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Yankees’ one-run victory over Red Sox follows familiar script

Alex Verdugo's three-run homer in the sixth inning tied the game against the Yankees at 4-4.Elsa/Getty

NEW YORK — Perhaps the Red Sox should be thankful for all the attention that has been paid to Aaron Judge the last two days at Yankee Stadium.

It has obscured how lopsided the greatest rivalry in baseball has become.

The Yankees beat the Red Sox again on Friday, 5-4. Judge is 1 for 6 without a run scored or RBI in the series and it hasn’t mattered.

The Yankees still have found a way to win. Or the Sox have found a way to lose depending on your view.

As Alex Cora said, it’s a familiar script.

The 72-78 Sox are 6-11 against the Yankees with two games left in the season series. Nine of the games have been decided by 1 or 2 runs with the Yankees winning six times.


The Yankees are 6-2 at home against the Sox, outscoring them by 27 runs.

On Friday, Matt Strahm walked Harrison Bader on four pitches with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Strahm then threw away a pickoff throw as Bader was stealing second.

With Bader on third, Strahm left a two-strike curveball over the plate that Jose Trevino lined into center field.

In all, the Sox have lost 19 one-run games in the American League East. In 11 of those games, they had a lead in the sixth inning or later.

“Shame on us that we didn’t finish games,” Cora said. “That’s the margin of making it to the playoffs or going home.”

That margin is a product of a bullpen with the second-highest earned run average (4.47) and walks per nine innings (3.87) in the American League.

Two of the relievers the Sox opened the season with are now free agents [Hirokazu Sawamura and Austin Davis] and two others [Phillips Valdez and Hansel Robles] are in the minor leagues with other organizations after being dumped by the Sox.


Despite their lack of home run power, the Sox are in the upper third of the majors offensively. But that hasn’t been enough to survive all the close losses.

The players know it.

“Of course we do, yeah,” said Rich Hill, who hung in there against Gerrit Cole and left the mound with the game tied, 4-4. “If you think about it, if we were able to get 2½ more wins per month we’d be right in the thick of everything getting into the playoffs.”

Hill suggested that the Sox should go into the offseason and think hard about how important every game is, from April to September.

“If it was on paper, I’d put us up against anybody,” he said. “It comes down to execution and making sure we’re defensively and offensively sound and economical as pitchers, attacking the strike zone and eliminating walks.”

Hill knows that ultimately the Sox will always be compared to the Yankees.

The Wild Card victory at Fenway Park against the Yankees last year was easily the most memorable game of the season. That the Red Sox would be buried in last place nearly a year later didn’t seem possible.

Alex Verdugo gets it, too. His three-run homer off Cole tied the game in the sixth inning. Verdugo took a slow route around the bases, pointing into the stands several times as he was booed.

He enjoyed every second of that trot.


Cole finished the inning then was ejected for complaining about a pitch well off the plate to Verdugo that wasn’t called a strike.

Verdugo laughed it off, saying Cole begs for every call.

But Verdugo’s joy was short-lived with another one-run loss.

“It’s been that way all year with us,” he said. “We’re finding a way to not pull off the W. Too many errors [Friday], too many little things that just trickle on and once the result is done, you see how it all weighs out. It’s frustrating how bad our record is.”

Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.