Tanaka's struggles vs. Sox tighten East race

Tanaka's struggles vs. Sox tighten East race

NEW YORK -- Mitch Moreland and Hanley Ramirez hit back-to-back home runs while Andrew Benintendi also went deep to continue Masahiro Tanaka's baffling slide as the Red Sox defeated the Yankees, 5-4, on Tuesday evening at Yankee Stadium.

With the rivals meeting for just the third time this season, Boston's big bats helped the Red Sox (32-25) close within one game of the division-leading Yankees (32-23), the closest they have been to first place since the beginning of play on April 21.

"I think we all note the standings," said Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. "We all know that it all shakes out as the season goes on, and I think we should start paying more attention to it at the very end."

Moreland and Ramirez hit their homers in the fourth and Benintendi went deep in the fifth off Tanaka, who generated just three swings and misses in his 62 pitches, surrendering five runs in five innings. Tanaka has lost each of his last five starts while allowing 27 earned runs in 22 2/3 innings (10.72 ERA).

"I have been inconsistent. Obviously I'm trying to fix that," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "As for today, I think I made some good pitches and bad pitches in the game. The bad ones, I think I missed. They were crucial mistakes and they went right down the middle."

Yanks believe Tanaka can get back on track

The long-ball display was a welcome sight for the Red Sox, who entered the day 29th in the Majors with just 53 homers.

"I think even over the last couple or three weeks we're seeing the ball being impacted a little more consistently," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "It's good to see it from a number of different guys. That's the biggest thing."

Moreland, Hanley go back-to-back

The Red Sox guided Drew Pomeranz through five innings despite a season-high 123 pitches. Chris Carter hit a fifth-inning homer off Pomeranz, who picked up his first career victory over the Yankees after permitting two runs (one earned) and six hits. New York closed within a run in the eighth as a Craig Kimbrel wild pitch on a third strike with two outs allowed Matt Holliday to score from third base.

Kimbrel struck out Carter to end the eighth, then struck out the side in the ninth, ending the performance with three straight heaters of 99 mph or above against Yankees slugger Aaron Judge. The dominant righty (1.01 ERA, 17-for-18 in save opportunities) became the first pitcher in history to have a five-strikeout, four-out save.

Kimbrel K's five, records save

Going deep: Moreland got all of a fat 2-1 Tanaka slider in the fourth inning, crushing a long two-run homer to the bleachers in right field that gave Boston a 3-1 lead. The blast came off Moreland's bat at 109.5 mph and was projected to travel 434 feet, according to Statcast™. It was the first of three homers allowed on Tuesday by Tanaka, who has surrendered 12 in his last 35 1/3 innings.

"It seemed like the sequence to Moreland, he threw a good slider and then he threw one that just kind of spun," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He threw a split to Hanley that didn't do a whole lot. The home run to Benintendi was a cutter that kind of almost backed up. It's the inconsistency of the pitches that are really hurting him."

Moreland's mammoth home run

Judge is overruled: Joe Kelly and Judge met for an epic showdown in the seventh inning. Judge represented the potential tying run as Kelly threw him two 101.5-mph fastballs, a slider that was whacked foul and then two more triple-digit heaters to run the count to 2-2. Kelly won the battle, snapping off a 92.6-mph slider that Judge waved at to end the inning.

"Those are fun at-bats. Those are the at-bats you want to have," Judge said. "He just went out there, executed and did his job."

Kelly overrules Judge in powerful showdown

Kelly fans Judge

"Power vs. power. I was actually surprised at some of the balls that he was catching up with at the time of the zone. I was like, God, how is he getting to that ball?" -- Bradley on the Kelly-Judge showdown in the seventh

Kimbrel's third save of four-plus outs set a career high, and they've all come in the last week.

"I'll be honest with you, there's reluctance on my part to continue to do that," said Farrell on Kimbrel's usage. "There's two days off leading up to it. When we've done it previously, there's usually been a day or two following where he's been down. He's extremely valuable. He's incredibly talented and will closely be monitored every time he walks to the mound."

Said Kimbrel: "Like I said, it's still a learning thing for me. I've thrown one inning my whole career. It's something I'm still getting used to. We'll just see where it takes us."

Red Sox: Right-hander Rick Porcello (3-7, 4.24 ERA) will try to regain the feel for his sinker when he starts the middle game of this three-game series at Yankee Stadium. Though Porcello has given up 30 hits over his last three starts, he has minimized the damage, allowing nine earned runs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Yankees: Left-hander CC Sabathia will try to continue his strong run when he takes on the Red Sox Wednesday evening. Sabathia (6-2, 4.12 ERA) has won his last four starts, pitching to a 1.48 ERA with 26 strikeouts over that span of 24 1/3 innings.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.