Aaron Judge homered early and a makeshift New York Yankees lineup pounded David Price in a 7-4 victory Sunday night that sent the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox to their eighth consecutive defeat.
With only three projected regulars in the batting order, the banged-up Yankees won their fifth straight and completed the first four-game sweep of their longtime rivals since August 2009. New York (72-39) maintained its eight-game lead in the AL East over Tampa Bay and dropped the third-place Red Sox a whopping 14 1/2 behind — not to mention 6 1/2 games out of a playoff spot.
Boston has dropped eight in a row for the first time since an eight-game skid in July 2015.
Still, no pleasure comes without pain for the Yankees these days. All-Star second baseman Gleyber Torres was lifted in the late innings with a core injury and sent to the hospital for tests. Third baseman Gio Urshela was removed a few innings after fouling a ball off each leg in a span of three pitches.
Handed a 7-0 lead after three innings, J.A. Happ (9-6) improved to 10-4 against the sluggish Red Sox, who finished 1-8 in the Bronx this year and are 4-11 in the season series. He beat Price (7-5) in a matchup of starting pitchers who just came off paternity leave.
The rollicking sellout crowd of 47,267 gave a struggling Price the Pedro Martínez treatment, chanting “Who’s your daddy?” during his latest flop at Yankee Stadium.
The start was delayed 69 minutes due to a threat of rain, though it remained almost completely dry throughout.
Happ sailed through four innings before Christian Vázquez and rookie Michael Chavis hit back-to-back solo homers in the fifth. After a two-out wild pitch in the sixth, Andrew Benintendi chased Happ with a two-run single that shaved it to 7-4.
Luis Cessa struck out Chavis with two on and worked 2 1/3 hitless innings. Chad Green got three outs for his third major league save and second this season.
Judge sent a no-doubt solo drive into the elevated bleachers in right-center in the first. It was his first home run in 58 at-bats since July 19.
Judge walked in the third and Urshela, batting cleanup, launched a two-run homer off the back wall of Boston’s bullpen in left-center. That was the first of six straight two-out hits — four for extra bases — and then a walk that ended Price’s night.
Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin hit consecutive doubles. Mike Ford, a 27-year-old undrafted rookie out of Princeton wearing No. 74, had an RBI single. Third-string catcher Kyle Higashioka laced his second double off Price, and No. 9 batter Mike Tauchman added a two-run single in a half-inning that took 28 minutes.
Price stood behind the mound, head lowered with his back to home plate, as he waited to be pulled after throwing 75 pitches in only 2 2/3 innings. The left-hander gave up a season-high seven runs and nine hits before walking slowly to the dugout. He is 0-3 with a 10.59 ERA in just 17 innings over his last four outings.
Price also fell to 1-7 with a 9.61 ERA in eight starts at Yankee Stadium since signing a $217 million, seven-year contract to join the Red Sox before the 2016 season. The lone win came on June 2, also a Sunday night game.
Yankees: CF Aaron Hicks went on the 10-day injured list with a flexor strain in his right elbow. Hicks won’t throw for a week to 10 days, but the team is optimistic he’ll return this season. Gardner becomes the primary center fielder. … SS Didi Gregorius returned to the lineup for the first time since rolling over his left wrist fielding a ball Wednesday. … All-Star catcher Gary Sánchez likely will begin a minor league rehab assignment this week and is expected to rejoin the Yankees next weekend in Toronto. … Ford played first base, with DJ LeMahieu getting a rest after returning Friday from a sore groin. Edwin Encarnación (broken right wrist) and Luke Voit (sports hernia) are sidelined. LeMahieu entered at second base for Gleyber Torres in the eighth.
Boston recalled RHP Ryan Weber from Triple-A Pawtucket and optioned RHP Colten Brewer, RHP Josh Smith and INF Marco Hernández to its top farm club.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (9-8, 5.74 ERA) pitches Monday night against Kansas City LHP Mike Montgomery in the opener of a seven-game homestand. The 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner was 4-1 in five July starts despite a 7.94 ERA.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (7-6, 4.78) takes the ball Monday night in Baltimore when New York begins a seven-game trip against two AL East also-rans. Tanaka hasn’t lasted more than four innings in either of his past two outings and is 1-4 with a 7.40 ERA on the road this year. RHP Gabriel Ynoa (1-6, 5.55) goes for the last-place Orioles.
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