BOSTON - On a night the Yankees demonstrated that maybe, finally, they have an offense capable of stringing a good stretch together, they lost a starting pitcher.
Of course they did.
David Phelps, pounded early, departed after two innings of the Yankees' 8-7 victory over the Red Sox Sunday night at Fenway Park with right elbow inflammation. "I'm not sure what we have moving forward," Joe Girardi said.
Phelps, who allowed five runs and six hits in two innings in putting his team in 3-0 and 5-3 holes, will be evaluated by doctors this week in New York.
Phelps said he's been pitching with the inflammation since his July 18 start against the Reds. Neither he nor Girardi thinks it is anything season-threatening, but Phelps said the pain in that area is something new.
"I've never had elbow issues, so I don't know what is a bad feeling," Phelps said. "Any time it's your arm, there is concern. It loosens up, so that's one thing. We've already had one MRI and it was clean, so there's that hope."
Girardi said Esmil Rogers -- who was claimed on waivers from the Blue Jays last Thursday and who pitched three scoreless innings to keep the Red Sox in check -- is stretched out enough from his time as a starter in Toronto and is a candidate to take Phelps' rotation spot.
Rogers is the 29th pitcher used by the Yankees this season, a franchise record.
"It's not what you want," Girardi said of losing his fifth starting pitcher this season. "But we've had to deal with it and guys have stepped up, and we'll need someone else to step up.''
The win allowed the Yankees (57-53), who twice rallied from three-run deficits, to win two of three against the Red Sox (49-62) and go 3-3 on their road trip. They moved within 11/2 games of a wild-card spot.
Next up are the Tigers and their collection of three consecutive AL Cy Young Award winners, starting Monday night at the Stadium.
"We feel as though we have a hot streak coming," Derek Jeter said after Saturday's 6-4 win. "But you have to go out and do it."
Behind leadoff man Brett Gardner, the Yankees did just that for a second straight game. Gardner went 3-for-4 with a homer, a double, a walk and three RBIs, and his sixth-inning blast off lefthander Craig Breslow gave the Yankees an 8-7 lead that stood up. It was the 15th homer for Gardner, whose previous high was eight.
Stephen Drew, acquired from the Red Sox late Thursday afternoon, hurt his former team, going 2-for-4 with a double and four RBIs, including a two-out, two-run single in the fifth that tied the score at 7-7.
"It's about time," Gardner said of the improved offense. "Hopefully we can take this momentum home with us this week against the Tigers and get on a little roll and get a little winning streak going."
Gardner and Drew aside, the night's MVP might have been Rogers. The righthander, who struggled with his fastball and slider with the Blue Jays, had both pitches going during three crucial scoreless innings -- innings 5-7 -- in which he did not allow a hit. He wound up getting the victory.
Dellin Betances mowed through the Red Sox in order in an 11-pitch eighth, striking out two, and turned it over to David Robertson, who improved to 29-for-31 in save chances.
Robertson faced only three batters in the ninth, but it wasn't that easy. He walked Christian Vazquez and, after pinch runner Mookie Betts took off for second, Robertson was bailed out when Brock Holt smoked a liner to third baseman Chase Headley, who easily doubled off Betts. With David Ortiz on deck, Robertson fell behind Dustin Pedroia 3-and-0, but Pedroia eventually concluded a nine-pitch at-bat by grounding out to short.
Moments earlier, Pedroia's bid for a tying home run to leftfield went about 10 feet foul. "Off the bat, it scared me," said Gardner, the leftfielder.
He wasn't alone. But the ball hooked to the left of the pole and the Yankees escaped -- maybe not well but very much alive.