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Red Sox, Yankees look to avoid AL East cellar in series

Sep 6, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA;  New York Yankees starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt (36) is greeted in the dugout after being taken out in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The visiting New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, teams battling to avoid the cellar in the American League East, will meet Monday night in the first game of a four-game series.

The Yankees (71-72) are at the bottom of the division, two games behind the fourth-place Red Sox (73-70).

New York had lost three in a row until it beat visiting Milwaukee 4-3 on Sunday. The Yankees prevailed when catcher Kyle Higashioka drove in Everson Pereira with a double in the 13th inning.

“Really good at-bat,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Obviously (Higashioka has) lost some playing time here of late, but, you know, another guy who’s just a pro. Ready to go. … Excited for him and happy we could pull one out on our way to Boston.”

The Red Sox ended a four-game losing streak by beating Baltimore 7-3 Sunday. Rookie Triston Casas hit a three-run home run — his 24th homer of the season — in the victory.

“Just happy to get a pitch over the middle of the plate to hit,” Casas said. “There were a lot of positives to take out of (Sunday’s win) — and this whole series. It’s really satisfying to at least salvage (one victory in) the series. We know that they didn’t play their best game. They made a couple key errors in some big situations that really could have put the game away, but that’s baseball. We were able to capitalize on those mistakes and come out with a win.”

The Yankees will send right-hander Clarke Schmidt (9-8, 4.54 ERA) to the mound for Monday’s game. Righty Kutter Crawford (6-7, 4.36) is Boston’s probable starter.

Schmidt had gone four appearances without a victory until he earned the win for throwing 6 1/3 innings during Wednesday’s 4-3 victory over Detroit. Schmidt allowed three runs on five hits, struck out six and had no walks. He retired 16 consecutive batters at one point.

Schmidt’s season got off to a rough beginning, as he had a 6.30 ERA though his first nine starts.

“On the whole, he’s just gotten to be a much better pitcher, more polished pitcher,” Boone said. “I think he’s proven that he can be a starter in this league. I think he’s really got a grasp of his arsenal and how to use it and when to use it.

“I think he’s really learned a lot from his experiences from start to start. … Certainly took his lumps the first month or so of the season, but learned a lot from that.”

Schmidt is 0-1 with a 4.03 ERA in seven career appearances (three starts) against the Red Sox. He’s surrendered five home runs in 22 1/3 innings against them.

Crawford is 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA in his career against the Yankees. He’s made five appearances against the Yankees (three starts) and has 19 strikeouts in 19 innings.

Crawford struggled with his command in Tuesday’s 8-6 loss to Tampa Bay. He gave up five runs on three hits, walked four and struck out five in 3 2/3 innings. Crawford has allowed 11 runs in his last two outings (6 1/3 innings).

The Red Sox are 2-7 in their last nine home games.

–Field Level Media