It's too bad baseball went away from the unbalanced schedules, because the Boston Red Sox could really use a bunch more games against the New York Yankees.

The Red Sox beat their AL East archrivals 4-1 on Sunday night, completing a doubleheader and series sweep that brought them just two games behind their longtime nemeses in the division. Boston won the series opener 15-5, and then took Sunday's day game 6-2 in a makeup of Saturday's rainout.

“We like playing them. They like playing against us,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “It’s fun playing against them. Regardless of where we are in the standings, it’s always fun. They have a good team; they’ll be there in the hunt. And we want to be where they were last year."

The Red Sox (37-35) improved to 5-1 against the Yankees (39-33) this season, with nine more games to play. In the unbalanced schedule that governed until this year, the division rivals played each other 19 times a season.

It’s the first time the Red Sox have swept the Yankees in a doubleheader since 2006, and the first time they did at Fenway Park since since 1976.

“Sweeping any team is pretty good,” said Red Sox center fielder Jarren Duran, who made a nice catch against the bullpen wall in the night game. “Three games in a row sweeping a really good team like the Yankees — they’re going really good — it’s always good momentum. And I can’t wait to see what we can do on this on this road trip.”

Alex Verdugo had an RBI double in the day game and then took advantage of some Yankees bloopers in the nightcap, scoring on a catcher’s interference to break a fourth-inning tie and then scoring again in the fifth after reaching on a dropped popop.

Brayan Bello (4-4) struck out a career-high eight batters in the second game, allowing one run and four hits and three walks in seven innings. Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth to earn his 15th save.

Luis Severino (0-2) gave up four runs — three earned — and seven hits with three walks while striking out six.

The night game featured some rare crisp defense by the Red Sox, with Duran making a catch against the bullpen wall in the center field triangle and Pablo Reyes making two plays at shortstop. But it also featured a catcher’s interference, a batter’s interference, one pickoff for each team and a caught stealing.

In the day game, Gleyber Torres hit a first-inning, two-run homer for the Yankees, who were without slugger and reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge for the 11th straight game because of a sprained right toe. They are 8-13 when he’s been on the injured list this season.

“That's the story line,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said between games. “We're going to get beat over the head with that. The reality is: That team we're rolling out there is capable of doing damage offensively. ... That, to me, is just an excuse right now.”

Connor Wong’s hit a double off the Green Monster against Michael King (1-3) in the day game to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. Two pitches later, Verdugo hit an RBI double as well. Nick Pivetta (4-4), demoted to the bullpen in mid-May, worked three perfect innings of relief with four strikeouts for the victory.


Judge visited with fans, signing autographs and taking pictures on the field outside New York’s dugout about 2 1/2 hours before the start. When finished, he said he was heading for some “rehab treatments.” Boone said the slugger “looks better” and “seems to be walking better.”

On Friday, Judge had a second platelet-rich plasma injection on his sprained right toe. “I know he was pretty beat up (Friday). He was in a lot of pain,” Boone said.


Yankees: Boone said outfielder Harrison Bader (strained right hamstring) “should be good to go” and come off the injured list on Tuesday.

Red Sox: Cora didn’t know yet if right-hander Tanner Houck would need surgery for a facial fracture he suffered when he was hit under the right eye by a line drive off the bat of the Yankees’ Kyle Higashioka on Friday.


Yankees: Off Monday before starting a three-game series in Seattle. Gerrit Cole (7-1) will face George Kirby (6-5) in the opener.

Red Sox: Open a four-game series at Minnesota, with James Paxton (2-1) facing Pablo Lopes (3-3).

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