MLB Preview: Yankees at Red Sox

Yankees at Red Sox Preview

The New York Yankees avenged a lopsided result against the Boston Red Sox in the series opener by showing some fight – both literally and offensively – en route to posting just their second win in six contests. After two bench-clearing fracases ratcheted up the tension, the long-time rivals look to keep their emotions in check on Thursday as they reconvene at Fenway Park to play the rubber match of their three-game set.

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Giancarlo Stanton answered a 3-for-28 slump during a six-game stretch by recording five hits in the first two contests of this series, including a two-run triple and an RBI single on Wednesday as New York snapped Boston’s nine-game winning streak with a 10-7 triumph. Fellow slugger Gary Sanchez showed signs of snapping out of a 1-for-31 funk by belting a pair of two-run homers to highlight his three-hit performance, although he is just 1-for-8 lifetime versus Thursday starter Rick Porcello. For the Red Sox, Hanley Ramirez launched a solo shot to extend his hitting streak to nine games and increase his RBI total to 12 over his last seven contests. J.D. Martinez bashed Boston’s third grand slam in four days to give him six RBIs in the series and eight in his last four games heading into Thursday’s tilt with Sonny Gray, against whom he is 3-for-7 with one homer and four RBIs in his career.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, YES (New York), NESN (Boston)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees RH Sonny Gray (1-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (2-0, 2.84)

Gray broke into the win column on Saturday despite allowing three runs and four hits in six innings of an 8-3 triumph over Baltimore. The 28-year-old hopes that momentum carries over into Thursday’s contest versus Boston, against which he owns a 1-4 record and 4.93 ERA in six career encounters and an 0-2 mark with a 6.75 ERA in three starts at Fenway. Ramirez (.357) has fared well versus Gray, but the right-hander has kept the red-hot Mookie Betts (.133) under wraps.

Porcello picked up his second straight victory over Tampa Bay on Saturday after overcoming a two-run double in the first to strike out seven over 7 1/3 innings in a 10-3 triumph. The 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner dropped three of four decisions to New York last season to see his career mark versus the club evened at 8-8 with a 3.27 ERA in 18 outings. Jacoby Ellsbury (.353, four homers) and Brett Gardner (.304) have gotten their licks in on Porcello, but the right-hander has handcuffed Aaron Judge (.100).

WALK-OFFS

1. Betts is 16-for-31 with 14 runs scored during his nine-game hitting streak.

2. Gardner is 7-for-16 with six runs scored in his last four contests.

3. Red Sox 3B Rafael Devers is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts in the series.

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