BOSTON — The Yankees appear set to storm into the postseason and J.A. Happ is making a case to be a key part of it.
As the Yankees won their season-high 10th straight on Saturday night, the left-hander dominated the Red Sox in an 8-0 victory, throwing eight scoreless innings. It’s their longest winning streak since 2012.
He got plenty of support from the lineup, especially from Clint Frazier, who drove in three runs.
The win also cut the Yankees’ magic number to reach the playoffs to one.
The 37-year-old Happ continued his turnaround, from rotation afterthought to a candidate to pitch in the playoffs. He’s now 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his past six starts, the lowest mark by a Yankees starter in that span.
He was terrific again against a feeble Red Sox team that is just playing out the string in an ugly season. Happ gave up just four hits — and no walks — while striking out nine.
By the time Happ even took the mound, the Yankees led 2-0.
DJ LeMahieu opened the game with a single to right to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. Aaron Judge followed with a walk. After Brett Gardner struck out, Boston opener Chris Mazza walked Luke Voit to load the bases for Gio Urshela, who hit a fly ball to shallow right field.
Cesar Puello made a strong throw that might have been able to get LeMahieu at the plate, but Mazza cut it off and LeMahieu scored to give the Yankees the lead. Frazier then singled to left to drive in Judge to make it 2-0.
Gardner hustled for a double with one out in the third, sliding under the tag of Xander Bogaerts. But Gardner erased his good baserunning on the next play, when he ill-advisedly tried to get to third on Luke Voit’s fly ball to right, but he was thrown out easily.
The Yankees added two more runs against Mazza in the fourth, as the right-hander was hurt by some bad defense— mostly from Bogaerts, who made a pair of errors in the inning.
Frazier had a one-out single before Mike Tauchman hit a grounder to Bogaerts, but Bogaerts botched it.
Kyle Higashioka then singled through the right side of the infield to score Frazier. Tyler Wade followed with a grounder to Bogaerts, who got the force at second before throwing wildly to first, allowing Tauchman to score and Wade to advance to second.
Voit added an RBI single in the top of the fifth and Frazier belted a homer to right-center to make it 7-0 later in the inning.
Meanwhile, Happ made it look easy in a 113-pitch outing.
He gave up just an infield hit to Bogaerts in the first and a single to center by J.D. Martinez in the fourth before Kevin Plawecki’s double with two outs in the seventh. And he pitched out of a jam in the eighth, when the Red Sox had runners on the corners and no one out and didn’t score.
It’s quite a contrast from where the left-hander was earlier in the season, when he accused the Yankees of skipping his starts to avoid next year’s $17 million vesting option from kicking in.
The Yankees will look to close out the series sweep Sunday at Fenway Park, looking to put some distance between themselves and the Twins for the fourth seed in the American League — as well as keep pressure on the Rays for the lead in the AL East.
Saturday’s win was also the Yankees’ 12th in a row over Boston, matching the franchise record for consecutive victories over their archrivals, last accomplished in 1952-53.
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