The New York Yankees not only took back first place in the AL East Division on Friday night, but they also took back the best record in the majors, and they did it with ease. C.C. Sabathia allowed just a run over seven innings, as the Yankees cruised past the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, 8-1. Sabathia struck out five in his fifth win, as New York used four home runs to support their veteran left-hander. Greg Bird had two of those home runs, while Miguel Andujar and Aaron Judge each left the park, as the Yankees began to pull away with a four-run fourth inning. Friday marked the first time since 1978 that the Red Sox and Yankees met this late in the season with the top two records in baseball. Sabathia kept the number of the Red Sox, who had their four-game win streak snapped, as the lefty improved to 6-0 in his last seven starts against Boston. Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts hit consecutive doubles in the fifth for the Red Sox's only run of the night. Steve Pearce had a single and a double in his Red Sox debut, after being acquired from Toronto earlier in the week. These two teams have two more night games this weekend in the Bronx.
Nationals Smack Seven Home Runs in Road Rout
The Washington Nationals broke out of their recent slump in a big way on Friday night in Philadelphia. The Nationals hit seven home runs in a 17-7 rout of the Philadelphia Phillies. Juan Soto had two of those long balls, as Washington set a season high for home runs in a game. Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Brian Goodwin, Bryce Harper, and Mark Reynolds all pitched in with home runs, helping Washington snap out of a three-game losing streak. The Nats were getting outscored, 16-3, in that span, but put all of that behind them on Friday night. Rendon added two doubles and three RBI, while Harper had three hits and three RBI and also became the first NL player to reach 20 home runs. Both teams had the offense working, as they combined for 28 hits, including 16 extra-base hits in the division showdown. Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, and Carlos Santana all went deep for Philly, with Kingery falling a triple shy of the cycle. Erick Fredde earned his first major league win in his eighth start, despite allowing five runs on eight hits in five innings. Nick Pivetta struggled for the Phillies with seven runs on seven hits against him in just 1.2 innings. He falls to 0-3 with an 11.94 ERA in five career starts against the Nats, and 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in six June starts.
Rays End Astros' Road Win Streak
The Houston Astros finally dropped a game away from Minute Maid Park, and the recently hot Tampa Bay Rays made it happen on Friday night. Wilmer Font pitched five innings and earned the win, as the Rays edged the Astros, 3-2, at Tropicana Field. Font combined with four relief pitchers to allow just four hits, ending the road win streak at 11 for the Astros, which tied a franchise record. Font was forced to leave in the sixth inning due to a strained right lat, so Diego Castillo, Chaz Roe, Sergio Romo, and Jose Alvarado finished things off, with Alvarado getting his second save. Tampa Bay's recent tough schedule has not haunted them of late, as they improved to 8-6 in 14 games against the Nationals, Yankees, and now Astros. They were able to hand Gerrit Cole his second loss of the season, as he allowed three runs on five hits in six innings. The loss for him snapped a personal six-game winning streak, as Cole dropped to 9-2 on the year. The Rays snapped a drought of 19 innings without a run by scoring three times in the fourth, two of which came on an error. Adeiny Hechavarria had the lone RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly. The Rays are now within a game of .500, as they handed the Astros just their 12th loss in 42 road games this season.