It obscures the problems in the Yankees’ rotation, with Michael Pineda on the disabled list, and the performance or health of nearly all the other starters a matter of concern for the team.
The strong bats also make it easy to gloss over the occasional mishaps in the field, which were abundant in this game, particularly when Chris Young let a fly ball drop to the turf.
Even Manager Joe Girardi, reacting to a question about an unusual strategic decision as if it were a congressional inquiry, could shrug off any issues surrounding his squad.
When the Yankees score runs they way they have over the last two weeks — 90 in their last 10 games — warts are transformed into beauty marks.
The final score notwithstanding, it was not as comfortable an evening as it might have been for the Yankees, who maintained their five-and-a-half-game lead in the American League East, but who will not have the good fortune of playing the Red Sox in October.
Instead of seeing their last-place rivals, a club they have beaten in seven of their last eight meetings, the Yankees are likely to see teams like Kansas City, Houston and the Los Angeles Angels in the playoffs. Those teams are younger, more dynamic and more able to test their fielders than the Red Sox were.
“Hey, let’s just get to October,” Girardi said after the game at Yankee Stadium. “We’ll worry about that then. The bottom line is we’re winning games. However you win ’em, you win ’em. That’s the bottom line. So, just keep winning.”
Brian McCann, who delivered the go-ahead hit with a sixth-inning double, blew the game open with a three-run homer during a nine-run seventh. The Yankees also got a sharp performance from Masahiro Tanaka, Mark Teixeira bumped his American League-leading R.B.I. total to 76 with a pair of run-scoring singles, and Dellin Betances delivered a crucial strikeout — all of which took place while the game was in the balance.
But it was not a smooth performance by the Yankees. Young allowed a fly ball to drop untouched and was caught flat-footed on a single hit to him. Tanaka and third baseman Chase Headley collided while fielding a bunt, and McCann struggled to corral bouncing baseballs behind the plate, his knee once buckling when he shifted his weight awkwardly.
McCann said he was all right afterward, but the play occurred after an unusual managerial move. With the Yankees clinging to a 4-3 lead in the seventh, Girardi replaced Justin Wilson with Betances after Rusney Castillo stole second on an 0-2 pitch to Jackie Bradley Jr.
Betances walked Bradley. After a wild pitch and a stolen base put the tying runs in scoring position, Betances struck out Brock Holt to end the inning.
Asked about the unusual move of changing pitchers in the middle of an at-bat, Girardi replied, “Strategy.”
Asked to explain, Girardi said: “I’m not telling you. Write what you want. I’m not saying anything.”
Wilson said he was disappointed to come out of the game in that situation, but said it was not his call to make. Betances said he was surprised to be called upon in that circumstance.
“It’s odd because it was the in the middle of the at-bat,” he said. “I didn’t make it look easy, but 1-2 I like my chances. I don’t think anybody was expecting it.”
Henry Owens, a lanky left-hander making his major-league debut for the Red Sox, was jittery at the start, but he settled down and retired 12 in a row after Headley’s leadoff single in the second. When Young singled and Alex Rodriguez doubled to begin the sixth, Red Sox Manager John Farrell turned to his bullpen.
Teixeira greeted Ricky Ross Jr. with a run-scoring single to tie the score, McCann followed with a double to put the Yankees ahead, 3-2, and Teixeira scored on Beltran’s ground out. That run proved important when Pablo Sandoval homered off Tanaka to lead off the seventh.
A throwing error by shortstop Xander Bogaerts put Jacoby Ellsbury on base to begin the bottom of the inning, and that was all the encouragement the Yankees’ hitters needed. Young walked, and Rodriguez singled in Ellsbury before McCann homered off Jean Machi.
“The more stress you put on a pitcher, when he’s really having to work to get each and every out, it wears on him, and eventually you’re going to break through,” Headley said, explaining the Yankees’ recent success. “You’re not relying on one guy to get the big hit every single time.”
About the only Yankee who did not contribute in the seventh was Teixeira, who struck out twice as the Yankees sent 13 batters to the plate. The final flourish was delivered by Young, whose three-run homer capped an inning that was much more comfortable than the rest of the night.
Outfielder DUSTIN ACKLEY, acquired Thursday from Seattle, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a herniated disk. The injury occurred sometime after Ackley joined the Yankees. … Outfielder MASON WILLIAMS, who has been out since mid-June with a separated shoulder, will undergo surgery Friday and is out for the season. … Pitcher LUIS SEVERINO, who will make his major-league debut Wednesday for the Yankees, will remain in the rotation while Michael Pineda, who went on the disabled list last week, recovers from a forearm strain, General Manager Brian Cashman said. … After Tuesday’s game, the Yankees optioned reliever Nick Rumbelow to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. A corresponding move will be made Wednesday.