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MLB: New York Yankees at Boston Red SoxJun 14, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Alex Verdugo (24) reacts to his hits a two-run home run against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Led by a familiar face in Boston, the New York Yankees will look to post a second consecutive road win over the American League East rival Red Sox on Saturday.

In New York’s 8-1 Friday win, Alex Verdugo — who was making his first Fenway Park appearance since being traded by Boston in the offseason — went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs to pace a 10-hit Yankee attack.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone praised his outfielder before the series began.

“He’s been really good between the lines,” Boone said of Verdugo. “I don’t want to gloss over just how good he’s played in left field and just a lot of big hits. I feel like he’s even swung the bat better than his numbers would suggest. But there’s just a humorous edge that he brings to the park every day that his teammates feed off of.”

Prior to Friday, only Roger Maris (1960) had recorded at least four RBIs and seven total bases in his first game against the Red Sox as a Yankee.

“This is one of the days I had circled,” Verdugo said of the first game of the season between the teams.

Scheduled New York starter Carlos Rodon (9-2, 2.93) worked seven innings of one-run ball in his Monday start at Kansas City, which marked his seventh straight win and tied for his longest outing this season.

It was a game circled on Rodon’s calendar since failing to record an out in his 2023 season-ending start on Sept 29.

“It wasn’t just one start, it was a culmination of the whole ‘23 season that wasn’t so great (6.85 ERA),” Rodon said. “That definitely motivated me.”

Fast forward to this season, and Rodon has allowed one or zero runs in six of his 14 starts. He already has tripled his three-win total from all of 2023.

The left-hander is 2-3 with a 3.34 ERA in six career starts against Boston.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was pleased with his team’s at-bats during the series opener, working counts and forcing New York starter Luis Gil out of the game after five innings.

But recording just five hits and going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position did not work for the manager.

“I do believe we put good at-bats. A lot of deep counts, 3-2 counts,” Cora said. “We just didn’t cash in.”

Enmanuel Valdez had the lone Red Sox RBI on a fourth-inning double, his fourth two-bagger in a span of seven at-bats dating back to Wednesday’s first of consecutive wins over the Philadelphia Phillies to claim the three-game set earlier this week.

Boston right-hander Cooper Criswell (3-3, 4.13) has lost two of his past three starts and will look to bounce back in his first career outing against the Yankees on Saturday.

Criswell lost last Friday at the Chicago White Sox, allowing three earned runs over 4 1/3 innings.

With Friday’s results in the first of 13 meetings between the teams this season, New York became the first 50-win team in baseball while Boston slipped back to .500.

The Red Sox will look to even the series and regain some of the momentum that they created against Philadelphia as a key stretch continues.

“The Phillies are the best in the NL and the Yankees are best in the AL,” Boston’s Rob Refsnyder said. “It’d be foolish not to see how you stack up against the best teams.”

–Field Level Media

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