A-Rod homers, Yankees beat Buchholz, Red Sox 5-1

BOSTON (AP) Alex Rodriguez has consistently played well this season after getting a day off. He's had great success against Clay Buchholz, too.

Friday night proved to be the perfect combination.

Rodriguez hit his 17th home run in the first inning, Michael Pineda had another impressive start and the New York Yankees took advantage of Buchholz's early exit and Boston's shoddy defense in a 5-1 victory over the Red Sox.

''I think (manager) Joe (Girardi) has been great,'' Rodriguez said of his selected off days. ''I felt good.''

Rodriguez quickly got to Buchholz (7-7), who had won his previous four starts to spur Boston's recent turnaround before he left with elbow pain with one out in the third. The Yankees scored three unearned runs after his departure thanks to infield errors by Mike Napoli and Brock Holt as Boston's five-game winning streak was snapped.

''There's some tightness, some stiffness in the elbow area,'' Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Buchholz, adding he would undergo an MRI.

The tone was set when Rodriguez, back at DH after taking Thursday off, sent Buchholz's 2-1 changeup onto the street over the Green Monster seats, and the Yankees were on to their third straight win and fifth in a row over their rivals.

Rodriguez later singled off Buchholz before his injury. He's 13 for 29 with three home runs in his career against the right-hander.

''Sometimes numbers can be deceiving,'' Rodriguez said. ''I can't say I feel all that well up there. He has a number of ways of getting you out and you don't want to chase.''

Rodriguez, who drew a bases-loaded walk in a three-run fourth to raise his average to .279.

Pineda (9-5) gave up only Mookie Betts' solo home run over 6 2-3 innings. He allowed seven hits, no walks and struck out six. Pineda has won both starts at Fenway Park since he was ejected and suspended 10 games for having pine tar on his neck early last season.

Pineda left in the seventh with two outs and a runner on third, and Justin Wilson struck out Betts to end the threat.

''I thought he may have had his best stuff of the year,'' Rodriguez said.

Buccholz walked off after throwing a cutter clocked at 84 mph to Stephen Drew.

''He's normally 88-89 (mph),'' Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon said. ''The last one was 85 and then he called me and he said he feels something in his elbow.''

Robbie Ross Jr. replaced Buchholz with runners at second and third and one out, and the Red Sox quickly imploded. Napoli at first base and Holt at second committed errors, and Ross later walked in a run as New York took a 4-0 lead with three unearned runs.

That quieted a Boston team that entered having won eight of 10 to move within 5 1/2 games of the AL East-leading Yankees.

Buchholz had been important in Boston's strong play of late, having won four straight starts with an 0.87 ERA. But he's lost both starts against the Yankees, who have won four straight at Fenway Park.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: 3B Chase Headley (sore right calf) said he feels well enough to play, but Girardi kept him out of the lineup for a third straight day. Girardi said ''it's crossed our minds'' to sit him through the All-Star break. ... OF Carlos Beltran (left oblique strain) plans to return next week following a minor league rehab stint in Tampa.

Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia (strained left hamstring) ran the bases Friday, but was not activated on his first day eligible to come off the disabled list. While Pedroia said he was ''getting better,'' Farrell hinted Pedroia may remain out through the All-Star break.

REFSNYDER CALLED UP

Girardi confirmed after the game that 2B Rob Refsnyder will be called up and play on Saturday and Sunday when the Red Sox start left-handers Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 3.69) and Wade Miley (8-7, 4.50).

The 24-year-old Refsnyder, taken in the fifth round 2012 draft, will replace Drew.

''I'm looking forward to him being up here with us,'' Drew said.

FAN HURT

A woman about six rows from the field was hit by Didi Gregorius' foul ball in the fifth inning. After being treated for a few minutes, she got up walked up the stands in the holding a towel to her head.

Fans surrounding the fan between the third base dugout and home plate and medical personnel arrived quickly.

Another woman was hospitalized and later released after being hit in the face by a broken bat in a game at Fenway Park last month. Unlike that night, this game continued as the woman was treated.

UP NEXT

Yankees: RHP Ivan Nova (1-2, 2.65 ERA) starts Saturday night.

Red Sox: Rodriguez and Miley start the series' final two games. New York is hitting .242 against lefties, 16 points below its average vs. righties.

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