Michael Wacha tosses 7 scoreless innings in first start since June 28 as Red Sox blank Yankees, 3-0, to earn series victory

The Red Sox won their second straight series against an American League East opponent with a shutout victory over the Yankees on Sunday night. Boston defeated New York by a final score of 3-0 to improve to 57-59 on the season.

Matched up against Jameson Taillon out of the gate, leadoff man Tommy Pham set the tone right away in the first inning. Pham led off by ripping a line-drive double to left-center field. He moved up to third base on a Rafael Devers groundout and scored the game’s first run on an RBI groundout off the bat of Xander Bogaerts.

Michael Wacha took over from there. Making his first start since June 28 after being activated from the 15-day injured list earlier in the afternoon, Wacha showed no signs of rust in his return to the mound. The veteran right-hander kept the Yankees off the scoreboard while scattering two hits and one walk to go along with a season-high nine strikeouts over seven strong innings of work.

After retiring the first 14 batters he faced, Wacha saw his bid for a perfect game come to an end when he gave up a softly-hit two-out single to Miguel Andujar. He then issued his first and only walk of the evening to Isiah Kiner-Filefa before getting Kyle Higashioka to ground out to Devers at third base.

Wacha yielded a one-out single to Andrew Benintendi in the sixth but left him there by fanning Aaron Judge and Josh Donaldson. He ended his night by punching out two more in a scoreless top of the seventh.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (59 strikes), Wacha threw 36 four-seam fastballs, 21 changeups, 19 cutters, eight curveballs, and five sinkers. The 31-year-old hurler induced a game-high 10 swings-and-misses with his changeup and also averaged 93.8 mph with his four-seamer. He picked up his seventh win and lowered his ERA on the season to 2.44.

Moments before Wacha recorded the final out of the seventh, Devers broke out in the latter half of the sixth. After Pham led the inning off with another single, Devers promptly clubbed a 433-foot two-run home run to deep right field off Taillon.

Devers’ 25th homer of the season left his bat at a blistering 110.4 mph. It also gave the Red Sox some breathing room in the form of a 3-0 lead.

In relief of Wacha, Ryan Brasier received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Brasier made quick work of the Yankees in the eighth to pave the way for Garrett Whitlock, who did the same in the ninth to secure the victory and his fourth save of the year.

All told, three Boston pitchers (Wacha, Brasier, and Whitlock) combined to toss nine scoreless innings in which they only gave up two hits and one walk while striking out 11.

Offensively, Pham went 3 for 4 with two runs scored out of the leadoff spot while Devers went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and one run scored. Both of Devers’ hits left his bat at more than 110 mph. They were the two hardest-hits of the game, per Baseball Savant.

Also of note, Sunday’s contest took all of two hours and 15 minutes to complete.

Next up: On to Pittsburgh

The Red Sox will enjoy an off day on Monday before traveling to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates on the road for the first time since September 2014. Nick Pivetta is slated to get the ball for Boston in Tuesday’s series opener while fellow right-hander Mitch Keller is expected to do the same for Pittsburgh.

First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Michael Wacha: Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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