Sandy Leon drove in four runs Saturday as the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 5-2, at the Stadium for their sixth straight victory.
For the Yankees, it was another defeat straight from the it-is-what-it-is closet.
No starting pitching, no hitting, no chance.
The setback got the Yankees (44-46) off to a 0-2 start on this 10-game homestand that, after Sunday night’s game against the Red Sox (51-38), continues with four games against the AL East-leading Orioles and three against the Giants, who have the best record in the majors.
CC Sabathia, as of mid-June the club’s best starter, was subpar for a fifth straight outing and the offense was subpar for seemingly the 60th time this season. In fact, the Yankees have scored two or fewer runs 35 times in 90 games, going 4-31 in those games. In their two games since the season resumed after the All-Star break, they are 9-for-62 (.145).
Rather embarrassingly, they were shut down by lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez, who came in 1-3 with an 8.59 ERA in six starts this season.
On Saturday, he allowed one run and four hits in a season-high seven innings. The Yankees totaled five hits to the Red Sox’s nine.
Sabathia, meanwhile, had a 2.20 ERA after beating the Twins on June 16. In five starts since then, counting Saturday, he has allowed 27 runs (25 earned) and 39 hits in 28 1⁄3 innings.
He allowed five runs (four earned) and nine hits in 5 1⁄3 innings against the Red Sox, with the big blow Leon’s long three-run homer in the sixth that gave Boston a 5-1 lead.
Brett Gardner homered in the third to tie the score at 1-1 and Chase Headley homered off Matt Barnes in the eighth to make it 5-2.
As some rain began falling in the Bronx, the Red Sox took the lead with an unearned run in the third. Didi Gregorius committed a throwing error on Bryce Brentz’s grounder to short, and one out later, Mookie Betts stung a single to center and Dustin Pedroia walked on four pitches to load the bases. Xander Bogaerts grounded to short, and Gregorius started what initially was called a 6-4-3 double play. But the Red Sox challenged and Bogaerts was called safe at first, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. With runners at the corners, Sabathia got David Ortiz to fly to left for the third out.
The Yankees came right back in the bottom half when Gardner (two hits) slammed a 3-and-1 fastball over the right-centerfield wall into the Yankees’ bullpen. It was his sixth homer of the season and first since May 18.
Boston regained the lead in the fourth, helped by a pair of infield singles by Jackie Bradley Jr. with one out and Brentz with two outs. On a 1-and-2 pitch, Leon hit a soft grounder through the left side for an RBI single and a 2-1 lead. Betts walked to load the bases but Sabathia got Pedroia to ground to short to end a 30-pitch inning.
The Yankees put two on in the fourth and fifth innings but came up empty. Alex Rodriguez worked a one-out walk in the fourth and Brian McCann singled to right through the shift, but Mark Teixeira grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Gregorius led off the fifth with a double and a two-out walk to Gardner put runners at the corners, but Jacoby Ellsbury swung at the first pitch and popped to second.
Sabathia did not make it out of the sixth. Bradley led off with a single and Aaron Hill sent a dribbler to third. Headley charged, barehanded the ball and threw wildly to first, and the infield single/throwing error put runners at second and third with none out. Sabathia got Brentz to ground to third and Headley held Bradley before getting the out at first, but Leon ripped a 2-and-0 fastball deep into the seats in left-center for his second home run of the season and a 5-1 lead.