The New York Yankees will look to avoid being swept by the visiting Boston Red Sox on Sunday when they send right-hander Domingo German to the mound, where he'll be opposed by right-hander Garrett Richards in the finale of a three-game series.
The Red Sox deepened the Yankees' slump Saturday night, when Enrique Hernandez snapped out of an 0-for-27 skid with a tie-breaking RBI double that fueled a four-run eighth inning in Boston's 7-3 win.
The defeat was the third straight and the ninth in 12 games for the Yankees, who have been outscored 56-29 in that span while losing considerable ground in the American League East standings. New York, which was a half-game behind the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays following a sweep of the Chicago White Sox on May 23, fell into fourth place Saturday, 5 1/2 games back of the Rays.
The Yankees also went 3-9 from April 7-21, a stretch in which they fell into last place. New York beat the Cleveland Indians on April 22 to begin a 30-game stretch in which it went 22-8.
Despite his team's recent struggles, manager Aaron Boone remained confident Saturday that the Yankees are closer to the team that thrived between the two 12-game skids.
"I know the guys in that room and we believe we're too good," Boone said. "We're obviously going through a tough stretch. (They) know that this is part of it and we're taking our lumps right now. We've got an opportunity to turn it around and at least salvage a series (Sunday) and that's what our focus is and how we'll look at it."
The win provided some affirmation for the Red Sox, who'd scored just 12 runs in their previous five games before arriving in the Bronx and hadn't scored more than five runs in a game since a 5-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on May 28.
With No. 3 hitter J.D. Martinez a late scratch Saturday due to a sore wrist, manager Alex Cora moved Friday's fourth- through seventh-place hitters -- Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Hunter Renfroe and Marwin Gonzalez -- up a spot while giving starts to the slumping Hernandez and first baseman Bobby Dalbec, the latter of whom capped the eighth-inning outburst with a long two-run homer.
The homer was the first since May 20 for Dalbec, who was 2-for-23 in the prior eight games entering Saturday.
"Great for those guys to contribute -- (they've) been struggling," Cora said. "We shuffled the lineup today looking for some answers and we got seven runs."
German (4-3, 3.27 ERA) didn't factor into the decision Tuesday night, when he allowed three runs over five innings in the Yankees' 5-3, 11-inning win over the Rays. Richards (4-4, 3.75 ERA) took the loss Tuesday after giving up two runs over six innings as the Red Sox fell to the Houston Astros, 5-1.
German is 2-1 with a 5.11 ERA in six career games (five starts) against the Red Sox. Richards is 0-5 with an 8.42 ERA in seven games (six starts) against the Yankees.