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Yankees nip Red Sox thanks to review overturn, Little League HR

BOSTON — It’s still unclear what the Yankees roster is going to look like in October, as they wait for key players to potentially return from injury.

The lineup is a mess and the bullpen has holes, but the Yankees have won four straight since seeing their lead in the AL East fall to the slimmest it had been since early May.

“We’re getting better, getting healthier and more help is on the way,’’ Aaron Boone said after the Yankees beat the Red Sox for a second night in a row on Wednesday, this time 5-3 in front of a sellout crowd at Fenway Park.

The victory allowed the Yankees to preserve their six-game lead over the second-place Blue Jays, who beat Tampa Bay.

“We know what time of year it is and we know we’ve got to put our best foot forward,’’ Boone said. “So it’s been good to see guys really come together as we’re still piecing it together.”

Aaron Judge gives a safe signal after Gleyber Torres rounded the bases to score on a single and a three-base error, giving the Yankees three runs on the play in their 5-3 win over the Red Sox.
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

In these two games, it hardly mattered that the Red Sox are in last place in the division.

After they nearly came back in the 10th inning on Tuesday, Boston rallied again in the bottom of the eighth and nearly made it a one-run game before the Yankees caught a break to end the inning.

With the Yankees clinging to a two-run lead, J.D. Martinez seemed to avoid hitting into an inning-ending double play by beating Gleyber Torres’ throw from first, which would have allowed Alex Verdugo to score and cut Boston’s deficit to a run. But the Yankees challenged the play and replays showed Martinez stepped just in front of the base, never touching the bag, and was ruled out.

Nestor Cortes, who allowed one run in five innings, claps his hand after getting Enrique Hernandez to pop up to end the second inning in the Yankees' win.
Nestor Cortes, who allowed one run in five innings, claps his hand after getting Enrique Hernandez to pop up to end the second inning in the Yankees’ win.
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

Boone called the play “huge.”

The Yankees then held on in the ninth, despite Clay Holmes allowing a run for a third consecutive outing.

And while Aaron Judge remained at 57 homers, they got enough offense from their depleted lineup, since Nestor Cortes gave up just one run in five-plus innings in his second start back after missing time with a strained groin.

Torres sparked the win with another productive game at the plate.

Aaron Judge, who didn't homer in the game, hits an infield single during the fifth inning of the Yankees' victory.
Aaron Judge, who didn’t homer in the game, hits an infield single during the fifth inning of the Yankees’ victory.
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

The second baseman’s resurgence continued with his RBI single in the fifth inning that turned into a Keystone Kops home run thanks to some inept defense by the Red Sox, who made three errors on the night that led to four unearned runs.

In the fifth, Torres singled to right to drive in Aaron Hicks and then catcher Connor Wong took Verdugo’s throw from right and in an attempt to get Torres who had wandered too far around first, threw the ball back into right field.

It allowed Judge to score easily and a hustling Torres circled the bases and slid home safely.

Torres had a role in the Yankees’ final run of the night, when Abraham Almonte misplayed his long fly ball to center in the top of the ninth, allowing Tim Locastro to score after he pinch ran for Giancarlo Stanton.

Cortes pitched out of trouble in the second and then retired nine in a row at one point.

Boston got a run back in the bottom of the fifth on Wong’s double into the left-field corner that scored Rob Refsnyder from first.

Jose Trevino’s double high off the Green Monster in left scored Isiah Kiner-Falefa to make it 4-1.

Cortes left after walking Verdugo to start the bottom of the sixth and Clarke Schmidt entered and pitched two scoreless innings. Jonathan Loaisiga got into a jam in the eighth, allowing a run before the rally-killing double play by Martinez.

But the Yankees were able to put their second-half struggles further in the rearview mirror with just 19 games to play.

They’ve won eight of 10 since dropping six of seven earlier in the month.

“I think our confidence never died down,’’ Cortes said. “I know we’ve gone through tough stretches and I think that’s kept us stronger. What we’re doing now shows what type of team we are. I think we found our stride.”


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