New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Sunday, July 17, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)
NEW YORK — Gerrit Cole hardly believes he’s solved pitching to Rafael Devers. At least he doesn’t have to worry about quieting teammate Matt Carpenter’s bat.
The rest of the Yankees are satisfied with concluding a memorable first half with two decisive wins over their longtime rival following their worst slump of the season.
Cole brushed back Devers and struck out 12, Carpenter drove in three more runs and the Yankees pounded the Red Sox 13-2 Sunday after Boston ace Chris Sale broke his left pinkie finger in the first inning.
“I don’t think I figured him out,” Cole said of Devers, who has been a thorn in the ace’s side. “I think I just executed the pitches that I wanted to execute today, and I think we sequenced better than we did last time.”
The Yankees reached double-digit runs for the 16th time — no other team has more than 10 such games — and cruised into the All-Star break with a major league-best record of 64-28. Their 64 wins matched the 2018 Astros for third-most prior to the break since the All-Star Game began in 1933.
New York outscored Boston 27-3 in the final two games of the series after losing five of six games, a stretch that included three extra-inning defeats.
“Great job by them,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Been a little bit of a rough week obviously. To answer last night and today with two pretty emphatic victories, you want to roll into the break feeling good.”
Cole (9-2) dusted Devers off the plate with a low, 99 mph fastball on his first pitch to the third baseman after allowing two homers to him July 7 in Boston. Devers glared at Cole from the dirt, then struck out swinging at a high fastball.
Cole allowed two runs and three hits over seven innings for his fourth straight win. He also got his 13th career game of double-digit strikeouts and no walks, two behind Randy Johnson for the most ever.
Aaron Judge singled twice and finished the first half with a major league-leading 33 homers, tied with Roger Maris for the franchise record before the break. Judge reached 33 homers in 89 games while Maris hit 33 in his first 83 games in 1961 on his way to breaking Babe Ruth’s single-season record.
Judge, Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu were hit by pitches after Cole knocked down Devers. LeMahieu was in considerable pain after being hit in the left elbow during the eighth inning and left the game, but Boone said there wasn’t an injury concern and no intent by Boston’s pitchers.
Carpenter had an RBI groundout in a three-run first inning and added a two-run double in an eight-run fourth. Carpenter drove in 10 runs over the final two games of the first half and has 34 RBIs in 31 games since joining the Yankees on May 26.
“It’s great when it’s on your team, I’ll tell you that,” Cole said of Carpenter, who was 14 for 38 with four homers when the two faced each other frequently for Pittsburgh and St. Louis. “I’ve been watching that for a long time, the first half of my career, and I’ve been on the wrong side of that quite a bit.”
Tim Locastro hit a two-run homer off Jake Diekman in the fourth. On the one-year anniversary of suffering a torn ACL in his right knee crashing into a wall in foul territory against Boston, Locastro went 3 for 5 and stole two bases.
It was Locastro’s third career three-hit game and it earned the speedy outfielder the team’s postgame wrestling championship belt for the first time.
“It took me a year to get that,” Locastro said.
LeMahieu and Judge started New York’s big inning with RBI singles and then scored on Carpenter’s double.
Aaron Hicks hit a pair of RBI singles, including the hit that fractured Sale’s left pinkie. Sale yelled in pain and exited after attempting to field Hicks’ 106.7 mph liner.
“Soon as I hit the ground, I looked down, the finger is gone,” Sale said. “It sucks.”
Joey Gallo tacked on a two-run homer after entering as defensive replacement in the seventh.
Sale (0-1) was making his second start since returning from a fractured right rib that he sustained working out on his own during the major league lockout.
Devers went 0 for 3 after homering on the first pitch he saw in the previous two games.
Rookie Jeter Downs hit a two-run homer off Cole in the third and also singled. The homer was his first in the majors.
The Red Sox concluded an inconsistent first half with their sixth loss in seven games and finished the first half on a 6-14 slide, dropping 16 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East. Before slumping since June 27, Boston won 19 of 23 games.
Sale allowed three runs and two hits in 2/3 of an inning. After Sale exited, the Red Sox used every reliever except Austin Davis.
Red Sox: LHP Rich Hill (left knee sprain) threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday.
Yankees: RHP Ron Marinaccio (right shoulder inflammation) struck out two and threw 23 pitches in his first rehab appearance for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (4-2, 3.34 ERA) is expected to start the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park against Toronto on Friday.
Yankees: Head to Houston for a day-night doubleheader Thursday made necessary because the lockout postponed their originally scheduled season-opening road trip.
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