NEW YORK – After losing his way in two horrid starts, Vidal Nuno was right on target against the Boston Red Sox.
Nuno rebounded nicely from losses to Baltimore and Oakland to pitch two-hit ball into the sixth inning Friday night, Kelly Johnson and Brett Gardner hit consecutive homers, and the New York Yankees beat Boston 6-0 in the opener of a series between struggling powers.
He really answered the bell tonight, Yankees catcher Brian McCann said. He came out and established the strike zone, established what he wanted to do and got big outs after big outs.
McCann added a two-run homer for New York, which has won six of the eight meetings with Boston this season.
In his first at-bat as a 40-year-old, Derek Jeter fisted a single to right field with one out in the first. His birthday was Thursday, the Yankees’ final day off before playing 17 straight going into the All-Star break.
Jeter went to third on Jacoby Ellsbury’s double and scored on Mark Teixeira’s sacrifice fly off Brandon Workman (1-1) for the early lead.
The Yankees’ captain also singled in the fourth for hit No. 3,390 and went 2 for 4 in New York’s second straight win following four losses.
The Red Sox have been playing even worse, scoring three runs or fewer for the 11th time in 13 games and losing for the sixth time in eight games. Fourth in the rugged AL East, Boston trails the third-place Yankees by six games.
Again, the base hit with the guy in scoring position has been elusive, manager John Farrell said of the Red Sox, who were 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position.
I’ve had confidence in (Nuno), but we’re in a situation where these are the five guys that we have, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. He’s pitched some good games for us. ... He seems to always bounce back and give us a good outing.
RANGERS 5, TWINS 4: In Arlington, Texas, Adrian Beltre homered, Shin-Soo Choo had three hits in his return to the leadoff spot and Texas snapped an eight-game losing streak, the Rangers’ longest in nearly nine years.
RAYS 5-1, ORIOLES 2-4: In Baltimore, Nelson Cruz and Nick Hundley homered to back a commanding pitching performance by Chris Tillman as Baltimore won the nightcap for a doubleheader split. Bishop Luers grad Kevin Kiermaier went 1 for 4 for the Rays.
In the opener, rookie Alex Colome gave up two hits over 5 2/3 innings, and Brandon Guyer hit three doubles to lift Tampa Bay. Kiermaier went 1 for 5.
ROYALS 8, ANGELS 6: In Kansas City, Missouri, Omar Infante capped a seven-run inning with his first career grand slam to lead Kansas City.
PIRATES 3, METS 2, 11 inn.: In Pittsburgh, Josh Harrison doubled home the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift Pittsburgh.
BRAVES 4, PHILLIES 2: In Philadelphia, Freddie Freeman homered, doubled and drove in all four runs to lead Atlanta.
BREWERS 3, ROCKIES 2: In Milwaukee, Ryan Braun was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning that scored a run, and he had an RBI single in the ninth to lift Milwaukee.
ATHLETICS 9, MARLINS 5: In Miami, Coco Crisp scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning on a replay reversal, and Oakland scored four times in the inning to beat Miami after blowing a four-run lead.