Steve Pearce homered off three different pitchers Thursday night and drove in a career-best six runs as the Boston Red Sox rallied from an early deficit to thump the New York Yankees 15-7 in the opener of a four-game series at Fenway Park in Boston.
The win allowed evened the season series at 5-5 as the Red Sox increased their lead over the second-place Yankees to 6 1/2 games in the American League East.
The Yankees jumped on Red Sox starter Brian Johnson (2-3) for three runs in the first on a three-run homer by Didi Gregorius, then added another run in the second before Boston scored the next 10 runs, including eight in a game-changing fourth inning.
Pearce, who had one homer in his first 17 games for the Red Sox, belted a solo shot off Yankees starter CC Sabathia in the third inning and a three-run shot off Jonathan Holder (1-2) as part of the eighth-run fourth.
Holder, who replaced Sabathia when the veteran was pulled after throwing 77 pitches in three innings, faced seven batters in the fourth inning and didn’t get any of them out.
Pearce’s three-run homer gave the Red Sox the lead for good at 6-4, after which Eduardo Nunez and Jackie Bradley Jr. contributed RBI doubles, while Ian Kinsler and Andrew Benintendi chipped in with run-scoring singles.
The three homers gave Pearce eight for the season between the Red Sox and his time with Toronto.
Gregorius hit a second home run to get the Yankees back within 10-5 in the fifth inning, but Kinsler and Benintendi doubled in runs and Pearce capped his first three-homer game with a two-run blast off Luis Cessa in the sixth, breaking the game open to 14-5.
Johnson worked five innings to get the win, giving up five runs (four earned) and six hits. He walked two and struck out a career-high 11, three more than his previous best.
Both of Gregorius’ homers came off Johnson, as did a solo shot by Aaron Hicks in the second inning. Giancarlo Stanton bombed his 25th homer of the season off reliever Brandon Workman in the seventh.
Mookie Betts finished with four hits, including a double, and scored three runs for the Red Sox, who scored 10 or more runs for an 11th time this season.
Benintendi added three hits and three RBIs, J.D. Martinez had two doubles among his three hits, and Kinsler debuted in a Red Sox-Yankees rivalry with two runs scored, three hits and two RBIs for Boston, which improved to 5-2 on its 10-game homestand.
The two homers by Gregorius were his 19th and 20th on a four-RBI night, while Hicks’ homer was his 18th for the Yankees, who had won three of their previous four games.
The Red Sox out-hit the Yankees 19-8.
—Field Level Media