BOSTON — Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr. homered, Clay Buchholz tossed six innings of two-run ball and the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 7-4 Friday night at Fenway Park.
Ramirez’s homer was his 26th of the season and Bradley blasted his 25th, giving the Red Sox four players with 25 or more long balls in 2016 (also David Ortiz and Mookie Betts).
Ramirez drove in two runs total while David Ortiz, Travis Shaw and Sandy Leon each had an RBI for the Red Sox.
Buchholz (7-10) allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out a pair, bouncing back nicely from his six-run debacle in a loss to the Blue Jays in Toronto last Sunday.
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Craig Kimbrel converted a two-out save for his 26th of the year.
Boston (83-64) maintained its two-game lead atop the American League East after the second-place Baltimore Orioles’ win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
New York (77-70) fell six games back in the AL East. The Yankees are 3 1/2 games behind Toronto in the wild card race.
Yankees starter Luis Cessa (4-2) surrendered three runs on six hits and struck out one in five innings.
Billy Butler hit a two-run homer, his fifth of the campaign and first as a member of the Yankees, and Gary Sanchez had a two-run double to account for New York’s only runs.
With the bases loaded and nobody out in the sixth, Shaw had a sacrifice fly and Leon clubbed an RBI ground-rule double to extend the Red Sox’s lead to three.
Bradley added his homer, a solo shot to center, in the seventh before Betts grounded into a double play to produce a run.
Butler launched his homer over the Green Monster in left with one down in the ninth off reliever Fernando Abad, who proceeded to plunk Brett Gardner the next at-bat.
The Red Sox turned to Kimbrel, who struck out Jacoby Ellsbury and Sanchez to end the game.
Ortiz drove in the game’s first run on an RBI single to left-center field with one out in the first.
Two batters later, Ramirez — who played the hero Thursday night with a walk-off three-run homer against New York closer Dellin Betances — drove in another on his second homer in as many nights on his solo shot to straightaway center with one out in the fourth.
Buchholz was able to hold the Yankees without a run through four innings before Sanchez hit a towering two-run double off the Green Monster in left-center, making it a one-run game.
NOTES: Boston RHP Steven Wright (right shoulder strain) experienced “tremendous progress” in the past three days, according to manager John Farrell. “He’s not feeling anything right now,” Farrell said. … Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira returned after missing two games with a neck ailment and hit eighth. “It’s not something that I’ve done a lot of,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I kind of looked at the match up.” … Red Sox LF Andrew Benintendi will be back in the lineup Saturday after a day off. “Given the amount of time down, felt like we’re going to ease Andrew back into this,” Farrell said. Benintendi missed 17 games with a left knee sprain. … Boston’s first-round draft pick LHP Jason Groome was at Fenway Park and was scheduled to meet with Farrell on Friday. “Looking forward to hearing how his month or so of experience in pro ball has been,” Farrell said. … RHP Bryan Mitchell, who faces LHP David Price Saturday, had his ERA climb to 6.14 when RF Aaron Judge’s three-base error on Dodgers 2B Chase Utley’s fly ball was changed to a triple.
Orioles 5, Rays 4
BALTIMORE — The Orioles seemed dead-set on losing another game to the last-place Tampa Bay Rays — and losing more ground to the first-place Boston Red Sox — but the Rays would not allow it to happen.
The Orioles fell behind early for the second straight night and squandered a huge opportunity to overtake the Rays in the seventh inning. But Rays reliever Brad Boxberger gift-wrapped another bases-loaded situation in the eighth and the Orioles finally took advantage. They scored twice and held on for a 5-4 victory Friday before 30,094 that kept them within two games of first place in the American League East.
Boxberger handed no-out walks to Jonathan Schoop and Pedro Alvarez, then hit Matt Wieters with a pitch to fill the bases. This time, the team that couldn’t make contact in several big situations the night before was able to punch across the tying run on an RBI single by J.J. Hardy and go ahead on a sacrifice fly by Michael Bourn.
It took eight innings, but the Orioles rebounded from a second straight first-inning wake-up call from Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, whose three-run homer began the unraveling of Yovani Gallardo on Thursday night and whose two-run shot on Friday put Ubaldo Jimenez on the immediate defensive.
This was a series the Orioles (81-66) needed to win to position themselves for the upcoming four-game set against the first-place Boston Red Sox, but the momentum pendulum took a hard U-turn as soon as they got home.
They could not recover from Gallardo’s poor performance Thursday night and then got gut-punched from afar when the Red Sox scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the New York Yankees and knock the Orioles two games back in the American League East.
On Friday night, when they got that big chance to send that pendulum back in the other direction in the seventh inning, flashy Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier leaped over the center-field fence to pull a potential grand slam by Hyun Soo Kim back into the ballpark. The Orioles got one run instead of four and then Manny Machado and Chris Davis struck out to leave the bases loaded.
Closer Zach Britton did the rest, converting his 44th save in as many opportunities, but not before the streak survived some high drama. Steve Souza Jr. put the result in danger with a long fly ball to left that was caught be Bourn, and that wasn’t all. Mikie Mahtook hit a bouncer up the middle that caromed off the second base bag for a hit and Alexei Ramirez singled down the left-field line to bring Mahtook streaking around third for the potential tying run.
It would have extended the game and ended the save streak, but Bourn scooped it up and found Machado, who made a perfect relay to get Mahtook on a close play at the plate. The Rays challenged the play, keeping the crowd in suspense a little longer, but it stood and the Orioles evened the series at a game apiece.