The Boston Red Sox fell short offensively, costing them an early series victory over the New York Yankees in the American League East rivals’ first meet of the season.

Boston entered the series in search of momentum and with New York missing its best player in Aaron Judge, who was placed on the 15-day injured list ahead of the series, the Red Sox already has one less (but still major) worry off the table. Yet, that still wasn’t enough as the Red Sox succumbed to their struggles at the plate which have constantly haunted them throughout the first half of the season.

The Red Sox went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 men on the basepaths, failing to provide any support beyond a single run to Boston’s pitching. Meanwhile, that all covered up an elite performance in the making from Boston’s starting pitcher Tanner Houck.

“The most important thing with Tanner is his mechanics, you know,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told Ken Rosenthal in the third inning, per FOX Sports video. “When his mechanics are on, he’s gonna throw a lot of strikes and when he’s off we have to find a way to throw strikes.”

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Houck maintained that poise plus the improvements and adjustments he’s made in order to maintain his spot in the starting rotation, pitching six innings while allowing just two runs off three hits and a walk with six strikeouts in the losing effort. The right-hander was unhittable to begin the night, collecting all of his strikeouts through the first nine batters faced. He’s continued to break out of his previous costly habits, this time slowly becoming more dominant as the innings piled up.

Yet, in falling short, the Red Sox also fell below .500 at 32-33 on the season.

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Here are more notes from Saturday night’s Red Sox-Yankees game:

— The Red Sox dropped to 14 games behind the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays and are the only team in the AL East with a record below .500.

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— Rafael Devers went 1-for-4 with a home run, which was his second in as many days against the Yankees. Devers raised his career home run total in matchups with the Yankees to 21, surpassing Ted Williams (20) for the most by a player in franchise history before turning 27 years old, according to Sean McAdam of MassLive.

— In Houck’s last six starts, the Red Sox are 0-6. Houck hasn’t taken home a victory since May 2 when the Red Sox faced the Toronto Blue Jays.

— Boston has allowed four or fewer runs in 18 of its last 23 games played.

— The Red Sox and Yankees will finish off their three-game series on Sunday night. First pitch from Yankee Stadium is set for 7:10 p.m. ET, and the matchup will be aired on ESPN. Boston returns to NESN on Monday, opening up a homestand against the Colorado Rockies at Fenway Park.

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Featured image via Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports Images