Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Red Sox Continue to Roll Yanks

Red Sox Continue ‘09 Dominance

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
1 1 1 1 0 0 2 0 0
6 11 0
NY Yankees
0 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 0
4 9 2

When the Yankees look out on the mound at the Boston Red SoxJon Lester, they see the culmination of good scouting, hard work, and talent coming to fruition. The Yankees hope one day they can look at Phil Hughes the same way. For now though, Hughes is still a work in progress. Meanwhile, Lester is dominating major league hitters. He did so last night in beating the Yankees 6-4 after a 2 hour-17 minute rain delay that pushed back the start of the game to 9:22 ET.

Save for a couple of home run balls, Lester used a mid-90s fastball and wide sweeping breaking pitches to strike out 10 hitters in 7 innings. In doing so he evened his record at 2-2. Hughes was ineffective in his four innings of work. YES announcer Michael Kay repeatedly pointed out that Hughes only allowed one run per inning, but those runs add up. Hughes threw 94 pitches, just 56 for strikes. He allowed 7hits, walked 4, and struck out just 2 in an outing that was the complete opposite of the dominant performance he had last week in Detroit.

Mike Lowell was Hughes’ biggest nemesis. He cracked a long home run in the second inning that gave the Sox a 2-0 lead and added an RBI single an inning later. David Ortiz, hitting just .208 entering the game, had a pair of doubles off Hughes, with an RBI and a run scored.

The Yankees were as lifeless as the rain soaked crowd for much of the game. Lester struck out Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, and Mark Teixeira to start the game, then added strikeouts of Melky Cabrera and Jose Molina with two on and two out in the second inning. It wasn’t until Jeter was called out on strikes in the fifth inning that the Yankees came to life.

Jeter didn’t like the called third strike from home plate ump Jerry Meals, who had seemingly squeezed the strike zone on Hughes in the early innings. Joe Girardi quickly came out to protect his shortstop and was ejected for arguing ball and strikes, but gave Meals a piece of his mind before exiting. With Molina on first, Damonlaunched his 5th home run of the season into the right field seats and just like that the Yankees were back in the ball game. The crowd finally had some life and really got fired up when the next hitter,Teixeira, homered to left-center field to cut the Red Sox lead to just one.

Al Aceves, recalled earlier in the day from Scranton, replaced Hughes to start the fifth and pitched effectively. The one blight on his record was a 2-run home run surrendered to Jason Bay that gave the Red Sox a 6-3 lead. Teixeira got it back to 6-4 with his second solo home run of the game, this time from the left side of the plate, in the eighth to set up a showdown with Jonathan Papelbon.

When Ramon Ramirez followed Teixeira’s home run by walking Robinson Cano, Red Sox manager Terry Francona didn’t hesitate to bring on his closer for a five out save. It was an unusual call by Francona, who doesn’t like to use Papelbon for more than an inning, but it paid off in the long run. Papelbon struck out pinch-hitter Hideki Matsui, and after a single by Cabrera, retired Molina on a pop up.

The Yankees had one more potential rally in them in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Brett Gardner reached on a lead off single and Papelbon hit Jeter with a pitch to put the tying runs on base with no one out. But Damon flied out and Teixeira struck out, leaving it up to Nick Swisher. First Gardner and Jeter made it more interesting by pulling off a double steal. When Papelbon walked Swisher to load the bases, the fans that remained were on the edge of their seats. That excitement quickly turned to groans whenPapelbon struck out Cano to end the game at 1:10 a.m.

Game Notes

Jose Molina
had to bat for himself in the eighth inning, because Jorge Posada had to leave the game with a bad hamstring. Posada had injured the leg last week. He’ll be sent for an MRI today and a trip to the disabled list is not out of the question.

Alex Rodriguez’s teammates and opponents, including David Ortiz, don’t believe Selena Roberts‘ accusation that A-Rod tipped pitches to opponents. Former teammates like Michael Young have also said the accusation is absurd.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jon Lester became the first Red Sox left-handed pitcher in 73 years to strike out 10 or more Yankees. Lefty Grove last accomplished the feat in 1936.

Elias also came up with this crazy stat. It was only the second time in 773 visits to Yankee Stadium(s) that Boston scored a single in each of the first four innings- the “picket fence”.

The series concludes tonight with Joba Chamberlain squaring off against Josh Beckett.

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