Yankees pound Sale, take series from Red Sox
NEW YORK — Facing one of the more powerful arms in the majors, the New York Yankees worked the pitch count up, brought some power of their own and made some progress in their pursuit of the American League East title.
Chase Headley went deep of Sale in the third inning, Matt Holliday and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back homers in the fourth, and the Yankees chased the Boston Red Sox ace early and coasted to a 9-2 victory Sunday night.
New York’s Aaron Judge hit his first homer in more than two weeks in the sixth inning against Boston’s Addison Reed.
The Yankees won three of the four games in the series against the Red Sox, cutting their deficit to 3 1/2 games. New York finished the 19-game season series against Boston with 11 wins.
Four of those New York victories occurred in starts made by Sale. On Sunday, the Yankees constantly fouled balls off as Headley, Holliday and Frazier hit two-strike homers against the left-hander, who was hardly as sharp as in his previous appearance in the Bronx on Aug. 13 when he fanned 12 in seven innings.
“We have a bunch of guys that grind out at-bats,” Holliday said. “That’s what it takes. With a (pitcher) like that, you have to go up there and compete and grind. You know that he’s going to get you. You try to get him and hope that he makes mistakes.”
Sale turned in his second-shortest start of the season, allowing three runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked two, struck out six and fell to 1-3 with a 6.88 ERA in his past four starts.
“They put good at-bats together, fouling some pitches off, taking some good pitches,” Sale said. “It was up to me to make an adjustment. Today I didn’t.”
Once the Yankees got Sale out of the game after 109 pitches, New York pulled away with a six-run sixth against four relievers.
Gary Sanchez reached on a bases-loaded infield single after the Yankees challenged the original call, and Starlin Castro followed with a bases-clearing double down the right field line off Reed.
New York’s big inning concluded with perhaps the club’s most encouraging sign. Judge drove Reed’s 1-1 fastball an estimated 469 feet halfway up the left field bleachers. It was Judge’s league-leading 38th homer but first in a season-high 57 at-bats.
“I told you I thought his at-bats have been better, and it’s kind of hard to evaluate at-bats sometimes against the Corey Klubers and Chris Sales of the world, but I think his at-bats have been better,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
The ball traveled 115.1 mph. It was Judge’s hit his first homer since a fourth-inning, upper-deck shot off New York Mets right-hander Robert Gsellman on Aug. 16 at Citi Field.
“He’s leading the league in homers,” Holliday said. “I don’t think he should be too down on himself.”
While the Yankees brought the power at the plate, Luis Severino delivered a powerful six-inning showing, allowing an unearned run and two hits against the same team that pounded him for 10 runs on Aug. 12.
“He was powerful,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “He’s pitched a couple of good ones. Their entire pitching staff has pitched well against us this whole season, take nothing away from them.”
Sale’s second loss in three outings was hardly the only problem for the Red Sox. Boston’s runs occurred when Eduardo Nunez scored on a passed ball by Sanchez in the sixth and a ninth-inning single by Sandy Leon.
The Red Sox continued to struggle with runners in scoring position against the Yankees. They were 1-for-27 in the series, batted .143 (20-for-140) overall in the season series and .111 (7-for-63) in the games in New York.
“It’s probably historic when you look at it,” Farrell said.
NOTES: The Yankees and Red Sox teamed up to raise money for Hurricane Harvey relief by auctioning off autographed team memorabilia from the game. In a pregame ceremony, Boston manager John Farrell and New York manager Joe Girardi unfurled the Texas state flag in support of the cause. ... New York OF Aaron Hicks was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. ... Boston LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) played catch before the game. He will throw a 30 to 35 pitch bullpen session before Monday’s game. ... New York OF Clint Frazier (strained left oblique) will start a rehab assignment Wednesday with Double-A Trenton. ... Girardi said he did not hear anything about the results of the appeals for C Gary Sanchez (four-game suspension) and C Austin Romine (two-game suspension). ... Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis was ejected by plate umpire Sam Holbrook in the sixth inning.