make a play when they need to, get the big hit when they need to. It's really fun to watch."
It was a night of missed opportunities for the Yankees, who finished 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
"Things happen, you know?" Gregorius said. "We fell a little short today with runners in scoring position, but tomorrow is a new day. We can pick it up tomorrow."
Bradley had three hits and threw a runner out at home plate in the victory. Ortiz and Mookie Betts each homered off Yankees starter Ivan Nova, who surrendered three runs and seven hits over six innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bradley with another gem: Bradley made yet another great play in the top of the fourth inning when he caught a liner by Jacoby Ellsbury in medium-depth left field and fired a strike to the plate to nail Greg Bird for an inning-ending double play. According to Statcast™, Bradley's throw home was 92.04 mph. Bradley added three hits, including a double.
"He's in a really special spot right now," said Lovullo. "Defensively, he saves us by making a great play, catching the ball on his heels. You saw just raw arm strength. He knocks down the runner with the perfect throw. A couple of really key base hits in key moments, some two-strike approaches. He's a pretty complete player right now." More >
Bird leaves ducks: The Yankees threatened against Rodriguez in the fifth inning, loading the bases with two outs on a Carlos Beltran double and a pair of walks. That brought up Bird, who has been handed most of the playing time at first base while Mark Teixeira recovers from a deep bone bruise in his right leg. Bird struck out on a 3-2 fastball, leaving three men on, and he also struck out with the bags juiced in the ninth.
"I missed a lot myself. I've got to be better," Bird said. "It's tough. When guys are on base, and you're trying to get them in, it's tough when I don't. I've got to be better." More >
Papi drills No. 495: Ortiz continues to crush the baseball in his pursuit of 500 homers. When he lined one just over the Green Monster in the fourth, Ortiz made the countdown T-minus 5. It was the slugger's third homer in the last four games, and he came within inches from another one in a pinch-hitting appearance on Saturday.
"It's exciting for everyone of us," said Lovullo. "He's downplaying it in his typical David humble way to not make it a distraction. He doesn't want to make it about himself. He wants to make it about the team and how we're playing right now, but it's exciting for all of us to walk in every day. It's bigger than a lot of things that are happening right now, and it'll be fun if he gets that 500th." More >
Yes in-Didi: Despite the deep flyout in the ninth, which Gregorius said would probably have been out of any other ballpark, Gregorius continued to swing a hot bat and finished 4-for-5, including a fifth-inning RBI single off Rodriguez. Gregorius' first three hits of the night came off a left-hander, notable because Gregorius had struggled against southpaws before this season. Gregorius had reached base in nine consecutive plate appearances before his game-ending flyout.
"I thought it had a chance, but obviously it's a big ballpark when you start going that way," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
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Beltran recorded his 500th career double in the top of the fifth inning, tying him with Goose Goslin and John Olerud for 59th place on the all-time list.
Bradley has been part of 10 double plays the last two seasons, the most of any outfielder in the Majors. In fact, no other outfielder has been part of that many over the last three years.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: Right-hander Michael Pineda (9-8, 4.19 ERA) takes the ball on Tuesday as the Yankees continue their three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET. Pineda has lost his last three starts, having allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings to the Astros his last time out.
Red Sox: Righty Rick Porcello (6-11, 5.47 ERA) made arguably his best start of the season in his return from the disabled list, firing seven shutout innings (5 H, 0 BB, 5 K's) in a win over the White Sox on Saturday. This is Porcello's first start of the season against the Yankees.