DJ LeMahieu homered twice as the New York Yankees battered Chris Sale again and cruised to a 9-2 victory over the visiting Boston Red Sox on Saturday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.
LeMahieu hit his fourth career leadoff homer and then hit a three-run homer that gave the Yankees a 7-1 lead with two outs in the fourth. LeMahieu hit Sale’s 2-1 changeup into the right-field seats after the Yankees took a 4-1 lead on an RBI single by Breyvic Valera and a two-run base hit by Brett Gardner.
It was LeMahieu’s third career multi-homer game and gave him a career-high 17 for the season. He also had three hits and his big game helped the Yankees move a season-high 12½ games ahead of third-place Boston in the American League East.
The Yankees beat Sale (5-11) for the fourth time this season and have scored 22 earned runs in 20 innings while hitting six homers off the left-hander.
After LeMahieu’s homer, Sale was lifted after allowing a ground-rule double to Aaron Judge. Judge later scored New York’s eighth run on a base hit by Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion also added an RBI single in the sixth off Josh Smith and stayed in the game after getting plunked on the right wrist in the eighth.
Sale was visibly upset with plate umpire Mike Estabrook throughout his second-shortest start of the season He was ejected as he walked off the mound and profanely barked at Estabrook.
Boston manager Alex Cora was ejected earlier in the inning as the Red Sox dropped their season-high sixth straight game. It is their longest slide since losing eight straight in July 2015.
Cora made a mound visit before Gardner’s at-bat and as Estabrook walked to the mound to break it up, he turned around, began arguing and was immediately ejected.
Sale tied a career worst by allowing eight earned runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four, walked none and saw his ERA climb to 9.90 against the Yankees this season. It was the fifth time he allowed eight earned runs and the first since July 8, 2016, against Atlanta.
Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. homered for the Red Sox, whose 53 losses are one shy of their total from last season.
New York’s Domingo German (14-2) won his fifth straight decision, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked none and became the first Yankees starter to complete seven innings since CC Sabathia on July 6 against Tampa Bay.