Alex Rodriguez hit his 17th home run in the first inning, Michael Pineda had another impressive start and the New York Yankees took advantage of Clay Buchholz's early exit and Boston's shoddy defense to beat the Red Sox 5-1 on Friday night.
Buchholz (7-7), who had won his previous four starts to spur Boston's recent turnaround, left with elbow tightness with one out in the third. The Yankees scored three unearned runs after his departure thanks to infield errors by Mike Napoli and Brock Holt as Boston's five-game winning streak was snapped.
Rodriguez had two hits and drew a bases-loaded walk in a three-run fourth to raise his average to .279.
Pineda (9-5) gave up only Mookie Betts' solo home run over 6 2-3 innings in his second start at Fenway Park since he was ejected early last year for having pine tar on his neck.
Back at DH after taking Thursday off, Rodriguez sent Buchholz's 2-1 changeup onto the street over the Green Monster seats in the first, and the Yankees were on to their third straight win and fifth in a row over their rivals.
The extent of Buccholz's elbow was not immediately known after he walked off after throwing a cutter clocked at 84 mph to Stephen Drew.
Robbie Ross Jr. replaced Buchholz with runners at second and third and one out, and the Red Sox quickly imploded. Napoli at first base and Holt at second committed errors, and Ross later walked in a run as New York took a 4-0 lead with three unearned runs.
Pineda left in the seventh with two outs and a runner on third, and Justin Wilson struck out Betts to end the threat.
Pineda allowed seven hits, no walks and struck out six. He's won both starts at Fenway Park since he was ejected and suspended 10 games for having a foreign substance on his body.
He quieted a Boston team that entered having won eight of 10 to move within 5 1/2 games of the AL East-leading Yankees.
The Red Sox, who have been as many as 10 games out and 10 games under .500, had few highlights outside of Betts' homer and his diving catch in center of Jacoby Ellsbury to start the game.
Napoli, back at first after being benched for three games, also dropped a foul pop that was ruled no play. He went 1 for 3.
Buchholz had been important in Boston's strong play of late, having won four straight starts with an 0.87 ERA. But he's lost both starts against the Yankees, who have won four straight at Fenway Park.
Yankees: 3B Chase Headley (sore right calf) said he feels well enough to play, but manager Joe Girardi kept him out of the lineup for a third straight day. Girardi said "it's crossed our minds" to sit him through the All-Star break. . OF Carlos Beltran (left oblique strain) plans to return next week following a minor league rehab stint in Tampa.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia (strained left hamstring) ran the bases Friday, but was not activated on his first day eligible to come off the disabled list. While Pedroia said he was "getting better," manager John Farrell hinted Pedroia may remain out through the All-Star break.
Yankees: RHP Ivan Nova (1-2, 2.65 ERA) starts Saturday night.
Red Sox: LHPs Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 3.69) and Wade Miley (8-7, 4.50) start the series' final two games. New York is hitting .242 against lefties, 16 points below its average vs. righties.