Gardner homers for Yankees in 3-1 win at Boston
BOSTON (AP) The New York Yankees capitalized on the few hits they got in between strikeouts.
Brett Gardner homered and Stephen Drew hit a two-run double as the Yankees pieced together just enough offense to overcome Rick Porcello's career-high 13 strikeouts and beat the Boston Red Sox 3-1 on Tuesday night.
The Yankees had only five hits and struck out 15 times, but New York hit in key moments and Boston batters failed to give Porcello much help.
''The gratifying thing at this time of year is wins, no matter how you do it,'' manager Joe Girardi said. ''If you get a break or however it happens, that's the gratifying thing.''
The Yankees helped themselves defensively, getting a strong start from Michael Pineda and catching the Red Sox in a double-steal attempt to quickly fizzle a promising rally in the eighth.
Pineda (10-8) allowed one run and four hits and struck out seven and Andrew Miller picked up his 29th save with three strikeouts in the ninth.
Porcello (6-12) scattered five hits over eight innings and the only earned run he allowed was Gardner's solo homer in the eighth. He topped his previous high for strikeouts by two, but the Red Sox gave him little support at the plate.
''You go out there and you want to win. That's the bottom line. I think anybody would tell you that,'' Porcello said. ''It's a nice night for me personally but as far as the team goes we didn't accomplish what we wanted to.''
Down 3-1 after Gardner's homer to right, the Red Sox had a chance to regain the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Mookie Betts led off with a single and Xander Bogaerts singled with one out, giving Boston runners at first and second for slugger David Ortiz.
Ortiz struck out in his first three at-bats and the Red Sox sent both runners. The gamble failed as Betts was called out when he slid into third and briefly lost contact with the base.
''At that point we figured it was a good risk,'' interim manager Torey Luvollo said.
Betts thought he was safe and told third-base umpire Vic Carapazza that if his foot came off, it was only because third baseman Chase Headley pushed him. The Red Sox challenged the call, which was confirmed after a video review.
''I felt like I was safe the whole time,'' Betts said. ''It caught me a lot by surprise because I didn't think my foot came off.''
The Red Sox lost on the gamble, the review and again when Ortiz struck out for the fourth time and ended the inning.
Boston's only run came in the third, when Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled and scored on Pablo Sandoval's single to right.
The Yankees picked up two unearned runs in the fifth after Didi Gregorius hit a grounder that got past Travis Shaw at first base. Alex Rodriguez, who led off with a single, trudged from first base to third as the ball slowly rolled down the right-field line and Gregorius reached second on Shaw's error. Both scored easily when Drew followed with a double to center to put the Yankees up 2-1.
Porcello was attempting to win consecutive starts for just the second time this season. The Yankees foiled his attempt at a mini-winning streak, although Girardi acknowledged how tough Porcello was.
''Our guys said he had as much comeback in his movement on his fastball as they've ever seen tonight,'' Girardi said. ''We knew he had good sink, but they said it was huge tonight. So we took advantage of the situation and it was big.''
Luvollo defended the double-steal call after the game and credited the Yankees with stopping it, although he still had questions about the call.
''The only replays I've seen are the ones that the fans had seen and it looked like there was a chance that he still touched the bag. But Major League Baseball has told us that he did not maintain contact with the bag,'' Luvollo said.
Yankees: RHP Andrew Bailey was among the additions the Yankees made to the expanded roster Tuesday. Bailey hasn't pitched in the majors since seriously injuring his shoulder while pitching for Boston in 2013.
Red Sox: LF Hanley Ramirez missed his fifth straight game with a sore right shoulder. Luvollo said he hopes Ramirez will return before the end of the season, but he won't be playing in the outfield again. Ramirez struggled defensively through much of the season during Boston's attempt to convert him to an outfielder.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (10-6) makes his 20th start of the season. Tanaka is 11-5 in 18 career starts on the road and 1-1 in Boston.
Red Sox: Rookie LHP Henry Owens (2-1) makes his first start at home since going eight innings in a win over Kansas City on Aug. 21, holding the Royals to two runs and four hits. Owens got a no-decision last week against the New York Mets.