Home sweet home, Fenway-style
The Yankees guaranteed they’d be alone atop the AL East at the All-Star break with their 5-1 win on Friday night, the first time that’s happened since 2012 — which also happens to be the last time the Yankees made the playoffs. Coincidence? Let’s hope not.
For the 117th time (well, almost), the Yankees got out to a quick lead thanks to a first-inning solo home run by A-Rod. It was his 26th career homer at Fenway Park, passing Reggie Jackson for the most at the ballpark by any visiting player in the Divisional Era (since 1969).
A-Rod also added another single against Clay Buchholz in the third inning, making him 13-for-29 (.448) with three homers against the Red Sox righty. That is his highest batting average versus any pitcher he’s had at least 25 at-bats against.
Michael Pineda pitched into the seventh inning and allowed just one run on seven hits to earn his first win since mid-June. He’s now gone at least 6 2/3 innings and given up one run or fewer in seven of his 17 starts this season. That’s tied with Chris Archer for the fourth-most such starts in the AL, behind only Felix Hernandez, Dallas Keuchel and David Price. Oh, by the way, all those guys except Pineda happen to be going to Cincinnati for the All-Star Game.
Saturday night stinker
For the second night in a row, the Yankees were feeling good after the top of the first inning thanks to another early homer by A-Rod … but this game didn’t have the same happy ending, as the Red Sox rallied to beat the Yankees, 5-3.
A-Rod now has 17 homers at Fenway with the Yankees, passing Jorge Posada for the most by any Yankee in the Divisional Era. It was also his eighth go-ahead homer this season, the most of any player on the team. #ClutchRod?
The only other thing that made this loss watchable was the first career major-league game for Rob Refsnyder. Before he took the field, the last Yankee to make his MLB debut against the Red Sox as a starting second baseman was Hall-of-Famer Joe Gordon in 1938. No pressure, kid!
The Yankees were shut down by 22-year-old Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, who held them to just two runs in six-plus innings. He is the youngest Red Sox starter to allow two runs or fewer against Yankees since Roger Moret in 1971, and also became the first Boston pitcher age 22 or younger to get a win against the Yankees since a guy named Roger Clemens on April 11, 1985.
”Refsnyder has Seoul!” — you know who
Rob Refsnyder’s first major-league homer in the ninth inning ended up being the game-winner in Sunday afternoon’s rubber game, capping off a more-stressful-than-it-had-to-be 8-6 win over the Red Sox. He is the only Yankee second baseman in the last 100 years to homer in either of his first two career games.
With the win, the Yankees have now won five straight series at Fenway Park dating back to last year. The last time they had a run like that in Boston against the Sawx was when they took five series in a row there spanning the 1978-80 seasons.
Brian McCann gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead with what might be the most improbable homer as a major-leaguer: opposite field, against a lefty, on the road. Yeesh.
It was his first career homer at Fenway Park; his 74 at-bats there were his most any ballpark he hadn’t gone deep yet. The home run was also his first one to left or left-center since joining the Yankees last season, and and the only other time in his career he went oppo against a left-handed pitcher was Aug. 25, 2011 off John Grabow.
Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner both got hits, making them the only Yankees to have hit safely in all nine games against the Red Sox this season. A-Rod and Gardy are the first Yankee teammates to have hits in each of their first nine games played against the Red Sox in the same season since Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig in 1937. #MicDrop