James Paxton struck out 12 and pitched eight dominant innings of two-hit ball to outpitch Chris Sale, and the New York Yankees rolled to an 8-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.
Paxton (2-2) delivered his best showing as a Yankee by thriving in the first meeting between the rivals since the Red Sox won Games 3 and 4 of the ALDS last October.
The left-hander allowed only doubles to Xander Bogaerts in the fourth and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the eighth.
He allowed four baserunners while producing the longest start by a Yankee this season.
Paxton recorded his 12th career double-digit strikeout game and struck out six straight hitters from the final out of the sixth until Bradley doubled with two outs in the eighth.
After Bradley doubled, Paxton retired Mookie Betts on a fly ball to right.
Paxton reached only two three-ball counts all night — both to Betts. He also produced 20 swings and misses and his 110 pitches were eight shy of his career set Aug. 26, 2014, against Texas.
Clint Frazier, Mike Tauchman and Gleyber Torres homered for the Yankees, who scored their most runs in a home game this season.
Frazier hit a solo homer off Sale (0-4) to start the fourth after the Yankees built a 2-0 lead on RBI singles by DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit in the third.
Tauchman had an RBI double off Sale in the fourth and then slugged a three-run homer off Erasmo Ramirez in the sixth. After Tauchman’s first career homer, Torres made it 8-0 by opening the seventh with his fourth homer of the season.
The Yankees won hours after Greg Bird became the 12th player to land on the injured list with a left plantar fascia tear.
Sale dropped to 0-4 for the second time in his career, allowing four runs on seven hits in five innings.
The Red Sox finished with three hits. They lost for the ninth time in their first 12 road games and their 6-12 record is their worst 18-game start since opening 1996 at 3-15.
Swihart out; Leon in
Blake Swihart was designated for assignment on Tuesday and Sandy Leon was summoned from Triple-A Pawtucket, seemingly a surprising final resolution to a crowded catching situation that lingered throughout the 2018 season.
Leon joined Boston prior to the opener of its two-game set at Yankee Stadium and started at catcher with Sale on the mound.
Right-handed pitcher Erasmo Ramirez was also selected from the PawSox and will give some aid to a bullpen that’s running on fumes.
Red Sox starters have managed just 79 innings and only one of them — David Price, at 3.79 — has an earned-run average below 7.95.
Swihart remained on the 25-man roster last season despite having no clear role behind Leon and fellow catcher Christian Vazquez. He made the club out of spring training this season and recorded all six of his starts behind the plate, including in Monday’s 8-1 loss to the Orioles. Swihart’s .231/.310/.385 slash line included a double and a home run in 29 plate appearances.
Leon was a favorite of the pitching staff last season, with Boston posting a 28-3 record during one particularly blistering stretch in games he started. His offensive woes prompted the Red Sox to phase him out of the picture, as Leon slashed just .106/.170/.169 over his final 49 games. He started just four of 14 postseason contests, as Vazquez took over the primary catching duties.
Swihart’s time with the organization feels like eight years of missed opportunity. The Red Sox selected him out of New Mexico’s Cleveland High School in the first round of the 2011 draft and agreed to a signing bonus of $1.6 million. An ankle injury limited him to just 25 games combined in 2016 and 2017, and Swihart never earned the consistent at-bats required to replicate a promising 84-game stretch in 2015 when he slashed .274/.319/.392.
With reports from the Providence (R.I.) Journal