DJ LeMahieu homered twice off an enraged Chris Sale, who screamed and pointed at the plate umpire when he was removed during a seven-run fourth inning, and the New York Yankees beat the Red Sox 9-2 on Saturday in a doubleheader opener that extended Boston’s longest losing streak since 2015 to six games.
Sale was angry with Mike Esterbrook’s strike zone throughout his brief outing and tied his career high by allowing eight earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. Sale was ejected soon after Red Sox manager Alex Cora and fell to 0-4 with a 9.90 ERA against the Yankees this season.
After winning the first three games of a four-game series against the Yankees at Fenway Park last weekend, Boston fell 12½ games behind the AL East-leading Yankees and 4½ games back of second-place Tampa Bay. The Red Sox have 53 defeats, one shy of their total en route to a World Series title last year, and dropped to 4-9 against New York this season.
Domingo Germán (14-2) allowed five hits in seven innings, including homers to Andrew Benintendi in the second and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fifth. He improved to 8-0 against the AL East this year and became the first Yankees pitcher to last seven innings since CC Sabathia on July 6.
New York is 41-18 at Yankee Stadium and clinched its 28th winning home record, second among big league teams to a 47-year streak for the Yankees from 1918-64.
LeMahieu homered on Sale’s fifth pitch and hit a three-run homer for a 7-1 lead. Sale (5-11) appeared to have lost his composure. He was 29-12 with a 2.56 ERA for the Red Sox when he signed a $160 million, six-year contract in March but has a 4.68 ERA since.
After J.D. Martinez took a called third strike on a full-count pitch ending the top of the first — barking at Esterbrook — LeMahieu homered leading off the bottom half.
Sale got increasingly agitated during the fourth, then the Yankees took a 2-1 lead on four singles, the last by No. 8 hitter Breyvic Valera.
Cora, not pitching coach Dana LeVangie, went to the mound, talked to Sale and then cursed at Esterbrook. Immediately tossed, Cora pointed nearly two dozen times at various Yankees runners and the plate, accusing Easterbook between profanities of missing at least five strike calls.
Left-handed-hitting Brett Gardner fell behind 0-2 against the 30-year-old left-hander, worked the count even and hit a two-run single up the middle. The Yankees nearly got another run on center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.’s overthrow because Sale forgot to back up the plate. Four pitches later, LeMahieu lined a changeup in the first row of the right-field seats for his career-best 17th home run and third multihomer game.
Aaron Judge followed with a double, and when bench coach Ron Roenicke went to the mound to change pitchers, Sale shouted at Esterbrook from a distance.
Edwin Encarnación added a pair of RBI singles for the Yankees, then was hit on the right wrist by Josh Smith in the eighth.
BEEN A LONG TIME
Boston is on its longest skid since losing seven in a row from July 12-23, 2015.
Bob Costas made his YES Network debut, filling in as Michael Kay recovers from vocal cord surgery and regular replacement Ryan Ruocco attended a family commitment.
Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-1) was activated from the IL to start the second game, likely against RHP Chad Green (2-3). Johnson had not pitched since June 22 because of an unspecified non-baseball-related medical matter.
Yankees: CC Sabathia (right knee) had a platelet-rich plasma injection and anticipates playing catch next week … SS Didi Gregorius has not played since rolling over his left wrist fielding a ball Wednesday.
Daddy’s back: Boston LHP David Price (7-5) and Yankees LHP J.A. Happ (8-6) both return from paternity leave to start the series finale.
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