NEW YORK (AP) — With his father and brother among dozens of supporters in the stands, Rick Porcello certainly didn’t want to get knocked out in the first inning.
Porcello recovered neatly from a rocky start and rookie catcher Blake Swihart had two homers and five RBIs to lead the streaking Boston Red Sox past the New York Yankees 10-4 Tuesday night.
New York’s playoff push was delayed once again by its longtime rival. Porcello (9-14) pitched eight innings, Mookie Betts hit a solo home run and the Red Sox (77-80) won their season-best fifth straight game to pass the Orioles for third place in the AL East.
“Outstanding effort,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “Rick just did a great job of settling in. Made some really good adjustments, him and Blake Swihart.”
New York is running second in the division and was spared the possibility of the Blue Jays clinching the crown Tuesday when they were rained out in Baltimore. Still looking to lock up at least a wild card, the Yankees need two wins in their final five games — or some help — to reach the postseason for the first time since 2012.
Michael Pineda (12-9) was 3-0 with a 3.14 ERA in his previous five outings and had pitched very well against Boston since joining the Yankees. But he gave up hits to three of his first four batters as the Red Sox scored six runs in the first inning for the first time at Yankee Stadium.
“That team is playing really good baseball. That’s a different team than we saw all spring and summer, so give those guys credit. They’re playing hard,” said Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, who struck out twice and grounded into a double play while going 0 for 4.
“This is their playoff and they want to make an impact and we would be the same way playing against them.”
Brock Holt hustled for an RBI double and Swihart capped the outburst with a three-run homer to the short porch in right field. Pineda bent over at the waist and shook his head, moments before the Yankees began to get a reliever loose in the bullpen.
New York responded with four runs in the bottom half off Porcello, who grew up a Mets fan in New Jersey about an hour from Yankee Stadium. Carlos Beltran hit an RBI double, and Dustin Ackley had a two-run homer. But the right-hander regrouped from there and did not allow any more damage, throwing 118 pitches in eight innings.
“I think honestly that was one of my best starts all year,” Porcello said, adding he got a helpful mound visit from pitching coach Carl Willis after Ackley’s homer. “Sometimes you need a kick in the butt. ... That definitely resonated with me.”
Jacoby Ellsbury made a bid for a go-ahead, three-run homer in the fourth but the ball was caught at the right-field fence.
Betts homered on Pineda’s first pitch in the fifth, and Swihart added a two-run drive off Bryan Mitchell in the eighth.
It was the first multihomer game for Swihart, who entered with three long balls this season. He topped his previous career best of three RBIs.
“You see the ball pretty well here. I don’t know if those balls I hit are home runs anywhere else but here,” Swihart said.
The last time the Red Sox scored six or more runs in the first inning against the Yankees was an eight-run barrage at Fenway Park on Sept. 26, 1989.
Red Sox OF Rusney Castillo (right quadriceps) was held out again as a precaution even though he was medically cleared to play. “Just need one more day,” Lovullo said. “He’s eager to play.” ... RHP Steven Wright (concussion) is still experiencing headaches and was scheduled to see a doctor in Pittsburgh. Wright is expected to rejoin the team this weekend in Cleveland but it’s “very doubtful” the knuckleballer will pitch again this season, Lovullo said. ... RHP Clay Buchholz (strained right elbow) is scheduled to throw one more bullpen this week but will not pitch before the season ends. “We’re just getting feedback as to how he feels and the health of his arm. He says everything is perfect,” Lovullo said.
Red Sox: LHP Wade Miley (11-11, 4.39 ERA) has lasted at least six innings in each of his last 10 outings. He is 0-2 with a 5.60 ERA in three starts against New York this season.
Yankees: Weather permitting, RHP Masahiro Tanaka (12-7, 3.38) gets his tuneup Wednesday night for a likely start in a potential wild-card game next Tuesday. Tanaka’s previous turn in the rotation was skipped because of a strained right hamstring.