Josh Donaldson hasn’t been waiting long to make his presence felt against the Boston Red Sox.

Donaldson belted a grand slam in the first inning of the New York Yankees’ 6-5 series-opening victory over the Red Sox on Thursday. The 2015 American League MVP extended his home-run streak to three games on Friday, courtesy of a three-run blast in the first inning of New York’s 12-5 romp.

Donaldson and the Yankees will look to continue to flex their muscles on Saturday when they battle the host Red Sox in the third contest of their four-game series.

Donaldson is 5-for-12 with nine RBIs and five runs in the three-game winning streak for New York, which has erupted for 34 runs during that stretch. The Yankees have scored in double digits twice in those three games and a majors-best 14 times this season.

New York has a commanding 15.5-game lead in the American League East before the All-Star break.

“Love that we’ve built up this lead (in the standings), made a lot of deposits and inevitably you have to make some withdrawals along the way,” New York manager Aaron Boone said. “The guys keep grinding, pedal down and playing really well.”

Matt Carpenter added to the Yankees’ power display with a homer to lead off the fourth inning on Friday. Carpenter is 9-for-23 with three homers, seven RBIs and four runs in his past six games.

“I wake up every day and I’m so fired up to come to the park and put on this uniform,” said Carpenter, who has nine homers in 24 games with New York after totaling seven in 180 games spanning the 2020-21 seasons with St. Louis.

While the Yankees are cruising along, the Red Sox have lost four in a row and eight of their past 11 games. Boston is 9-20 against AL East representatives this season and 36-19 versus everyone else.

The Red Sox will attempt to turn the tide without All-Star third baseman Rafael Devers, who tweaked his back and exited after four innings on Friday.

“He won’t play in (Saturday’s) game. He’s feeling better, but we got to be sure we stop this,” Boston manager Alex Cora said.

The Red Sox will turn to rookie Kutter Crawford (2-2, 5.04 ERA) to start Saturday’s game.

Crawford, 26, split a pair of decisions against the Yankees earlier this season. He allowed Donaldson’s RBI single in the 11th inning of a 6-5 loss in New York on April 8 before returning two days later to scatter four hits over two scoreless innings in a 4-3 win.

Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery (3-2, 3.19 ERA) will attempt to snap a three-start winless streak on Saturday.

Montgomery, 29, surrendered nine runs on 15 hits in a pair of no-decisions last month before taking a hard-luck loss in his most recent outing. He allowed one run on three hits and struck out eight in five innings of a 2-0 setback at Cleveland last Sunday.

Montgomery is 1-2 with a 3.97 ERA in 12 career starts against Boston. He permitted three runs on four hits in 3 1/3 innings of a no-decision versus the Red Sox on April 10.

–Field Level Media