|4:05 PM PT5:05 PM MT6:05 PM CT7:05 PM ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 PM MST6:05 PM EST6:35 PM VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 PM CT, September 1, 2017
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York Attendance: 42,332
Yankees try to keep heat on Red Sox
NEW YORK -- Act one of the Yankees' most pivotal series to date went extremely well for New York, even if it took awhile.
After opening the series with a nearly four-hour victory, the Yankees try to make it two in a row Friday night when they continue a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox.
The second-place Yankees pulled within 4 1/2 games of the first-place Red Sox in the American League East after opening the series with a 6-2 victory Thursday. CC Sabathia pitched six gritty innings while New York received power from young hitters Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird.
"This was fun, man," Sabathia said. "I love this."
Sanchez capped August by hitting his 12th homer of the month, and 28th overall. It also his first homer since getting a four-game suspension for his role in a fight at Detroit.
Sanchez appealed the suspension and may find out the results Friday. If the catcher is suspended, the Yankees will hope to get more from Bird.
The first baseman is 6-for-18 with two homers and nine RBIs in six games since returning from a three-month absence caused by an ankle injury.
"I don't care where (the offense) comes from," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We just need it, and it doesn't have to be the same guy every day."
The Red Sox are 3-5 in their past eight games after going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position Thursday, giving them a .154 average in those situations against the Yankees this year.
Andrew Benintendi stayed hot, collecting two of Boston's four hits and walking in his three other plate appearances. He has 13 RBIs this season against the Yankees, the most by a Red Sox rookie since Fred Lynn in 1975.
Benintendi and the rest of Boston's lineup will be joined by Dustin Pedroia, who is expected to return after missing three weeks with left knee inflammation. The Red Sox are 24-14 in the 38 games he has missed during three different DL stints, and in a strange coincidence, the second baseman has not appeared in any game at New York this season.
"We've got a great team," Pedroia said. "We're pretty confident if one guy goes down, somebody else will step up and fill that role. We've played great baseball, and I'm excited to be part of it."
Sonny Gray (8-8, 3.26 ERA) will make his sixth start for the Yankees on Friday, and he is coming off his best outing since being acquired from the Oakland A's on July 31. In a Saturday win over the Seattle Mariners, Gray allowed one run and three hits in seven innings.
Gray has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 11 consecutive starts, which is the longest active streak in the majors. In those outings, he is 6-5 with a 1.95 ERA.
"He came here and people had a lot of high expectations on him and he makes two or three starts where we don't score any runs," Girardi said. "He handled that extremely well. He just continues to go out and do what he's supposed to do."
Gray will be facing the Red Sox for the second time as a Yankee. On Aug. 20, he allowed a two-run triple to Jackie Bradley Jr. among seven hits over five innings in a 5-1 loss.
Overall against the Red Sox, Gray is 1-3 with a 4.88 ERA in five starts.
Boston's Friday starter, Doug Fister, is 3-7 with a 4.53 ERA in 12 appearances (nine starts). Fister is coming off two of his best two starts for the Red Sox, and in his past five outings, he is 3-2 with a 3.41 ERA.
"You look at the last five starts he's made for us and he's worked deep in ballgames," Boston manager John Farrell said. "He's been in control. He's found ways to work out of a jam."
Fister pitched a one-hitter Aug. 22 at Cleveland and followed it up by allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings during a 2-1 loss to Baltimore on Sunday.
The right-hander is 2-4 with a 6.38 ERA in seven career appearances (six starts) against the Yankees. He allowed three runs and four hits in 2 2/3 innings during Boston's 16-inning loss at Fenway on July 15.
Fister's last start against the Yankees was July 26, 2016, in Houston for the Astros when he allowed six runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. His lone appearance at Yankee Stadium was on July 26, 2011, for the Seattle Mariners. He allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings during a 4-1 loss.
Updated September 1, 2017