BOSTON (AP) — Trevor Story hit a three-run homer, Tanner Houck pitched six effective innings and Boston climbed out of the AL East basement with a 5-0 victory over the New York Yankees on Thursday in the opener of a doubleheader after the Red Sox fired Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom.
Bloom was dismissed after nearly four seasons. He was hired from the Tampa Bay Rays to help revive the farm system and bring financial stability to a team that was one of baseball’s biggest spenders.
“It’s not easy,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of the move. “I’ve been through this twice already. Obviously, it’s a decision that ownership decided to go this route. We worked together all these years. It’s never easy to hear that.”
Rookie Ceddanne Rafaela added a solo shot and Wilyer Abreu had a first-inning RBI single for Boston, which has won nine of the 12 meetings between the longtime rivals this season.
Coming off a doubleheader sweep on Tuesday that moved New York into a tie with Boston for last place, the Yankees were shut out for the ninth time this season.
Gleyber Torres had two doubles for the Yankees.
The game was a makeup of Wednesday night’s rainout.
Houck (5-9) allowed four hits, struck out seven and walked three. Garrett Whitlock retired all six batters he faced, and Chris Martin finished a six-hitter.
“I definitely thought he was going to take me out,” Houck said of Cora’s visit before he got out of a sixth-inning mess. “I wanted to be out there. I’ve been working day in and day out, trying to get better and trying to push myself to get through the sixth inning.”
New York right-hander Michael King (4-6) gave up a run and six hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked one.
“It’s nice being back on that routine,” King said of being back in the starting rotation for his fifth start. “I think that’s the main part of my body recovery that I feel liked I missed (coming) out of the bullpen.”
Story hit his homer into the center-field batters’ eye off Matt Bowman in the eighth. Rafaela hooked his second career homer around the Pesky Pole in the seventh against Greg Weissert, just past the leap of right fielder Oswaldo Peraza.
Houck escaped a first-and-third, one-out jam in the sixth with a little help from plate umpire Todd Tichenor.
“Today was a big day for Tanner,” Cora said. “He needed six innings.”
With the infield in during the sixth, Jake Bauers hit a slow roller to first baseman Triston Casas, who fired home. The ball bounced up and slightly past catcher Conner Wong but hit Tichenor. Wong grabbed it and got Torres out in a rundown. Houck then retired Peraza on a comebacker.
“We had a couple of chances there,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I thought Houck threw the ball well, but we should have punched a couple through, no doubt about it.”
NEW PITCH LIMIT
Houck threw a career-high 105 pitches, 63 for strikes.
Weissert spun around on Casas’ hard-hit grounder to the mound, and the ball caromed off his left foot and over to first baseman Bauers for an out.
Yankees: Boone said top prospect Jasson Domínguez will undergo Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow next Wednesday. Boone said the recovery time for a position player is nine to 10 months.
Red Sox: Right-handers Zack Kelly (right elbow inflammation) and Corey Kluber (right shoulder inflammation) are both on rehab assignments. Cora didn’t know what they’d be doing next.
RHP Clarke Schmidt (9-8, 4.54 ERA) was set to go for the Yankees in the nightcap. RHP Nick Robertson (0-1, 6.06 ERA) starts for the Red Sox.