AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) — Brett Gardner has never considered himself a home run hitter. If he can save himself a few sprints on the basepaths, that’s enough for him.
Gardner had three hits Sunday night, including a tiebreaking drive in the sixth for his 15th homer, sending the New York Yankees to an 8-7 victory over the Boston Red Sox. The speedy left fielder has five homers in six games; he had eight all of last year, his previous career high.
“That’s not my game,” said Gardner, who has more triples (39) than home runs (38) for his career. “It’s nice not having to run, beat out an infield hit or a hustle double or triple for a change.”
Former Red Sox infielder Stephen Drew had a pair of hits and drove in four runs in his third game with the Yankees since he was sent there at the trading deadline. Esmil Rogers (1-0), who was also picked up last week in a trade, earned the victory in his Yankees debut by throwing three hitless innings, striking out three and allowing one walk.
“Two guys we just brought in a few days ago,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s what we need: contributions from everyone.”
David Robertson pitched the ninth for his 29th save.
Craig Breslow (2-3) came in to relieve Clay Buchholz to start the sixth inning and gave up Gardner’s leadoff homer before retiring the next three batters.
Yankees starter David Phelps lasted just two innings, allowing five runs and six hits with two walks. He departed with right elbow inflammation and will be evaluated later this week in New York.
Boston starter Clay Buchholz allowed seven runs in five innings. He is the only starter remaining from the opening-day rotation after the defending World Champions traded Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront to start retooling for the 2015 season.
“It’s been a frustrating year for everyone in here,” Buchholz said. “We don’t want to go out there and wear a Red Sox uniform and perform the way I am. I need to pick it up during the season.”
Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz homered for Boston. Pedroia lined a 3-2 pitch just foul with two out in the bottom of the ninth one pitch before grounding out to shortstop to end the game.
The Red Sox led 3-0 after one inning, 5-3 after two and 7-4 after four. But the Yankees tied it in the fifth on Chase Headley’s RBI double and Drew’s two-run single.
“We tried to get Clay through that fifth inning, and unfortunately it doesn’t happen,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “The walks, once again. The walks have been a part in the runs we’ve allowed, and that was the case again tonight.”
THE TRAINER’S ROOM
Red Sox: Newly acquired first baseman Allen Craig missed his second straight game with foot soreness. Farrell says he hopes to have Craig in the lineup when the Red Sox are in St. Louis to face his former team this week. Outfielder Shane Victorino flew to Los Angeles on Sunday to see an orthopedic surgeon about his back.
Yankees: Right-hander Michael Pineda, who is on the 60-day disabled list with a right shoulder injury, will make a rehab start on Friday. Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (right elbow ligament) will see doctors as scheduled on Monday, three weeks after he received an injection as an alternative to surgery.
Red Sox: The Red Sox have their second off day in less than a week before a rematch with World Series opponent St. Louis. Rubby De La Rosa (3-4) will face Lance Lynn (11-8) in the opener.
Yankees: New York returns home for a four-game series against the Tigers. Brandon McCarthy (3-0) will face Detroit’s Max Scherzer (13-3) in the opener.
When Rogers appeared in relief in the fifth inning, he became the 29th pitcher used by the Yankees this season — a franchise record.
ATOP THE MONSTER
ESPN set up its broadcast crew in the Monster Seats above Fenway Park’s left-field wall.
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