NEW YORK -- Vidal Nuno rebounded from two awful starts to pitch two-hit ball into the sixth inning, Kelly Johnson and Brett Gardner hit consecutive homers, and the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 6-0 on Friday night in the opener of a series between struggling powers.
Brian McCann added a two-run homer for New York, which has won six of the eight meetings with Boston this season.
In his first at-bat as a 40-year-old, Derek Jeter fisted a single to right field with one out in the first. His birthday was on Thursday, the Yankees' final day off before playing 17 straight going into the All-Star break.
After Jacoby Ellsbury doubled, Jeter scored on Mark Teixeira's sacrifice fly off Brandon Workman (1-1) for the early lead. The Yankees captain also singled in the fourth for hit No. 3,390 and went 2 for 4 in New York's second win in six games.
The Red Sox have been playing even worse, scoring three runs or fewer for the 11th time in 13 games and losing for the sixth time in eight games. Fourth in the rugged AL East, Boston trails the Yankees, who entered the night in third, by six games.
New York manager Joe Girardi could have skipped the struggling Nuno (2-4) and given the ball to rookie ace Masahiro Tanaka because of the extra day of rest but, in a feisty pregame Q&A with media, Girardi insisted he was interested in protecting his entire staff, not just the Japanese sensation.
Nuno rewarded Girardi with 5 2/3 impressive innings after he gave up a total of 13 runs in 9 1/3 innings in losses to Oakland and Baltimore. He yielded a leadoff single to Jonny Gomes in the second and a one-out double in the third to Brock Holt. Nuno then retired 10 straight before walking David Ortiz, his last batter.
Dellin Betances, Adam Warren and Matt Thornton finished the three-hitter.
Holt possibly saved a run in the second when he made a leaping catch above the wall on Brian Roberts' fly to right field. But he could only watch as Johnson's two-run homer in the fourth went deep into the bleachers in right field, his first home run in 85 at-bats.
Gardner connected six pitches later, giving New York a 4-0 lead.
Workman was otherwise solid, allowing seven hits and two walks in seven innings. He struck out five.
McCann golfed a drive into the second deck in right off Craig Breslow in the eighth.