BOSTON -- Making his 18th career start on the road against the Red Sox, CC Sabathia came away with his first scoreless line at Fenway Park, helping the Yankees win consecutive games for the first time in more than a month.
The veteran lefty held the Red Sox to two hits and worked around five walks over a solid six-inning performance that led the Yankees to a 3-0 victory in Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader on Sunday. Sabathia is 8-3 with a 3.54 ERA this season.
"It just shows you a lot about this team, how tough we are," said Sabathia, who was not originally scheduled to start in this series. "The core of this team are tough guys. We go out there and leave everything out on the field every night, and it shows up."
Tyler Clippard, Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman each worked scoreless innings in relief, with Chapman securing his ninth save. New York had not won consecutive games since June 11-12, when it began its slide from first place.
"It's been a long, long time," manager Joe Girardi said. "Especially after the difficult loss that we had on Friday night, to be able to respond the way they did, it's really good."
Meanwhile, the Red Sox continued their perplexing trend of being unable to produce in key situations against the Yankees in 2017.
In the eight rivalry games, Boston is 2-for-51 with runners in scoring position, including Sunday's 0-for-11 performance. The Red Sox didn't have an extra-base hit in Saturday's 16-inning loss.
"We're in a little bit of a dry spell, I think that's pretty apparent" said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Particularly in the first couple of innings, I thought we had a chance to break through, put a couple of points on the board. The two-out base hit in those spots hasn't been there."
The Yankees have taken six of the first eight games between the clubs, and they now trail the Red Sox by just 2 1/2 games in the American League East.
In a battle of former Cy Young Award winners, Sabathia got the best of this one.
Red Sox righty Rick Porcello, who had a strong finish to a frustrating first half, turned in a quality start, giving up nine hits but just one earned run. An error by shortstop Xander Bogaerts on a grounder by Clint Frazier led to the Yankees scoring two unearned runs in the fourth, and Didi Gregorius took Porcello out to right for a solo homer in the fifth.
"The changeup to Didi was a terrible pitch," said Porcello. "It was elevated up in the zone and he did what he does with that. Other than that, though, it was just a tough game, and we will get them tonight."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Didi's chip-shot homer: Gregorius had the perfect placement on his solo shot to right in the fifth that padded New York's lead to 3-0. He lofted one down the line and curled it just inside Peksy's Pole, which is 302 feet from home plate. According to Statcast™, the homer had an exit velocity of 93.3 mph. It was No. 11 on the season for Gregorius and the final run allowed by Porcello.
"It has not been clicking for a while, but I felt good yesterday," Gregorius said. "I kept the same approach and keep putting good swings. I've been doing everything the same way. Why try to change? It has been working fine. Everybody goes through ups and downs."
Early squanders set tone: The first two innings were indicative of the way things have been going for Boston. After Mookie Betts and Bogaerts led off the first with walks against Sabathia, the Red Sox didn't score. Andrew Benintendi hit into a fielder's-choice grounder and Chris Young grounded into a 4-3 double play. In the second, Sabathia made a nifty play to cut down Sam Travis at home plate.
"Any time you can save a run, especially early in the game, I felt like that was a big play," Sabathia said.
"It's in there. I have to wait to use it. I tried to throw a couple hard at the end of the game today. It's just max effort, though, so I can't pitch like that." -- Sabathia, on being clocked as high as 95.6 mph on Sunday
"Yeah, I'm going to go in there, get a little rest now, see if I can get ready for the next game." -- Betts, confirming he would use the team's sleep room between games of the doubleheader
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: The Yankees are back on the field at 8:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, sending Masahiro Tanaka (7-8, 5.47) out for his 19th start of the season. Tanaka stumbled in his last outing, surrendering five runs and six hits over 4 1/3 innings to the Brewers. He threw a three-hit shutout to beat the Sox at Fenway on April 27.
Red Sox: Lefty David Price, who finished strong in the first half, gets the nightcap for the Red Sox. He will try to reverse his recent struggles against the Yankees. Since coming to Boston for the start of the 2016 season, Price is 1-4 with an 8.31 ERA in six starts against New York.