NEW YORK (AP) — As soon as Joe Kelly emerged from the bullpen, fired-up fans at Yankee Stadium let him have it.
Moments later, so did Aaron Judge.
Giancarlo Stanton homered twice, including a laser shot to left field, and Judge hit a tiebreaking single off New York’s latest public enemy as the Yankees edged the rival Boston Red Sox 3-2 on Tuesday night for their 16th victory in 17 games.
“It’s a lot of fun to play in these games, I’m not going to lie,” rookie manager Aaron Boone said .
In the opener of a three-game showdown between baseball’s top two teams, Luis Severino struck out 11 during a taut pitching duel with Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz.
Judge cut down a runner at second base with a pinpoint throw from right field, and the steamrolling Yankees — on their best 17-game run in 65 years — won their seventh straight to tie Boston for first place in the AL East at 25-10.
“We’re right there where we need to be,” Stanton said after his 31st career multihomer game and third this season.
It was the first time the storied rivals squared off with the two best records in the majors since June 2, 2002, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. And after their bench-clearing brawl at Fenway Park last month, touched off when Kelly drilled Tyler Austin with a pitch, a revved-up crowd of 45,773 packed the big ballpark in the Bronx to see old foes go at it again.
“Actually, I thought it was going to be worse,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “It was a good baseball game. Like I’ve been telling you guys, this place is alive. I lived it last year during the playoffs (with Houston).”
There was no trouble on the field this time as New York won its 10th consecutive home game, its longest streak since July 2008 at the original Yankee Stadium.
“That’s done. That’s in the past. Our focus is about winning baseball games, not fighting,” Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez said through a translator.
Neil Walker got the winning rally started in the seventh inning with a pinch-hit double off Heath Hembree (2-1), who walked the next two batters sandwiched around a balk.
That’s when Kelly came out of the bullpen and was greeted by loud boos .
“I was inside getting ready, to be honest, but I could hear it through the door,” Stanton said.
Judge laced a bases-loaded single that scored Walker to put New York ahead. Left fielder Andrew Benintendi threw out Gleyber Torres at the plate on the play.
David Robertson (3-1) gave up a tying triple to Mookie Betts in the seventh, but got three outs for the win. Aroldis Chapman earned his eighth save in nine chances.
“It was probably more like a playoff atmosphere,” Kelly said. “It was fun.”
Booed in the Bronx earlier this season, Stanton delivered in his first home game with the Yankees against Boston.
The muscular slugger connected for leadoff homers in the second and fourth against Pomeranz, who shook off a cracked fingernail early in the game following a manicure on the mound from head athletic trainer Brad Pearson.
Stanton’s second homer was a high fly to the opposite field that cleared the short porch in right. His first shot was a screaming line drive into the lower seats near the left-field corner.
“Superhero swing,” a smiling Boone said. “When he connects, it comes off differently.”
Major League Baseball announced the Yankees and Red Sox will play two regular-season games against each other at the Olympic Stadium in London next season. Boston will be the home team for both of MLB’s first games in Europe on June 29-30, 2019.
Red Sox: LHP David Price was scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday night and sent back to Boston for medical tests after experiencing a tingling sensation in his pitching hand again. Cora said Price felt tingling in his hand Sunday while throwing a bullpen that was cut short, the same symptoms that forced him out of an April 11 game against the Yankees at Fenway Park. … Boston reinstated utilityman Brock Holt from the 10-day disabled list and optioned infielder Tzu-Wei Lin to Triple-A Pawtucket. … Betts was back in the leadoff spot after leaving Sunday’s game at Texas with a bruised right shoulder.
Yankees: 1B Greg Bird, recovering from March 27 surgery to repair a broken spur on the outside of his right ankle, went 2 for 4 with a home run during an extended spring training game in Florida and played five innings at first base. It shouldn’t be long before he’s sent to Class A Tampa or Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for a rehab assignment, Boone said. … OF Jacoby Ellsbury, sidelined all season by oblique, foot and hip injuries, is doing baseball activities in Florida and is “fairly healthy” besides feeling under the weather, Boone said.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (5-0, 2.14 ERA) was moved up a day to pitch Wednesday in place of Price. The 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner will be on regular rest because Boston was off Monday. Porcello threw seven shutout innings of two-hit ball in an April 12 win over the Yankees at Fenway Park.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (4-2, 4.39) is 8-4 with a 4.04 ERA in 15 career starts against Boston, including a win on April 11 when he allowed six runs in five innings. Tanaka is 2-0 with a 2.41 ERA in his last three outings and will be pitching on five days’ rest.
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