BOSTON – The music blared in the clubhouse behind the door to manager Aaron Boone’s office — “New York, New York” was playing through the speakers, and a few voices could be heard joining in on the lyrics.
The New York Yankees had an extra reason to be happy after ending their longtime rivals’ run atop the AL East.
New York officially stopped Boston’s three-year reign as division champs, blanking the Red Sox 5-0 Monday night behind another big effort by James Paxton.
“Absolutely, it’s awesome,” Paxton said. “We feel really confident as a team right now and it feels great to knock those guys out.”
Hours after the defending World Series champion Red Sox parted ways with team president Dave Dombrowski, and right after former star David Ortiz returned to Fenway Park three months after being shot, they were shut out at home for the first time this season.
Boston dropped 18½ games behind the division-leading Yankees with 18 games left.
The Red Sox are still in playoff contention, but barely. They remained eight games behind the second wild-card spot.
Paxton (13-6) won his eighth straight start, allowing four hits in 6⅔ innings, as New York increased its lead to nine games over second-place Tampa Bay. The Yankees (95-50) are tied with Houston for the best record in the majors.
Austin Romine and Gio Urshela each hit solo homers for New York, which took the final three of a four-game series and finished the season 14-5 against its longtime rival. The Yankees increased their club record to 270 homers, a night after setting the mark.
“It’s not about talent. We’re very talented, it just happened that over 19 games they were better than us,” Boston manager Alex Cora said.
Paxton struck out seven and walked three in setting a career best in victories.
Eduardo Rodriguez (17-6) gave up one run in six innings, striking out nine with five hits and a walk while throwing a season-high 117 pitches. He was 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA in his last four starts, and the Red Sox lost for just the second time (12-2) when he started at Fenway Park.
Astros 15, Athletics 0
In Houston, the Astros battered Oakland pitching for 11 runs on 12 hits — six of them home runs — in the first two innings as the Astros hammered the Athletics to set a franchise record for home wins, improving to 56-17 at Minute Maid Park.
Robinson Chirinos went 3-for-4, crushed a pair of home runs and drove in a career-high-tying six runs to help the Astros match their club record with seven homers in a game.
Mets 3, Diamondbacks 1
In New York, Pete Alonso belted two solo shots to as he continues his chase of baseball’s single-season rookie home run record, and the Mets topped Arizona in the opener of a pivotal four-game series.
Alonso gave New York a quick lead with a homer in the first and provided their final run in the fifth. The two homers give him a major-league-leading 47, five shy of the rookie record set by the Yankees’ Aaron Judge in 2017.
Brewers 8, Marlins 3
In Miami, rookie Trent Grisham belted a career-high five hits and hometown hero Yasmani Grandal smashed a two-run homer to lead Milwaukee over the hosts.
Grisham went 5-for-6 with three singles, a double, a triple and two RBIs. Grandal, a former University of Miami Hurricanes star, went 2-for-5 with two runs.
Indians 6, Angels 2
In Anaheim, Yu Chang broke open a close game with a three-run homer in support of Shane Bieber, who threw seven strong innings as Cleveland downed the Angels.
Los Angeles designated hitter Shohei Ohtani was hitless in four at-bats, including two strikeouts.
In Other Games
Cubs 10, Padres 2
Pirates 6, Giants 4
Braves 7, Phillies 2
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5