NEW YORK (AP) — The Boston Red Sox powered up, both at the plate and on the mound.
Mitch Moreland and Hanley Ramirez hit back-to-back home runs and Andrew Benintendi later connected off struggling Masahiro Tanaka, boosting Boston over the New York Yankees 5-4 on Tuesday night.
Overpowering closer Craig Kimbrel finished it, striking out five in 1 1/3 innings. Yep, that math adds up — one batter reached on a wild pitch.
“Good to see the offense start to impact the baseball with a little bit more regularity,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Boston began the day next-to-last in the majors with just 53 homers, but Farrell said before the game he thought his team would soon pick up the power pace.
Playing at the new Yankee Stadium for the first time without now-retired slugger David Ortiz on the roster, the Red Sox launched a trio of long balls and moved within a game of AL East-leading New York.
“I guess it depends on where we play, too. You know obviously this is a short porch here,” Benintendi said. “It’s going to come. The homers will come.”
Kimbrel posted his 17th save in 18 chances. He fanned one batter on a wild pitch, and struck out big-hitting rookie Aaron Judge on a 99 mph fastball to finish it.
Earlier, reliever Joe Kelly threw four pitches over 100 mph to Judge before striking out the big league home run leader with a hard slider.
“Power against power. Fortunately for us, Joe won that battle, and Craig,” outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. said.
Judge, who also doubled and singled, won his matchup with Bradley. The 6-foot-7 right fielder made an outstanding catch, banging his head and shoulder into the wall to rob Bradley of extra bases and prompting chants from the crowd.
The Red Sox made their first visit of the season to Yankee Stadium, and the game between the longtime rivals had the feel of October, mostly because of the raw weather — low 50s, windy and damp.
Boston has won three in a row and 11 of 15
A lefty-swinging cleanup hitter, same as Big Papi, got it going when Moreland delivered with a long two-run drive to right-center field in the fourth inning. Ramirez followed with a liner to left for a 4-1 lead.
Benintendi padded the edge with a second-deck shot in the fifth.
Tanaka (5-6) lost his career-worst fifth straight start, a string that began immediately after he won five starts in a row, including a three-hit shutout at Fenway Park in late April.
Tanaka has been tagged for 27 runs and 11 homers in 22 2/3 innings during his skid.
“It’s something we’re trying to figure out,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Again, it’s the same issues.”
“It’s the inconsistency in the pitches. The home runs are a result of that,” he added.
Drew Pomeranz (6-3) labored through a career-high 123 pitches in five innings to win his third start in a row.
Kimbrel took over with a runner on third and two outs in the eighth, and struck out Didi Gregorius — but the ball bounced for a wild pitch and catcher Christian Vazquez slipped trying to corral it, allowing a run to score and Gregorius to reach.
Kimbrel then walked Chase Headley before striking out Chris Carter.
Carter hit a solo home run in the fifth.
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