BOSTON — Jackie Bradley Jr. knows all about the Fenway Park triangle, and how long it can take to get the ball back to the infield from the 420-foot marker.
So when the Red Sox centre fielder saw, as he pulled into second, that his Yankees counterpart had just picked up the ball, Bradley sped off for third. The two-run triple was all Boston needed, but Bradley added an RBI single in the sixth to help the Red Sox beat the Yankees 5-1 on Sunday and extend their margin in the AL East to five games.
"Jackie's been phenomenal, swinging the bat today, and doing what he did with 3 RBIs," said Boston starter Rick Porcello, who pitched six innings of a combined three-hitter. "He's the best I've seen in centre field. Very fortunate to have him behind me when I'm pitching."
The Red Sox won for the 14th time in 17 games, taking two out of three from New York for the second weekend in a row. The archrivals meet again in the first week of September for a four-game series at Yankee Stadium.
"It's not what you want," New York manager Joe Girardi. Obviously, we need to continue to play well so when they come to our place it means something. We probably had a chance to win four of the six and we end up winning two of the six — and that's frustrating."
Porcello (8-14) allowed all three New York hits, striking out four and walking three to win his fourth straight start. Three relievers provided a perfect inning apiece.
Porcello has allowed two runs or fewer in all six career starts against the Yankees in Fenway Park. That's the longest such stretch for a Red Sox pitcher since at least 1913, the ballclub said.
Sonny Gray (7-8) allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings. He lost for the fourth time in five starts to fall to 1-6 in nine road starts this season.
Brett Gardner homered near the Pesky Pole for the Yankees, who had won five of their last six.
Xander Bogaerts reached with one out in the second on a flare to right, then Mitch Moreland was retired on a diving catch by centre fielder Aaron Hicks. After Sandy Leon singled to left, Bradley lined one to the triangle in centre, scoring two and standing up into third.
Bradley, the No. 9 hitter, drove in another run in the sixth. The bottom of the Red Sox order added two insurance runs in the eighth when Bogaerts walked, Moreland doubled and Leon drove them both in with a double down the right-field line.
Caleb Smith walked Bradley and gave up a single to Brock Holt to load the bases before striking out Mookie Betts, getting Andrew Benintendi on a popup too shallow to score a runner and Hanley Ramirez on a comebacker.
Grey failed to fan a batter in an outing for the first time in his career. Aaron Judge struck out to end the eighth, extending his record of games with a strikeout to 37 in a row.
Girardi said he's still got faith in the presumptive AL Rookie of the Year, adding: "It's not like we have a lot of people that are hitting very well."
Said Judge: "It's a little frustrating, but there's nothing you can do about it. You can't pout. You can't cry. You just have to keep working and move on."
Former closer Aroldis Chapman made his first appearance since being demoted on Saturday and replaced by Dellin Betances. Chapman got the last out in the sixth and completed the seventh, allowing one walk while striking out two.
"I just prepared myself a little earlier than I usually do," he said through a translator.
The Red Sox honoured former second baseman Jerry Remy before the game for 30 years in broadcasting. Remy was diagnosed with cancer for the fifth time and begins chemotherapy this week.
"It's a tough opponent. It's a sneaky opponent. It slides in and goes wherever it wants to go," he said. "But I've got people treating it, and I am fully confident that I will be back in that booth on opening day when the Red Sox lift that pennant for another year."
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka threw on the field, mostly long toss, but also pitched on flat ground. Out since Aug. 10 with inflammation in his right shoulder, he's scheduled to come off the DL on Tuesday in Detroit.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia will not make the trip to Cleveland with the team, instead remaining in Boston to work on "baseball activities," manager John Farrell said.
Yankees: After an off-day on Monday, begin a three-game series in Detroit. Tanaka (8-10) will face Matthew Boyd (5-6).
Red Sox: Open a four-game series in Cleveland, with Eduardo Rodriguez (4-3) scheduled to face Mike Clevinger (6-5).