NEW YORK — CC Sabathia shut down the high-scoring Red Sox, Greg Bird hit two home runs and Aaron Judge connected off a college teammate as the New York Yankees bopped Boston 8-1 on Friday night to retake the top record in the majors.
Not since the famed Bucky Dent playoff game in 1978 had the Yankees and Red Sox met so late in a season when they owned the two best marks in baseball. Home runs decided this matchup, too, with Miguel Andujar also going deep for New York.
The biggest crowd of the year at Yankee Stadium was in the spirit as lines forming outside the gates more than 3 1/2 hours before the start. The pro-Yankees chants began prior to the first pitch, the anti-Boston shouts soon followed.
Sabathia (5-3) helped end Boston’s four-game winning streak, less than a month from his 38th birthday. He gave up one run and six hits in seven innings.
Steve Pearce, acquired a day earlier from Toronto, batted cleanup in his debut for Boston and doubled and singled off Sabathia. No matter, the big lefty improved to 6-0 in his last seven starts against Boston.
Eduardo Rodriguez (9-3) gave up five early runs. Boston fell to 3-4 against their rivals this season, and 12 more games are left.
Judge connected for his 21st homer, a two-run drive in the seventh off Justin Haley. Before the game, the former Fresno State players chatted for a while behind the cage during batting practice — the rookie reliever angrily kicked at the mound dirt as Judge circled the bases.
Gleyber Torres tripled and scored on Andujar’s single in the second. Torres added a sacrifice fly in a four-run fourth, capped by back-to-back homers from Andujar and Bird.
Bird added a solo drive in the eighth. The Yankees lead the majors with 131 home runs.
3B/1B Brandon Drury was called up from Triple-A and likely will see action this weekend with Boston starting left-handers the rest of the weekend. Acquired from Arizona, he began the season as the starting 3B, but went on the DL in early April with blurred vision and migraines. He gives the Yankees a righty-hitting option at 1B. The team considered promoting Tyler Austin, but he has back trouble.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia and knuckleballer Steven Wright will see a doctor Monday. Both are on the 10-day disabled list. … Drew Pomeranz will start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (strained hamstrings) threw 48 pitches in a simulated game at the spring complex in Tampa, Florida. He’s expected to pitch in a minor league rehab game in the middle of next week, then could rejoin the Yankees.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (7-4, 2.56 ERA) is 5-4 with a 1.73 ERA against the Yankees. He has struck out Judge more than any other pitcher — 10 times in 15 at-bats.
Yankees: RHP Sonny Gray (5-5, 4.93) is 1-5 lifetime against the Red Sox. Since joining New York, he’s 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA in three starts vs. Boston.
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