The Boston Red Sox improved to .500 when they defeated the New York Yankees in the opener of the three-game series against their divisional rival on Friday night.

Boston knocked in three runs off 10 hits, including solo home runs from Rafael Devers and Kiké Hernández behind the solid pitching of Garrett Whitlock and the bullpen to earn the victory in the Bronx.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was pleased with the all-around game played by Boston.

“It’s a good baseball game. We pitched well, hit the ball out of the ballpark, that’s always good, and play decent defense,” Cora told reports, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “It was a good start to the series. Now, we got two shots to win the series.”

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Whitlock pitched 6 1/3 innings giving up two runs on seven hits while striking out six and walking one. He threw 71.6 % of his pitches for strikes (63 of 88 pitches) which helped secure his second victory of the season. The outing gave the Red Sox what it needed to not burn out the bullpen.

“It was important. We’ve been banged up a little bit, usage-wise,” Cora said. “He gave us enough. Nick (Pivetta) was outstanding, Chris (Martin) too. … I think overall, a great pitching game.”

As solid as he was on the mound, Whitlock didn’t take all the credit for his outing.

“(Connor) Wong was able to guide me through that tonight. I thought his pitch selection was fantastic,” Whitlock told reporters, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “And luckily I was able to throw the slider to both righties and lefties and also the changeup so I was happy about that.”

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Whitlock acknowledged that it has been a challenge changing roles from reliever to starter and is thankful for the support he gets in the clubhouse.

“I’m trying to build on each start and really lean on the veterans here that have had the amount of time they’ve had starting,” Whitlock said. “Trying to lean on them and learn from their wisdom.”

Out of the Red Sox pitching staff, the 26-year-old said one stands out the most in guiding him — Corey Kluber.

“All these have helped me a ton, but Kluber is with pitch selection and reading at-bats, Kulber has helped me tremendously,” Whitlock explained. “I’ve talked to him in the dugout, going over our pitches and everything. He’s been a help trying to help me read swings and see what I see pitch after pitch.”

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

— Cora provided an update on Yu Chang, who he hopes will rejoin the team on Monday when the Red Sox return home to face the Colorado Rockies.

“He was a little sore after the game yesterday,” Cora said, per NESN. “We just got to make sure he feels okay. He didn’t play today. He’s not going to play tomorrow or Sunday. We just got to make sure. … He’s very important to us. We have to make sure he is ready to go.”

— Heading into the game with a 7-0 record, the Red Sox handed Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole his first loss of the season.

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— The Red Sox improved to 11-10 in series openers this season.

— The Red Sox continue their three-game series with New York on Saturday night. First pitch from Yankee Stadium is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. ET and will be aired on FOX. The Red Sox will return to NESN’s airwaves on Monday night when Boston hosts the Rockies at Fenway Park.

Featured image via John Jones/USA TODAY Sports Images