Gardner drives in three runs, leads Yankees past Red Sox
Brett Gardner drove in three runs then watched the Yankees’ bullpen shut down another opponent.
Dellin Betances struck out the last four batters for his first save and New York beat the Boston Red Sox 4-2 on Saturday for its 12th win in 15 games.
"The bullpen this year is as good as I’ve ever seen," Gardner said. "If we can have a lead after five, six innings, you feel really, really good about your chances."
Gardner’s two-run single in the fifth gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead and starter Nathan Eovaldi (2-0) held it before leaving with two outs and a runner on first in the seventh. Chris Martin allowed a run-scoring double to Mookie Betts then got the third out. Justin Wilson fanned Pablo Sandoval in the eighth before Betances took over.
Neither of New York’s top two relievers has allowed an earned run this year, Betances in 13 outings and closer Andrew Miller, who got his ninth save in a 3-2 win over Boston on Friday night, in 11. They’ve combined for 46 strikeouts in 27 innings.
"They’re aggressive," manager Joe Girardi said of his relievers. "They know that they’re power arms and they have good stuff."
The Yankees have bounced back after a 3-6 start and lead the AL East. The Red Sox are 5-9 in their last 14 games.
One day after tying Willie Mays for fourth place with 660 career homers, Alex Rodriguez singled in four at-bats, a sharp hit to left field in the eighth after grounding out three times against Wade Miley (1-3).
Gardner doubled home a run in the third before his fifth-inning single. Chris Young hit his sixth homer of the year, a solo shot in the ninth.
Eovaldi allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings. He left after his only walk, to Blake Swihart. Betts then hit his RBI double.
Swihart got a hit in his first major league game. He was called up from Triple-A after catcher Ryan Hanigan broke a finger.
"We had a chance to work together in spring training," Miley said. "He knows what he’s doing."
Both starters pitched well after their worst outings of the season last Sunday.
"Wade delivered what we anticipated and will anticipate going forward," Boston manager John Farrell said.
Miley gave up a run in the third when Didi Gregorius singled, took second on a wild pitch and scored on the double by Gardner, who was thrown out trying to reach third.
The Red Sox tied it in the fourth on Dustin Pedroia’s fifth homer.
Chase Headley led off the Yankees fifth with a double and stayed at second when Gregorio Petit’s fly to center bounced in front of Betts. After a sacrifice by Gregorius and a groundout by Jacoby Ellsbury, Gardner singled.
Yankees: RHP Ivan Nova allowed an infield hit and struck out one in 1 1-3 innings at extended spring training in his first game since elbow ligament replacement surgery a year ago. "More than I was expecting," Nova said. "Everything was good. I’m happy." Nova, scheduled to throw two innings Thursday at extended spring, appears on target to be back in June.
Red Sox: Hanigan went on the 15-day disabled list with a broken right pinkie sustained Friday night. Swihart came up from Pawtucket and struck out in his first at-bat before singling in the fifth when he beat out a deep grounder to second baseman Petit.
Rodriguez, suspended all last season in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal, was praised by Gardner: "Ever since he came back he’s been all about working hard and trying to help the team win, and the way that he is able to help everybody around him and kind of rally everybody together I think is pretty special."
Pablo Sandoval went 2 for 4 and has reached base in each of his eight games against the Yankees. He is 12 for 17 against Eovaldi.
Yankees: Adam Warren (1-1, 4.35 ERA) pitches against Boston for the second time this season in Sunday night’s series finale. In his first outing, he allowed one earned run in 5 1/3 innings in an 8-4 loss April 11.
Red Sox: Joe Kelly (1-0, 4.94) faced Warren in that game and gave up one run and one hit in seven innings. He hasn’t gotten a decision in his last three starts and allowed five runs in each of his last two.