BOSTON — The New York Yankees officially ended Boston’s three-year reign as AL East champs, blanking the Red Sox 5-0 Monday night behind another big effort by James Paxton.
Hours after the Red Sox parted ways with team president Dave Dombrowski, and right after former star David Ortiz returned to Fenway Park three months after being shot, they were shut out at home for the first time this season. Boston dropped 18 ½ games behind the division-leading Yankees with 18 games left.
The defending World Series champion Red Sox are still in playoff contention, but barely. They began the day eight games out of the second AL wild-card spot.
Paxton (13-6) won his eighth straight start, allowing four hits in 6 2/3 innings, as the Yankees increased their lead to nine games over second-place Tampa Bay. New York entered the day tied for the majors’ best record and improved to a season-high 45 games over .500.
Austin Romine and Gio Urshela each hit solo homers for the Yankees, who took the final three of a four-game series and finished the season 14-5 against their longtime rivals. New York increased its club record to 270 homers, a night after setting the mark.
Paxton struck out seven and walked three in setting a career best in victories.
Eduardo Rodríguez (17-6) gave up one run in six innings, striking out nine with five hits and a walk while throwing a season-high 117 pitches. He was 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA in his last four starts, and the Red Sox lost for just the second time (12-2) when he started at Fenway Park.
Romine sliced his homer down the right-field line past the Pesky Pole, making it 1-0 in the fifth.
New York broke it open by getting three runs off Darwinzon Hernandez in the seventh. Urshela led off with his homer into the Green Monster seats. DJ LeMahieu had an RBI double and scored on Gleyber Torres’ sacrifice fly.
Jackie Bradley Jr. had three hits for Boston.