Red Sox stifle short-handed Yanks 4-0 with Judge on COVID IL

Sports

Boston Red Sox’s Christian Arroyo, right, throws out New York Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton (not shown) at first base after forcing out Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu, center, for a double play during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 16, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Yankees felt like they were hit by a truck this week.

“An invisible, microscopic truck,” ace Gerrit Cole said.

It wasn’t so hard to see what was missing Friday night.

Eduardo Rodriguez shut down short-handed New York into the sixth inning, Christian Arroyo and J.D. Martinez homered, and the Boston Red Sox three-hit their rivals 4-0 Friday night with slugger Aaron Judge and five other Yankees sidelined due to a coronavirus outbreak.

A day after the series opener was postponed for testing and contact tracing, Judge, third baseman Gio Urshela and catcher Kyle Higashioka were added to the COVID-19 injured list. They joined Yankees pitchers Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Wandy Peralta, who have also tested positive over the past week.

Fourth-place New York was also without first baseman Luke Voit, who went on the injured list Friday with a bone bruise in his left knee.

“Every day is really important right now,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Today it was important we come out and play well and try to get a W and that didn’t happen.”

Rodriguez (7-5) allowed two hits over 5 2/3 innings, retiring 10 straight during one stretch and finishing with eight strikeouts. Hirokazu Sawamura got the final out of the sixth, and Tanner Houck pitched the final three innings to close out Boston’s three-hitter for his first big league save.

The AL East-leading Red Sox improved to 7-0 in the 19-game season series and beat New York for the eighth consecutive time, their best run in the rivalry since winning eight straight meetings from 2008-09.

“We have to have that focus walking in the ballpark every day, walking in those doors every day, and rinse and repeat,” Boone said. “The urgency has got to be absolutely there every single day.”

The Yankees were coming off a disappointing first half that ended Sunday when Houston’s Jose Altuve hit a walk-off homer in an 8-7 New York defeat. They’re now nine games back of Boston and likely to be without Judge and their other COVID-19-positive players for at least 10 days.

“The competitive side, yeah, of course we want to come here and win the series,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “But the other stuff, it really sucks.

“It’s not about competition,” he added. “It’s about human beings.”

Arroyo hit a two-run drive during a three-run second inning against starter Jordan Montgomery (3-5) and added a double off Domingo Germán in the seventh.

“When he’s using the big part of the field, he becomes very dangerous,” Cora said.

Martinez connected against Justin Wilson in the eighth, lining his 19th of the season into the right field seats for a solo shot that made it 4-0.

Montgomery pitched three-run ball over six innings with three hits allowed, two walks and four strikeouts. New York failed to score with Montgomery on the mound for his fifth straight start, matching Bill Short in 1960 and Fritz Peterson in 1967 for the longest such streak in franchise history, according to STATS.

“I’m just doing my job,” Montgomery said. “Going out there, focusing on hitters, trying to get outs and keep us in it. I’m going to keep being a good teammate and supporting the hitters.”

Judge and Urshela have been among the few consistent performers in New York’s lineup this year. Judge is hitting .282 with 21 homers and a .901 OPS, and the slick-fielding Urshela is batting .275 with 11 homers and a .756 OPS.

New York promoted four hitters from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: first baseman Chris Gittens, infielder Hoy Park, outfielder Greg Allen and catcher Rob Brantly. Outfielder Trey Amburgey was called up Thursday, when left-hander Zack Britton was activated from the 10-day injured list.

The 26-year-old Amburgey started in right field for his major league debut. He hit .312 with seven homers for the RailRiders this season, but he was 0 for 2 on Friday.

Allen pinch hit for Amburgey in the seventh and singled in his first at-bat this year. Park followed with a rally-killing groundout as a pinch-hitter in his first big league action.

Struggling Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out one and walking one on 23 pitches.

OUT OF ACTION

At least one of Judge, Urshela and Higashioka was not vaccinated, the Yankees said. Boone said he expects each of the players who tested positive to be out at least 10 days from the time of their positive test. Some of the players are experiencing mild symptoms, but Boone said none has gotten seriously ill.

Players had another round of rapid testing Friday that revealed no other positives.

E-ROD’S RISE

Rodriguez missed the 2020 season due to complications stemming from COVID-19, including myocarditis. After a slow start this year, the left-hander has a 2.83 ERA in his past five starts, looking more like the pitcher who carried a 3.81 ERA over 203 1/3 innings two seasons ago.

“He’s the guy we saw in 2019,” Cora said.

THE WAIT CONTINUES

Boston had planned to start top prospect Jarren Duran in center field Thursday before that game was called off. The lefty-hitting Duran was formally promoted Friday but sat out against the left-handed Montgomery. He will instead get his first start Saturday versus Cole.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: Houck was called up from Triple-A. He’s likely to join the rotation next week. … INF/OF Marwin Gonzalez was placed on the 10-day IL with a right hamstring strain, and RHP Austin Brice was designated for assignment.

Yankees: Voit experienced swelling in his knee over the weekend and had it drained, but Boone said the slugger had lingering pain this week. The 2020 major league home run leader was expected to get a platelet-rich plasma injection Friday night, and there’s no timeline for his return. Voit had surgery on the same knee in March to repair a partially torn meniscus.

UP NEXT

Cole (9-4, 2.68 ERA) is set to face another AL All-Star on Saturday in Red Sox RHP Nathan Eovaldi (9-5, 3.66).

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