BOSTON (AP) — David Ortiz still enjoys beating the New York Yankees.
In what he’s said will be his final season before he retires, Ortiz hit a tiebreaking two-run homer off Dellin Betances in the eighth inning, and the Red Sox rallied for a 4-2 win over the Yankees on Friday night in the first of 19 meetings between the longtime rivals.
“When you’re playing at home and the adrenaline’s flying all over the place when you’re playing against the Yankees, when something like this happens you enjoy it,” the 40-year-old slugger said.
Big Papi has certainly been in the middle of the rivalry for quite some time, starting back in 2003. Now, he’s looking forward to coming back and seeing what the Fenway Park crowd watched him do.
“Hey, like I said, those games between us and the Yankees, everybody’s on their toes,” he said. “It’s enjoyable. Next year I’m going to be coming as a fan and feeling the same way.”
Jackie Bradley Jr. had a two-run double for Boston, which won for the fifth time in six games.
Alex Rodriguez moved into 20th place on the all-time hits list with a solo homer for the Yankees, who lost for the 11th time in 15 games.
“If you told me 10 years ago that Big Papi and I would be hitting home runs at 40, I probably would’ve laughed,” Rodriguez said. “But winning the game is the most important thing.”
On a chilly night with a game-time temperature of 47 degrees, Big Papi sent a first-pitch curveball from Betances (0-2) into the first row of Green Monster seats.
Even his teammate Bradley Jr. is amazed that Ortiz still performs at a high level when the game’s on the line.
“When you see it so often, it becomes repetitive, of course,” he said. “It’s still great no matter how many times you see it.”
Koji Uehara (1-1) pitched a scoreless inning and Craig Kimbrel got the final three outs for his seventh save.
Ortiz was 0-for-7 against Betances with four strikeouts.
“I mean he’s been doing it for a long time,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Ortiz. “He’s been a great hitter for a long time. I still have a lot of faith in Dellin in that situation, but it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Yankees starters Masahiro Tanaka had pinpoint control early and held Boston scoreless into the seventh before Bradley Jr.’s two-out double tied it. The Japanese right-hander gave up two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Boston starter Henry Owens gave up two runs on six hits in six innings.
Facing a left-handed starter for the ninth time in 11 games, the Yankees made it 1-0 in the second when Rodriguez hit a fastball off a light stanchion above the Green Monster in deep left center. It was his 3,082nd hit, breaking a tie with Cap Anson.
The 40-year-old Rodriguez returned to the lineup in the team’s previous game and homered after missing two with tightness in his left oblique.
New York increased it to 2-0 on Brett Gardner’s two-out, RBI single in the fifth.
Yankees: Girardi said OF Aaron Hicks, who missed the last five games with left shoulder bursitis, was available to play, but he didn’t insert the right-handed hitter into the lineup against a left-handed starter “for strategic reasons.”
Red Sox: RHP Joe Kelly, on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder impingement, threw a 35-pitch bullpen session. Manager John Farrell said the plan was for him to have another bullpen Tuesday and then likely a rehab start.
Thirty-years ago Friday, Red Sox right-hander Rogers Clemens set a major league record with 20 strikeouts in a 3-1 win over Seattle in Fenway Park. It was the first of two strikeout games in his career. He also did it while still with Boston against the Tigers in Detroit on September 18, 1996.
Yankees suspended reliever Aroldis Chapman posted on Instagram that he’s officially a United States citizen.
His 30-day suspension under MLB’s domestic violence policy ends May 9.
After the game, the Red Sox optioned RHP Pat Light to Triple-A Pawtucket and recalled INF Marco Hernandez.
Yankees: RHP Michael Pineda (1-2, 6.95 ERA) looks to bounce back Saturday from a rough outing in his previous start when he gave up a career-high four homers to Tampa Bay.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (4-0, 3.51) is set to start. He pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings against Atlanta on Monday.
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