Yankees drub Red Sox, 13-2, head into All-Star break on high note

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The Red Sox could use a break.

The Yankees put their northern neighbors through a wood chipper over the last two days, outscoring them by an unfathomable 27-3 margin, punctuated by a 13-2 win on Sunday.

“Great job by them,” manager Aaron Boone said of his charges. “It’s been a little bit of a rough week, obviously. To answer last night with today, two pretty emphatic victories, you want to roll into the break feeling good.”

After working tirelessly to come back from a rib injury, Boston starting pitcher Chris Sale was forced out of the game in the first inning when a 106.7 mile per hour line drive clipped him, fracturing the pinky finger on his throwing hand. The Red Sox’s bullpen could not stop feeding the Yankees delicious pitches, and the Boston offense mustered just four hits off Gerrit Cole.

Take the next few days off, Red Sox, and check back in on Friday.

On the other side, the Yankees sail into their All-Star break feeling dandy. The complete annihilation of the Red Sox was a fitting way for the team’s first half to end, as they now stand at 64-28, the club’s best record through its first 92 games since the terrific 1998 season. Besides those 1998 Yankees, only the 1927, 1928 and 1939 teams won at least 64 of their first 92 contests. Each of those four groups went on to wear World Series rings.

When Sale had to leave the game after recording just two outs, the levee really burst open. Boston had to use five relievers in Saturday night’s humiliating loss, and their bad luck on Sunday forced them to use eight. The Red Sox (48-45) end the first half having given up double-digit runs in four of their last ten games.

You know it’s a good day for the Yankees when Joey Gallo leaves the yard. The relentlessly ridiculed outfielder only got into the game in the seventh inning because the Yankees had built such a colossal lead, but he used his first at-bat since Friday to hit the 11th home run of his nightmarish year. Interestingly, two of Gallo’s last three homers have come with the Yankees ahead by seven or more runs. Perhaps the key is just to use him like a low-leverage reliever, calling his number when the game is already out of hand.

Gallo came in to give Aaron Judge a breather, but not before Judge got two more hits and one more RBI in. He’ll board a plane to Los Angeles for the All-Star Game with 70 RBI and the league lead in home runs (33) and runs scored (74) in his suitcase.

It wasn’t Judge, Gallo, or even the surface-of-the-sun-hot Matt Carpenter who played the starring role in Sunday’s rout. That went to Tim Locastro, who went 3-for-5 with two stolen bases, the home run that capped the Yankees’ eight-run fourth inning, and the team’s WWE-style player of the game belt.

“It took me a year to get it,” he laughed. “I finally got it! That’s exciting.”

Mostly in the lineup to give Giancarlo Stanton a day off, Locastro flashed a bit of Stanton’s trademark slugging ability. His shot into the Red Sox’s bullpen should have come with a note saying to get more people warmed up, this is going to be a long game.

Gallo’s round-tripper in the seventh gave the Yankees two more runs, and after that the only real surprise was that the Red Sox didn’t use a position player to pitch. The Yankees had no such problems, as Cole was brilliant yet again. He went seven innings with 12 strikeouts, marking his second start in a row to last at least seven frames with double-digit K’s. Cole’s day began with a close shave to Rafael Devers, his arch nemesis whose six taters are the most anyone has hit off Cole. An inside pitch to Devers in the first inning sent the Red Sox’s third baseman to the ground, giving a long stare back out to the mound while his manager spewed some choice words.

The whole ordeal was frankly very overblown, as the ball was not actually that close to hitting Devers, and Cole was not rattled by it at all. The Bombers’ ace came back with three straight strikes to retire Boston’s wiz kid, the last one a 99 mile per hour fastball up in the zone that spawned a mighty swing and miss.

“I don’t think I figured him out,” Cole said about Devers, who finished the game 0-for-3. “I executed the pitches we wanted to execute today. I think we sequenced better than we did last time.”

Right-handed reliever Kaleb Ort took a bite out of DJ LeMahieu with a fastball in the bottom of the eighth, causing a bit of late inning commotion. It was a little unclear why LeMahieu was even still in the game — Judge and Anthony Rizzo had already been lifted — but he’ll have plenty of time to ice it before the Yankees’ return to the field on Thursday.

The first order of business after the All-Star Game is a doubleheader with Houston, but until then, they can glue a big smile to their face knowing how well they’ve played to this point.

“I think we care about each other,” Cole said. “I think we root for each other hard and want the best for each other. We find ways to inspire each other and elevate our game when we need to.”