NEW YORK (AP) — Matt Holliday made a smashing return to the Yankees’ lineup, hitting a three-run homer that led Masahiro Tanaka and New York over the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox 5-1 Saturday.
The Yankees, already holding the top spot in the wild-card race, pulled within 4 1/2 games of Boston. The rivals close their season series Sunday night.
Holliday hadn’t played in the majors since going on the disabled list almost a month ago with a back injury. He was activated Friday but sat out a 4-1 loss.
Holliday was greeted with “Welcome Back” by the public address announcer when the lineups were introduced, drawing a rippling of applause. Later, he revved up the sellout crowd of 46,536 on a holiday weekend.
It was 1-all in the sixth inning when Holliday launched a drive to left off Drew Pomeranz (14-5) estimated at 443 feet. Holliday pointed toward the Yankees dugout on his way toward first base after his 17th home run — his previous homer was July 16, a tying shot in the ninth off Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel at Fenway Park.
Chase Headley also homered as the Yankees ended Pomeranz’s career-best eight-game winning streak.
Tanaka (11-10) gave up five hits and one run, which scored on his wild pitch. He left after a leadoff single in the eighth, and tipped his cap as he walked off to a standing ovation.
Tanaka improved to 2-2 against the Red Sox this year, including a three-hit shutout at Fenway in late April.
Jacoby Ellsbury tripled and scored on a single by Gary Sanchez in the Yankees seventh. Ellsbury entered after outfielder Aaron Hicks exited with tightness in his left oblique.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia didn’t play, a day after he went seven innings in his first game off the disabled list. Manager John Farrell said Pedroia’s knee showed no ill effects. Pedroia is expected to play Sunday night. Tzu-Wei Lin was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket and got to Yankee Stadium about a half-hour before gametime. He started at second, making a nice diving stop on Brett Gardner’s leadoff grounder and a good grab on Aaron Hicks’ hard one-hopper with the bases loaded in the second. … CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (sprained left thumb) was activated from the DL and went 1 for 3. … Slumping SS Xander Bogaerts didn’t start for the second straight day. “Another day to settle in,” Farrell said. … LHP David Price (elbow inflammation) is set for another bullpen session Monday.
Yankees: 2B Starlin Castro lost a front tooth overnight and spent the morning at the dentist’s office as part of a root canal. “I’m assuming he bit into something and it came out,” manager Joe Girardi said. Ronald Torreyes started instead, on his 25th birthday.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (15-6, 2.77) is 0-2 in four starts vs. the Yankees this season despite a 2.12 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings.
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (11-6, 3.14) faces Boston for the fourth time this season. After two sharp starts, he was tagged for a career-worst 10 runs by the Red Sox on Aug. 12.
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