When the New York Yankees needed to win games against Boston last September, Giancarlo Stanton’s bat carried them.

Stanton is off to a strong start after homering in the first two games and the Yankees are seeking an early sweep Sunday night when they host the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

Stanton hit a go-ahead homer in Saturday’s 4-2 win when he connected against Nick Pivetta in the sixth inning. Including the 6-2 loss in last October’s wild-card game, Stanton has homered in six straight games against the Red Sox.

“We’re talking about a great hitter, a great power hitter,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Going back now, he was in a pretty locked place and when G gets locked in, that’s what happens. “

Last season, Stanton went 7-for-12 with three homers and 10 RBIs during a three-game sweep at Boston Sept. 24-26.

“Just fortunate to get some balls over the plate and be on time and get the barrel to it,” Stanton said. “I can’t say it’s the rivalry or anything. I’m doing my homework and I’m getting the ball over the plate.”

Stanton’s quick start has the Yankees off to their first 2-0 start since Boone’s first season in 2018. They are seeking their first 3-0 start since opening 2003 with four straight wins.

Aside from figuring out a way to stop Stanton, the Red Sox are looking to avoid starting 0-3 for the second straight season. Boston was swept in a season-opening series to the Baltimore Orioles and then spent 85 days with a share of first place in the AL East.

So far, the Red Sox are 2-for-22 with runners in scoring position and have struck out 23 times. Alex Verdugo hit a two-run homer Saturday but Boston did not get a hit after the left fielder opened the fourth with a single.

“We’re right there,” Verdugo said. “We’re just a click away from everybody firing on the same page.”

The best news for Boston was Xander Bogaerts being in the lineup after experiencing right hamstring tightness on his RBI single in the 10th on Friday. Bogaerts went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts Saturday.

Jordan Montgomery, who was 6-7 with 3.83 ERA last season, takes the mound Sunday. He made a career-high 30 starts last season and allowed three runs or fewer in 23 starts.

Montgomery is hoping New York’s lineup can provide him with better run support after the Yankees scored three runs or fewer in 15 of his starts.

The left-hander is 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA in 11 career starts against the Red Sox. He was 0-2 with a 3.29 ERA in five starts against them last season.

Tanner Houck, who was 1-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 18 appearances (13 starts) last season, takes the mound for Boston. He was 3-0 with an 0.53 ERA in three starts during the pandemic 2020 season and 0-4 with a 3.68 ERA as a starting pitcher last season.

Houck is 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA in five career appearances (three starts) against the Yankees.

–Field Level Media