BOSTON — — Michael Wacha and the last-place Red Sox fell short of the AL East-leading New York Yankees.
Making his first appearance in nearly seven weeks, Wacha returned from a shoulder injury to limit New York to a pair of singles in seven innings as Boston beat the Yankees 3-0 on Sunday night.
It all lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes, the shortest game between the two teams since 1994.
“I think I work better that way,” said Wacha, who pitched a perfect game in the fifth inning. “That’s the mentality I’ve come up against: Get back in the dugout as soon as you can and let guys keep throwing their guy.”
Rafael Devers homered and Tommy Pham had three hits for the Red Sox, who took two of three in New York — their first multigame series win against a division opponent in 13 tries.
Boston is officially credited with winning the “streak” when it beats the Orioles in a one-game visit on Thursday. But manager Alex Cora was hesitant to count it.
“We finally won the East,” he said with a smile. – Or it’s two in a row. Sorry.”
New York has lost nine of its last 11 games but still has a double-digit lead in the division; The Red Sox are seventh in the race for three spots in the AL.
Activated from the injured list earlier in the day and pitching for the first time since June 28, Wacha (7-1) allowed one walk and struck out nine — including major league home run leader Aaron Judge twice.
Ryan Brassier pitched a perfect eighth and Garrett Whitlock pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save, striking out Judge to end the nine-pitch inning, then getting Josh Donaldson on a slow throw that second base Christian Arroyo took the throw to first with his bare hands and completed it.
Jameson Tailon (11-3) allowed three runs on six hits, striking out four to take his first loss since July 5.
The Red Sox and Yankees on national television often last more than four hours. But on August 3, 2018, the teams finished in 2:15; they haven’t played a shorter game since the 2:13 game in 1994.
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Judge went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, snapping a 14-game hitting streak. He had at least two starts in each of the previous four games.
“He’s having a great season this year and he’s one of the best in the league,” Wacha said. “I try to keep guys off base in front of him and make quality pitches to those guys.”
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Asked about the offense, Cora said: “Tommy did a good job.”
A trade deadline acquisition, Pham doubled and scored Boston’s first run to lead off the bottom of the first. He has 14 hits in 23 at-bats over the past five games, including one out in the 10th against the Yankees on Friday.
Devers hit his 25th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the sixth, just his second since Aug. 2. This is his third career 25-homer season, tied with Ted Williams, Tony Conigliaro, Jim Rice and Nomar Garciaparra. for most in Red Sox history under his age 25.
But Devers did too big stop at third base in the fifth, when the Yankees had two of their three baserunners in the game for their only real rally.
With runners on first, second and two outs, Kyle Higashioka hit a hard line drive down the third base line that Devers backhanded and threw to first for the out.
“People don’t often talk about that,” Cora said. – (Yankees manager Aaron Boone) always says he plays like Brooks Robinson against the Yankees. When he hears people say he’s having a hard time (defending), he says, ‘Not against us.’
Yankees: OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton (Achilles tendon) will take batting practice Monday at Yankee Stadium. If all goes well, he will begin rehab in the minor leagues.
Red Sox: Quique Hernandez (hip) and Rob Refsnyder (knee) are expected to be activated for Tuesday’s series opener in Pittsburgh.
Yankees: Gerrit Cole (9-4) starts against Tampa Bay.
Red Sox: After an off day on Monday, the Red Sox open a three-game series against the Pirates. Nick Pivetta is expected to make his debut.