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CC masterful as Yankees overtake Red Sox

Lefty earns trust to finish 7 IP with flourish; Bird hits 2 of club's 4 HRs
MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- There was a gleam in CC Sabathia's eyes as he stabbed a tapper to the first-base side of the mound, a rush of adrenaline momentarily erasing the consciousness that he has continued to work on a pair of balky knees. Charging toward the bag, he flipped the ball to Greg Bird, pumping his left fist before unleashing a PG-13-rated bellow.

That weakly hit ball off Mookie Betts' bat marked the final pitch thrown by Sabathia on Friday evening, as the big man came through in another huge spot. Rising to the occasion for what he had called his club's most important games of the season, Sabathia hurled seven sparkling innings and led the Yankees to an 8-1 victory over the Red Sox on Friday evening.

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NEW YORK -- There was a gleam in CC Sabathia's eyes as he stabbed a tapper to the first-base side of the mound, a rush of adrenaline momentarily erasing the consciousness that he has continued to work on a pair of balky knees. Charging toward the bag, he flipped the ball to Greg Bird, pumping his left fist before unleashing a PG-13-rated bellow.

That weakly hit ball off Mookie Betts' bat marked the final pitch thrown by Sabathia on Friday evening, as the big man came through in another huge spot. Rising to the occasion for what he had called his club's most important games of the season, Sabathia hurled seven sparkling innings and led the Yankees to an 8-1 victory over the Red Sox on Friday evening.

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Video: BOS@NYY: Sabathia holds Sox to 1 run over 7 innings

"We played a good game against a good team," Sabathia said. "I know what this team is capable of. I'm confident in this team and this bunch. Hopefully we can keep going out and playing like this the rest of the season."

The Yankees reclaimed the best record in the Majors as the "Baby Bombers" carried the offensive load behind Sabathia, with Bird enjoying the second multi-homer game of his career. Miguel Andujar and Aaron Judge also homered, powering New York to its Major League-leading 30th win at home.

Video: Must C Combo: Andujar and Bird hit back-to-back HRs

Working in front of a sellout crowd of 47,120, the Yankees' largest of the season, Sabathia limited Boston's potent lineup to a run on six hits in the 97-pitch effort. Less than a month shy of his 38th birthday, Sabathia improved to 7-1 with a 2.57 ERA in 12 starts against the Red Sox since the beginning of 2015.

"He was great. He's been great all year," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "That might have been his best outing, and to kick off a homestand against them -- that was a really good offense that he was in complete command against. CC set the tone by controlling their offense for the most part."

Video: BOS@NYY: Boone on Sabathia, Baby Bombers in 8-1 win

"We feed off that, just the energy he provides when he pounds the strike zone," Judge said. "He just dominates them. He doesn't miss a spot. It's fun to see out of him just pitching. I remember back in the day he used to go out there and throw 98, 99 [mph], but now he's pitching. It's fun to play defense behind a guy like that."

New York thumped Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez for five runs and seven hits over six innings. Gleyber Torres legged out his first career triple and scored on an Andujar single in the second inning, then lifted a sacrifice fly that drove home the second run in the fourth.

Video: BOS@NYY: Judge drills a 2-run homer to right field

Andujar continued the inning by launching a two-run homer to left, his 12th, and Bird immediately followed by slamming an opposite-field drive to left for his fourth homer. Judge put the game out of reach in the seventh, blasting a two-run shot to right off former Fresno State teammate Justin Haley, his 21st of the season, and Bird capped the scoring by homering off Haley in the eighth.

Video: BOS@NYY: Bird launches 2 solo home runs vs. Red Sox

"It's been all year," Sabathia said. "Since all these guys came up, they've been the biggest part of our team, all these rookies. Aaron Judge last year, [Gary] Sanchez two years ago, now you've got Torres and Miggy. These guys come up here and they play like veterans."

Video: Yankees slug multiple back-to-back homers

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
It may not have altered the final score, but Boone's decision to stick with Sabathia in the seventh inning generated goodwill with the hurler and the fans in attendance. Sabathia drilled No. 9 hitter Jackie Bradley Jr. with a two-out pitch, bringing up Betts, who had doubled in his last at-bat. With Chad Green ready in the bullpen, Boone gulped and decided that he would give Sabathia another chance to finish the seventh.

Video: BOS@NYY: Sabathia makes lunging play to retire Betts

"It meant a lot," Sabathia said. "I didn't even think about it because I'm just in it, but looking back, he could've just easily took me out right there for Betts. He stuck with me, and we got the out. ... Mookie is one of the best hitters in baseball. You don't ever want to give him a chance with a runner on base."

SOUND SMART
Since the beginning of 2017, Sabathia is 12-0 with a 2.47 ERA in 18 regular-season starts following a Yankees loss. He has allowed one or zero runs in seven of his last 11 starts against the Red Sox, dating to Aug. 6, 2015.

HE SAID IT
"I think it was just the emotion. High-stepping right there? I'm an old man. That was straight adrenaline." -- Sabathia, on his jog off the field after the top of the seventh

Video: BOS@NYY: Bird, Judge, Andujar and CC on win over Sox

UP NEXT
Right-hander Sonny Gray (5-5, 4.93 ERA) will head to the mound on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ET, taking on the Red Sox as the top clubs in the American League East continue their weekend showdown. Gray is seeking his first victory over Boston since joining the Yankees, having gone 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA in three starts to date. He will face left-hander Chris Sale (7-4, 2.56 ERA).

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, CC Sabathia