Their first trip of the season to Fenway Park was significantly tougher than expected but the Yankees rallied from four runs down. Now they seek their season-high 10th straight win Saturday night when they continue a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox.
New York has won nine straight games for the third straight season and is seeking its first 10-game winning streak since June 8-18, 2012.
New York outscored opponents 71-20 during the first eight games, highlighted by becoming the first team to hit at least six homers in three straight games over Toronto before heading to Boston. The Yankees then played the toughest game of their run by pulling out a 6-5 victory Friday on DJ LeMahieu's RBI double in the 12th inning.
LeMahieu's latest hit gave him an 11-game hitting streak and a .367 batting average after he was hitless in his first four at-bats. He leads Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson by two points in the American League batting race.
"It was definitely a grind," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after his team completed the four-hour, 55-minute marathon. "We didn't play great but I give our guys a lot of credit for continuing to compete and really being energized in the second half of the game and just continuing to grind away, find a way back in it and coming up with a lot of big plays."
Gary Sanchez drove in three runs and hit the game-tying homer while Giancarlo Stanton hit an RBI double and Luke Voit hit an RBI single in the 11th.
"We're playing like we should be playing," LeMahieu said. "The competitiveness, everyone clicking on all cylinders. We knew what we were capable of and we're definitely playing that way right now."
LeMahieu's clutch hit also moved the Yankees (30-21) percentage points ahead of the Minnesota Twins for fourth place in the AL and the right to host every game in a first-round series. The Yankees also own a magic number of two to secure a playoff berth.
New York also owns an 11-game winning streak over the Red Sox and a win on Saturday would match its longest winning streak in the rivalry. The Yankees have won 12 straight over Boston three times and last did it from Aug. 16, 1952-April 23, 1953.
The Red Sox are also 1-16 in the past 17 meetings with the Yankees since July 28, 2019. On Friday, Boston went 3-for-22 with runners in scoring position, stranded 15 runners and matched a season-high by striking out 15 times.
"Streaks and stuff, they don't matter to me," Boston manager Ron Roenicke said. "We played a really good ballgame and had a chance to win."
Christian Arroyo drove in four runs and Christian Vazquez had three hits but J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers, and Michael Chavis were a combined 0-for-17 with eight strikeouts.
The Yankees used six relievers Friday and are hoping lefty J.A. Happ (1-2, 3.96 ERA) can continue his string of strong performances of late.
Happ has a 2.45 ERA over his last five starts and allowed one run in five innings in a no-decision against the Baltimore Orioles Sunday.
The veteran left-hander is 12-4 with a 2.95 ERA in 26 appearances (25 starts) against the Red Sox. He beat the Red Sox Aug. 16 when he allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings.
Chris Mazza (1-1, 5.57 ERA), who has allowed 10 runs in 14 1/3 innings over his first four starts, will start for Boston. Mazza's last start was Sept. 8 in Philadelphia when he allowed two runs in five innings for his first win.
The right-hander made two appearances against the Yankees last month. In his lone start, he opposed Happ and allowed four runs on eight hits in three innings.
--Field Level Media