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Mike Ford homers to back J.A. Happ as Yankees beat Red Sox

Mike Ford #72 of the Yankees celebrates his

Mike Ford #72 of the Yankees celebrates his third inning two run home run against the Boston Red Sox with teammate Gleyber Torres #25 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Yankees keep producing good results even as their biggest names continue to vanish.

On Sunday, DJ LeMahieu (sprained left thumb) was added to an injured list that already included Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees won anyway, beating the struggling Red Sox, 4-2, at the Stadium.

The Yankees (15-6) have beaten Boston (6-16) nine straight times. The Red Sox have lost 14 of their last 15 at the Stadium.

J.A. Happ finally turned in a strong starting performance after stumbling his first two times and Mike Ford had a home run and three RBIs as the Yankees extended their winning streak to five games.

Zack Britton allowed an unearned run because of his own two-out error in the ninth and the Red Sox brought the tying run to the plate, but he struck out Kevin Plawecki to end it. Britton struck out the side in earning his eighth save in eight tries.

Ford’s strong performance came on the heels of a five-RBI Saturday by Clint Frazier and a four-RBI Friday by Mike Tauchman, continuing a theme.

“We have a ton of depth. We have a lot of guys that can play elsewhere right now and help teams win,” Ford said. “It’s just nice when one of us fill-in guys can come up and have some success.”


“Injuries, obviously, we had some experience with that last year and it’s a good representation of the quality work our front office has done in acquiring good talent that can fill in when some of our better players get injured,” Britton said. “We don’t skip a beat, and you’re not going to find that on very many teams.”

Said Aaron Boone, “Well, we have really good players and guys that are confident in their ability, no matter what the role when they’re in there. They’re going to be counted on to produce and produce in a big way. Everyone we ran out there tonight is capable of impacting big-league games.”

Happ (1-2) cruised through 5 2⁄3 innings with an economy of pitches and allowed one run, three hits and two walks. In four of his first five innings, he needed 13 or fewer pitches.

He induced a pair of double plays but gave up a solo homer to Kevin Pillar in the third that cut the Yankees’ lead to 2-1.

After having one start pushed back and another skipped in favor of Jordan Montgomery, Happ might have been pitching for his rotation spot.

“Honestly, I felt like it was a big game for me,” he said. “You always want to get back on track. I try not to think of consequences here or there . . . Certainly [I] felt a lot more like myself, a lot more like I feel like I should be pitching. I was just definitely more aggressive, attacking and trying to get strike one. I’m always better when I’m on the attack like that.”

In the first inning, Ford followed singles by Gio Urshela and Mike Tauchman with a two-out RBI single to center for a 1-0 lead. The Yankees made it 2-0 in the second on Aaron Hicks’ RBI double off the first-base bag.

After Gleyber Torres beat out an infield hit in the third, Ford sent Chris Mazza’s 2-and-0 pitch into the rightfield stands. The 421-foot shot made it 4-1.

The two-year, $34 million contract Happ signed with the Yankees before the 2019 season included a vesting option for $17 million in 2021 based on starts and/or innings pitched. Boone said that was not part of the calculus when he went with Montgomery over Happ on Aug. 11, but clearly Happ has concerns.

He said there were two conversations with Boone and that “one of them I thought went very well and the second one I didn’t think went very well. We both said what we needed to say and we’re both moving forward.”

Asked what made him feel the second talk was problematic, Happ said, “I expressed something to him at a previous meeting and felt it went well. Then next time . . . nobody wants to get skipped. I feel like I should be out there every five days.”

If he continues pitching the way he did Sunday night, he and Boone likely will agree on that.

New York Sports