BOSTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — James Paxton was brought to New York to be an ace starting pitcher. On Friday, his latest miserable outing added to one of the worst pitching weeks in Yankees franchise history.

Mookie Betts homered in his first three at-bats off Paxton and added an RBI double as the Red Sox beat New York 10-5 on Friday night, pulling within nine games of the AL East-leading Yankees.

Paxton (5-6) became just the fourth pitcher in big league history to allow a lead-off home run in three straight starts, according to STATS, after Brad Radke (2004), Brandon Backe (2008) and Yovani Gallardo (2017). Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon went deep off Paxton to open last Sunday in New York and Tampa Bay’s Travis d’Arnaud did the same on July 15 at Yankee Stadium.

“I thought I threw the ball pretty well, but they didn’t miss pitches where I made mistakes,” Paxton said. “They were swinging the bat really well.”

Paxton may be the only person who thought that Friday and his performance in the first inning this season has continued to put New York in an immediate hole. The lefty – who New York’s front office considers a premier pitcher – now has an 11.00 ERA in the first inning this year and has given up 10 first-inning home runs in 18 starts.

Overall, he allowed seven runs and nine hits in four innings, including a career-worst four homers, while striking out nine and walking none. His ERA rose to 4.72 and he has allowed 17 homers this season, including 11 in his last six starts.

New York has allowed 64 runs in its last six games, the most allowed by the Yankees in a six-game span. Yankees starters gave given up 47 runs — 43 earned — in that span, yielding 47 hits in 21 2/3 innings, including 16 homers. New York became the first team in the live ball era since 1920 whose starters allowed six or more runs in four innings or fewer in six straight games, according to STATS.

Every member of the Yankees starting staff now has an ERA well over 4. It’s putting even more pressure on General Manager Brian Cashman to pay up and finally acquire an ace pitcher at the July 31 trade deadline — something he’s failed to do for two straight years.

“It’s obviously been a rough week for us, so all we can do is dive in and, as best we can, try and tighten things up and get things corrected,” manager Aaron Boone said.

Austin Romine had three hits and drove in a pair of runs for the Yankees, who have lost four of six. New York didn’t score off Cashner until the sixth.

FARM TALK:

RHP Deivi Garcia made his third start for the Yankees’ Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre farm team and the 20-year-old allowed four runs and six hits in six innings while striking out four and walking one. Garcia has struck out 128 in 82 2/3 innings at three levels this season.

TRAINER’S ROOM:

Yankees: OF Cameron Maybin was activated after missing 27 games with a strained left calf and went 1 for 3. He crashed hard into the wall in left while trying to field a double by Sam Travis in the seventh, but waved to the bench that he was OK and stayed in the game. “That wall is as hard as it looks, but I feel OK,” Maybin said. . LHP Stephen Tarpley was optioned to Scranton.

UP NEXT:

Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia (5-5, 4.50 ERA) returns after lasting just four innings Monday in a loss at Minnesota. Sabathia is 18-14 against Boston, including 7-5 at Fenway Park.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)