BOSTON — Luis Severino delivered a message with his first pitch on Friday night — a fastball under Mookie Betts’s chin, which sent Betts sprawling into the dirt, the Fenway Park crowd into a frenzy and Red Sox Manager Alex Cora into a tizzy.
What Severino could not deliver was the type of stop-the-bleeding performance that the Yankees so desperately needed from their ace, as they lost again to the Boston Red Sox, 4-1.
One night after the Yankees’ pitchers were pummeled, their bats were muzzled by the right-hander Rick Porcello, who continued his dominance at Fenway Park by pitching a complete-game one-hitter. He allowed only a third-inning solo homer to Miguel Andujar.
The loss dropped the Yankees seven and a half games behind the Red Sox in the American League East race, and the forecast for Saturday afternoon is no more encouraging. The Yankees will hand the ball to Chance Adams, a 23-year-old right-hander, for his major league debut.
It should not take long for Adams to notice that he is not pitching in Pawtucket.
This rivalry transitioned into a new era last season with the emergence of young stars on both teams, and it regained its edge in April when Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly hit Tyler Austin and precipitated a bench-clearing scrum.
Manager Aaron Boone had maintained confidence that Severino, who has been far from his All-Star form the last month, was close to regaining his touch. But after Porcello began the game by hitting Brett Gardner with an 0-2 pitch — a circumstance that hardly seemed intentional — Severino dusted off Betts with a 95 mile-per-hour fastball.
Whether he was responding to Gardner’s being hit — or to a brushback of Giancarlo Stanton in Thursday’s rout — Severino has not shied away from protecting his teammates. Two years ago, he was ejected after hitting Toronto’s Justin Smoak, which happened after J.A. Happ retaliated for Severino’s hitting Josh Donaldson.
As the Fenway crowd howled and Betts brushed himself off, home plate umpire Adam Hamari pointed to both dugouts, warning that another purpose pitch would lead to ejections of the pitcher and his manager.
That brought Cora, the Red Sox’ manager, charging out of the dugout toward home plate. As he neared, Hamari held up his hand for Cora to stop, then almost immediately ejected him. Cora was unbowed, jabbing the space in front of Hamari with his index finger and yelling at him. The rookie manager at least got his money’s worth.
When play resumed, Severino retired Betts on a ground ball, but Andrew Benintendi followed by looping a ground-rule double down the right-field line.
Steve Pearce, whose three home runs on Thursday night earned him a spot in the Friday lineup against the right-handed Severino, crushed a 1-0 fastball over the Green Monster. The Red Sox extended the lead to 3-0 when Ian Kinsler walked with two outs, stole second and scored on Eduardo Nunez’s bloop single to center.
The way Porcello pitched, that was plenty.
Porcello, who carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning in April against the Yankees, struck out nine, walked none and was in such complete command that he needed only 86 pitches to complete the game.