If the Yankees offense hadn’t been such a mess all year, the focus tonight would surely be on Hiroki Kuroda, who was the single biggest reason the Yankees beat the Red Sox 5-1 to pull within four games of the second wild card. But let’s face it, strong pitching performances are nothing new this season, and the question is whether the Yankees offense can rise to the challenge of a one-month push toward the postseason. Tonight’s answer was … maybe. There were familiar problems — a costly base-running mistake in the first inning, bases left loaded in the sixth, a runner thrown out at home in the seventh — but there were also positive signs. Brian McCann hit his 17th home run. McCann and Brett Gardner late RBI singles. The team scored more than four runs for just the second time in six games. Not coincidentally, the Yankees also won for just the second time in six games. Gardner and Derek Jeter completely botched a double steal in the first inning, but the team ultimately made up for it with 11 hits, including four from McCann. Kuroda was terrific. He allowed one run through seven innings to win for the third time in his past four starts. He had eight strikeouts without walking a batter, building his own bridge to Dellin Betances and Dave Robertson.
Associated Press photo