Boston — In the Belmont Stakes, the Yankees are beginning to resemble Secretariat.
Even on a night when Nestor Cortes had his worst start of the year, the Yankees used their offense and bullpen to defeat the Red Sox 12-5, further solidifying their position as the best team in the division and the majors.
The Yankees defeated Boston for the fourth time in a row in front of a boisterous sellout crowd at Fenway Park thanks to a three-run home run from Josh Donaldson, who has now hit one in three straight games.
With a 61-23 start, they have also established a season-high 15 12-game lead in the AL East, in part due to a 28-12 record within the division.
Cortes pitched a season-low 3 2/3 innings and saw his ERA rise to 2.74 as a result of giving up four runs on eight hits.
However, the Yankees barely noticed it as they quickly struck out Boston right-hander Connor Seabold.
Starting the game with a single, DJ LeMahieu advanced to second on an Aaron Judge rocket grounder to third that was caught by a diving Rafael Devers.
After Matt Carpenter was struck by a pitch, Gleyber Torres singled in the runner.
The Yankees then took a 4-0 lead after Donaldson, who hit a grand slam in Thursday’s victory, hit a three-run shot to left.
Seabold needed 37 pitches to make it out of the inning.
In the first inning’s bottom, Cortes struggled.
Rob Refsnyder, a former Yankee, and J.D. Martinez both singled for Boston, putting two on and two out. Christian Vazquez then hit a two-run double to left center, cutting the Yankees’ lead to 4-2.
In the second, LeMahieu was brought home by Carpenter’s RBI double.
With some assistance from Christian Arroyo in right field, the Yankees extended their lead in the third inning.
Before Marwin Gonzalez popped out for the first out, bringing up the struggling Joey Gallo, Aaron Hicks walked and Jose Trevino doubled.
Gallo lofted a fly ball to the right, but Arroyo mishandled it in the twilight or under the lights and got far away from where it landed. Hicks and Trevino were able to score as a result, but Gallo was out at the plate trying for an inside-the-park home run after receiving an unfortunate signal from third base coach Luis Rojas.
The Yankees kept on hitting reliever Michael Feliz in the fourth inning after Seabold left with a tight right forearm.
Carpenter hit his ninth home run of the year to start the game. Later in the inning, Donaldson and Hicks pulled off a double steal, and Donaldson scored as a result of a throwing error by Vazquez from behind the plate.
Cortes’ problems, however, persisted in the bottom of the fourth. The left-hander was removed with two on and two out after home runs by Bobby Dalbec and Trevor Story.
As soon as he entered the game, Miguel Castro struck out Xander Bogaerts with a 2-2 pitch, loading the bases for Javier Vazquez. Vazquez was facing a full count when Castro struck him out to end the inning.
Since rejoining the Yankees last month, Albert Abreu had not allowed a run in five appearances. However, in the sixth inning, he gave up a run and left the game with runners on the corners and two outs.
Alex Verdugo was faced by Lucas Luetge, who walked him to load the bases. When facing Story, Luetge got the second baseman to pop to second and then pitched 3 1/3 innings without allowing a run to win the game.
Jackie Bradley Jr.’s appearance on the mound for the Red Sox in the ninth inning further embarrassed them. With the bases loaded, he intentionally walked Isiah Kiner-Falefa to bring in a run.