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Game 1: Yankees 3, Red Sox 2

Red Sox’ rally fizzles in ninth as Yankees win first game of doubleheader

The Yankees' D.J. LeMahieu (background) heads home with a run in the sixth inning, to the dismay of Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

In the big picture, it meant virtually nothing.

But the Red Sox fell to the Yankees, 3-2, Tuesday afternoon in the first game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park.

Yankees closer Clay Holmes relinquished three consecutive one-out walks in the ninth inning to bring up Alex Verdugo, who swung at the first pitch he saw, grounding out into a game-ending double play.

Verdugo had dominated Holmes in his career, albeit in a small sample size, going 3 for 4 against the righthander.

“It’s not for me to second guess him or whatever because he’s been really good against him,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “And that pitch was middle-middle.”

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Sox starter Nick Pivetta cruised through five scoreless frames. But in the sixth, with his club up, 2-0, the righthander coughed up the lead.

Pivetta opened the inning with a hit batsman and a single, getting the Yankees back to the top of their order. D.J. LeMahieu then thumped an RBI double to left field, making it 2-1.

Pivetta induced an Aaron Judge fly to right for the first out, but with the infield drawn in, Gleyber Torres poked a ground single to right, scoring the tying and go-ahead runs.

“I hit the guy and just left some mistake pitches in the middle zone, and they really capitalize on those pitches that unfortunately didn’t go my way,” said Pivetta. “But [reliever Mauricio Llovera] did a good job coming in after me for 1⅔ innings, was tremendous. John [Schreiber]. Even the fight that guys gave with their ABs in the ninth inning was a really positive note to end the game.”

Nick Pivetta hurled five scoreless innings before surrendering the lead in the sixth inning, finishing with 10 strikeouts.Steven Senne/Associated Press

Though Pivetta faltered in the sixth, the righthander put together a positive showing, going 5⅓ innings, yielding just four hits while striking out 10.

“He was good,” said Cora. “There was just the hit by pitch and ball off the end of the bat for a double. And Gleyber just put the ball in play. They scored three but he didn’t get crushed. He was outstanding. Good fastball, good breaking ball, good slider. Really good.”

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With James Paxton done for the season, Pivetta will remain in the rotation. Pivetta was moved to the bullpen in May, where he found his footing in high-leverage situations or as a bulk guy to an opener. Pivetta, who will be a free agent at the end of next season, doesn’t see this opportunity as a means to prove his value once again as a starter, taking more of a team-centric approach.

“I’m not thinking about it that way,” Pivetta said. “I think I just want to go out there and perform for my teammates, for the organization. I want to win baseball games and try to put my team in the best position to win.

“I’m capable of doing anything at any time. I had some positive things and had some negative things from today. But I think it’s just being consistent and just going out there playing for others is what’s more important to me, and finishing the year on a strong note as a team as a whole. I think that’s the biggest thing. That’s all I really care about.”

Rafael Devers delivered a solo homer in the fourth off Randy Vasquez, his 30th of the season, becoming the third Red Sox player (after Ted Williams and Jim Rice) with three 30-homer seasons by his age-26 season.

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“He made some subtle adjustments the last two weeks and he’s been able to catch up with the fastball,” said Cora. “So that’s something that we’ve been talking about. His discipline has been great. He’s been taking his walks.”


Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him @byJulianMack.