The three hits were the most Gardner has recorded in a game this season.
His emergence validated the faith that Boone placed in him before the game, when he said he had no intention of moving Gardner out of the leadoff spot except perhaps against tough left-handed pitchers. Boone said that Gardner was still getting on base, with 20 walks, tied for second on the team behind Judge and that the team’s internal data — including exit velocity — showed that better luck was likely ahead.
“Any time you’re look up at the board and you’re hitting .200, maybe you see some numbers that suggest you should be hitting a little better or otherwise, it’s kind of a good feeling,” Gardner said. “Up there at the plate, I haven’t felt completely lost. I’ve felt good physically. I’ve been seeing the ball well.”
Boone also placed a great deal of trust in Masahiro Tanaka, allowing him to pitch into the sixth inning on a night when he looked vulnerable from the start.
It took Tanaka 21 pitches just to navigate a 1-2-3 first inning, and Moreland clubbed a two-run homer in the second. Andrew Benintendi hit a solo homer off Tanaka in the fifth.
In all, Tanaka allowed a season-high eight hits, walked two and was charged with four runs. He was spared more damage thanks to his defense, which turned two double plays behind him, and Judge, whose diving catch in right robbed J.D. Martinez of a hit — and left a large divot.
Still, Tanaka managed to hand a lead to the Yankees’ bullpen in the sixth, but it was gone only an inning later, when Ramirez hit a 1-1 slider into the second deck in left field.
The Red Sox appeared poised to put some distance between themselves and the Yankees in the eighth, but Chasen Shreve and Jonathan Holder worked out of a second-and-third, none-out jam to keep the Yankees within range.
These days, though, who knows how far that range extends?
“There’s nights when we get beat and there’s nights when we can’t seem to figure somebody out,” Gardner said. “But I think we all have a lot of confidence in each other that we’re going to get the job done. It doesn’t matter if we’re down one run or four or five runs we feel like we’re within striking distance.”