James Paxton settled down after allowing another homer in the first inning and pitched six effective innings as the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 4-2 in the opener of a four-game series Friday night at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees won for the third time in four games since dropping the first three of last weekend's four-game set at Fenway Park. Boston dropped its season-high fifth straight game and it is the first time since an eight-game skid in July 2015 that the Red Sox have lost at least five in a row.
Paxton (6-6) allowed two runs and two hits and won for the first time since beating the Houston Astros on June 21. He struck out six, walked three and threw 100 pitches in his second win of the season over Boston.
A week after allowing three of his four homers to Mookie Betts in a 10-5 loss at Fenway Park, Paxton allowed his 11th first-inning homer when J.D. Martinez lined an 0-1 cutter into the left field seats to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.
After Martinez's 24th homer, Paxton settled in and resembled the pitcher who struck out 12 and pitched eight innings of two-hit ball against Boston on April 16.
Paxton also had a 4-2 lead when he took the mound for the second after the Yankees' Gleyber Torres hit his second career grand slam and second of the season.
New York's first three hitters reached base and with one out, Torres hammered a first-pitch fastball from Eduardo Rodriguez (13-5) into the left field seats for his 21st homer to make it 4-2.
Paxton retired eight straight before issuing a walk to Martinez and allowing a single to Andrew Benintendi in the third. He then retired eight of the final hitters he faced, earning an ovation from the sellout crowd after getting Benintendi on a warning track fly ball to right field.
Tommy Kahnle and Zack Britton pitched a scoreless inning apiece. Aroldis Chapman tossed a perfect ninth for his 28th save in 33 opportunities.
Rodriguez allowed four runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings as his personal seven-game winning streak ended with his first loss since June 9 against Tampa Bay. He struck out eight but issued a season-high six walks while throwing 113 pitches.
Rodriguez exited in the seventh after allowing a double to DJ LeMahieu to deep right, and the pitcher slammed his glove on the bench in frustration after being taken out.