BOSTON (AP) — Aaron Judge hit a grand slam, DJ LeMahieu broke an eighth-inning tie with an RBI double and the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox, 8-5, on Thursday night to split a doubleheader.
Oswald Peraza hit his first career homer, a two-run shot in the ninth for the Yankees (74-73), who won three of four at Boston to draw even with their rival at the bottom of the AL East.
“Incredible moment right there for me. We wanted those runs in that inning,” Peraza said through a translator. “To be able to come through and connect there was incredible. We were able to win the series which means a lot of us.”
Earlier Thursday, the Red Sox fired Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom after nearly four seasons, then beat the Yankees 5-0 in the twin bill opener. Tanner Houck pitched six strong innings and registered his first win since April.
Boston made the playoffs once during Bloom’s tenure and enters the remaining weeks of the season seeking to avoid another last-place finish in the division.
“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,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said between games.
In the nightcap, Judge slugged a 2-0 pitch from Brennan Bernardino over the wall in center field with the bases loaded in the second inning to make it 5-2. It was his 32nd homer of the season and sixth career grand slam.
“Just got in a good count. Had a couple of opportunities over the past few days and didn’t come through,” Judge said.
Rafael Devers hit his 31st homer in the third to get the Red Sox within 5-3. Boston added a run in the fifth, and in the seventh, Triston Casas’ RBI groundout made it 5-5.
LeMahieu hit the go-ahead double off Mauricio Llovera (1-2).
“Good to see him go out there and do what he does at the top of the order,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Wandy Peralta (4-2) pitched the seventh for New York and Tommy Kahnle worked the final two innings for his second save.
Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on seven hits. New York turned three double plays behind him.
“Continued to stay locked in and be present and make the big pitch when I needed to,” Schmidt said. “Getting them to put the ball on the ground was the mentality throughout the game.”
In the opener, Houck (5-9) gave up four hits and struck out seven, and Trevor Story and rookie Ceddanne Rafaela homered for Boston. With the Red Sox ahead 2-0, Story hit a three-run shot into the center-field batters’ eye in the eighth inning.
Houck capped off his outing by escaping a one-out, first-and-third jam in the sixth. The Yankees were shut out for the ninth time this season.
“Today was a big day for Tanner,” Cora said. “He needed six innings.”
New York right-hander Michael King (4-6) gave up a run and six hits in 4 2/3 innings. The reliever-turned-starter who hails from Rhode Island and played at Boston College struck out eight and walked one.
“It’s nice being back on that routine,” King said of being back in the rotation for his fifth start. “I think that’s the main part of my body recovery that I feel like I missed (coming) out of the bullpen.”
Boston finished 9-4 against its rival this season.
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.
Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (13-4, 2.79 ERA) starts Friday in the opener of a weekend series at Pittsburgh.
Red Sox: RHP Brayan Bello (12-8, 3.68) starts Friday’s series opener at Toronto.