NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia continued his resurgence with his best start of the season while Didi Gregorius and Chris Carter homered off reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, leading the Yankees to an 8-0 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
Sabathia picked up the victory for his fifth consecutive start, permitting just five hits over eight scoreless innings, a 95-pitch gem that restored New York's lead in the AL East to two games over Boston.
"There's a long way to go, but it feels good to be contributing," Sabathia said. "That's the biggest thing. These guys have been playing well. It's a young team, we've been playing really good. You just want to be a part of it."
Stepping up to help bolster a rotation that continues to search for answers with struggling ace Masahiro Tanaka, the veteran left-hander walked none and struck out five in his longest outing since April 2015, retiring the last 12 batters he faced.
"His stuff was really good tonight. We needed this," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Just a big performance by CC. I think he takes a lot of pride in it. He's been that guy his whole career that you can turn to when you needed a big win, and he still does it."
New York thumped Porcello for six runs (five earned) and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings, handing him his eighth loss of the year. Porcello walked two (one intentionally) and struck out five, throwing 71 of 103 pitches for strikes. Coming off a Cy Young Award season, Porcello is 3-8 with a 4.46 ERA.
"Just the execution of pitches, what it always comes down to," said Porcello. "You make good pitches and guys get hits, you can live with that. But in crucial times, when you've got to bear down and locate, I haven't been very consistent with that, and I've got to get better."
Gregorius put New York on the board in the third inning with a solo homer and Carter added a three-run shot as part of a four-run fourth. Yankees batters have homered in 43 of 56 games this season, winning 31 of those contests.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Muscling up: The Yankees have gotten league-worst production from their first basemen this season, but Carter's bat may be heating up. After singling in his first at-bat and mistakenly advancing to an occupied base to force an error, Carter blasted a three-run homer, narrowly missed another homer in the sixth when Mookie Betts made a leaping catch at the right-field wall and added an RBI single in the eighth.
"I'm just trying to not jump out at the ball," Carter said. "When I got a pitch away, I would lean toward it or go after it. I'm just trying to stay balanced and stay in place." More >
Brace yourself: Sabathia had it all under control on Wednesday, even after a strap on his protective knee brace broke during the fourth inning. The brace was repaired for the fifth, when Josh Rutledge led off with a triple to left-center field. Sabathia remained cool under pressure, barehanding Jackie Bradley Jr.'s 97.9-mph comebacker to pin the runner at third before retiring the next two batters as well.
"I'm just trying to make pitches," Sabathia said. "I wasn't really worried about how I got the outs, I was just trying to get outs and make some good pitches. It was just right there so I grabbed it. It was a big play at the time, keeping the ball on the infield."
"I felt like I was going to catch it regardless of it hitting the guy's hand or not. I mean, I was just trying to make a play and fortunately it went in the glove." -- Betts, on robbing Carter
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Wednesday marked Sabathia's 25th career start where he has thrown at least eight scoreless innings, and his first since Sept. 21, 2012, vs. Oakland.
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: Left-hander David Price takes the ball for the Red Sox in Thursday night's rubber match of this three-game series between rivals. Price is making his third start in his return from the disabled list. He stifled the Orioles in a win in his last start, allowing three hits and a run while striking out seven over seven-plus innings. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Yankees:Michael Pineda will take the ball as the Yankees complete their three-game series with the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Pineda had a string of nine straight starts with three earned runs or fewer allowed snapped last time out in Toronto, where he allowed five runs and 10 hits over five innings.