BOSTON — There were no late-game mishaps or blown saves this time.
But it’s still hard to envision a more disappointing loss for the Yankees, who had Gerrit Cole on the mound Friday night at Fenway Park and were in desperate need of a victory.
Instead, Cole was mediocre, the Yankees squandered a great opportunity to add runs in the top of the second inning and the Red Sox’s Rafael Devers hit a pair of huge homers to send them to a 6-2 defeat.
With the loss, the Yankees fell to nine games behind first-place Boston in the AL East. The Yankees have lost nine of 11 games this season to their rivals.
To make matters worse, they lost Gary Sanchez, who left the game with back spasms after the fifth inning.
The Yankees took the lead against left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez in the top of the second.
Sanchez led off with a walk and Gleyber Torres followed with a single.
Brett Gardner — starting against a lefty — belted a double to center to score Sanchez and move Torres to third.
Rodriguez motioned to the dugout after the play and was removed because of migraine symptoms, replaced by right-hander Phillips Valdez.
Valdez struck out Chris Gittens and hit Ryan LaMarre with a pitch to load the bases with one out.
But Greg Allen whiffed for the second out and DJ LeMahieu struck out looking to end the inning.
After making quick work of the Red Sox in the first two innings, Cole ran into trouble in the third.
Bobby Dalbec lined to second to lead off before Cole walked Kiké Hernandez and rookie Jarren Duran. After a visit from pitching coach Matt Blake, Cole went to a full count on Xander Bogaerts, but got the Red Sox shortstop looking for the second out.
Cole followed that with another full count to Devers before striking out the cleanup hitter swinging on a third straight 100 mph fastball to end the 30-pitch inning and keep Boston off the board.
J.D. Martinez opened the bottom of the fourth with a line shot, but Rougned Odor was shifted perfectly near second base to make the play.
Alex Verdugo followed with a double off the wall in center, but Cole got Hunter Renfroe to pop out and struck out Christian Vazquez looking.
Valdes left after three scoreless innings in which he struck out seven, and the Yankees threatened in the fifth against Yacksel Rios.
Giancarlo Stanton drew a two-out walk and Odor drilled a fly ball to the track in right, but Renfroe made the play.
Hernandez hit a rocket off the Green Monster in left with one out in the bottom of the fifth, but it went for just a single.
Duran then crushed a shot to right-center, and the ball bounced into the stands for a ground rule double. Hernandez would have scored standing up, but had to stay at third.
With runners on second and third, one out and Bogaerts up, the Yankees brought the infield in. On an 0-2 pitch, Bogaerts hit a sacrifice fly to right, just deep enough to score Hernandez and tie the game.
Devers then hit a two-run home run over the Monster in left-center to give Boston a 3-1 lead.
Rob Brantly hit for Sanchez to start the sixth.
The Yankees got a pair of runners on against Garrett Whitlock with one out in the seventh, but Stanton grounded out softly to short.
Both runners advanced before Odor came to the plate. Rather than walk Odor and pitch to Brantly, the Red Sox went after Odor, who flied to center.
Devers put the game away in the seventh with a three-run homer off Nestor Cortes.