Red Sox Notes: Hirokazu Sawamura Makes Strong Impression Vs. Yankees

Sawamura struck out five during his two relief innings

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Hirokazu Sawamura is coming into his own for the Boston Red Sox, and the right-handed reliever put together his best performance of the season Friday night in a 5-2 win over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Sawamura came out for the seventh and stayed on in the eighth inning, the Red Sox clutching a three-run lead after a strong start by Nathan Eovaldi.

Sawamura put the game away as he struck out five of the seven batters he faced. He struck out the side in the seventh and then bounced back after a lead-off walk to strike out the next two, including an inning-ending pop up to second baseman Christian Arroyo.

“Sawamura was outstanding,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said on a postgame video conference. “Today, he did an amazing job. The split, the slider, a good fastball. He kept them off balance, got them to chase pitches. A really good one for him.”

It was tied for his longest appearance of the season, but the only time he didn’t allow a hit while throwing two full frames.

Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Yankees:

— Eovaldi earned his seventh win of the season Friday after scattering eight hits in six innings of work. He allowed just one earned run while striking out seven Yankees batters.

Eovaldi broke down some of the reasons he’s been so successful this season.

“I think it’s just the consistency of my off-speed pitches,” Eovaldi said on a postgame video conference. “I’ve been feeling really good mechanically, there’s just a couple things I want to stay on top of, but first pitch strikes that’s been a thing pounding on all season.”

— A three-run home run by Rafael Devers in the first inning proved to be enough offense with the pitching staff working as well as it did. Devers turned on a Michael Smith fastball and sent it to the second deck, a no-doubter which measured at 429 feet.

It was home run No. 15 this season for the Red Sox slugger and gave the Red Sox a lead they would never relinquish.

“He’s a smart hitter,” Cora said. “That’s who he is. He looks lost for a little bit, but then he’s one swing away from doing damage. It started in Houston yesterday and today he crushed a ball to left-center, too. So he’s feeling good about himself right now.”

— The Red Sox were 1-15 at Yankee Stadium in their last two seasons, making Friday’s result all the more beneficial.

— Xander Bogaerts told reporters Wednesday night he was confident he would break out of the slump which caused he to go hitless in six consecutive games for the first time in his career. The Red Sox shortstop snapped it Thursday and further put it behind him Friday.

Bogaerts was one of two Boston batters to record two hits in Friday’s win and he scored a pair of runs to go along with it. He came around to score on a Devers home run after a first-inning single and scored from second in the sixth on a RBI double by Marwin Gonzalez.

— While Friday’s game was going on, the Red Sox officially completed the trade which sent outfielder Andrew Benintendi to the Kansas City Royals in February. Boston acquired right-handed pitchers Luis De La Rosa and Grant Gambrell from the Royals, as well as minor league outfielder Freddy Valdez from the Mets.

You can read more about them here.

— Speaking of that February trade, outfielder Franchy Cordero, who also came to Boston in that trade, probably hit the further home run to ever leave the yard at Polar Park in Worcester.

Check out his towering shot Friday:

— The Red Sox announced they will honor Dustin Pedroia during a pregame ceremony June 25 before hosting the Yankees at Fenway Park.

— The Red Sox will return to Yankee Stadium on Saturday for the second game of the three-game set with first pitch set for 7:15 p.m. ET.

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