As expected, the Red Sox got the merry-go-round cranked up early against Sidney Ponson last night, scoring three in the first and bouncing the Yankee starter after four innings having scored in each of them. After the game Ponson admirably admitted that he “pitched like crap.”
It was 7-0 Bosox heading into the top of the fifth when the Yankees finally got something going against Jon Lester, who had pitched 13 straight scoreless innings against them to that point. Melky Cabrera, Jose Molina, and Johnny Damon all singled to start the inning. With the bases loaded Derek Jeter, who hit into a rally-killing double play with men on first and second and none out in the third, hit a dribbler up the third base line that stayed fair allowing everyone to move up safely. Bobby Abreu followed by drawing an RBI walk. That brought Alex Rodriguez to the plate with none out, the bases loaded, and a chance to get the Yankees back in a game they were now trailing 7-2. On an 1-0 pitch, Lester came inside to Rodriguez and Alex ripped a line drive right at Mike Lowell at third base for the first out, holding the runners. Xavier Nady, who has started his Yankee career by going 0 for 7 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch, followed by getting under a 2-0 pitch up in the zone and flying out to center (while the ball wasn’t deep, Johnny Damon likely could have tagged up and scored, only he didn’t). Robinson Cano also started off 2-0, but swung through ball three high and tapped back to Lester to strand all three runners.
And that was that. The Red Sox pitchers faced the minimum the rest of the way, as the one Yankee baserunner (a leadoff single by Rodriguez in the eighth off reliever Manny Delcarmen) was erased when Xavier Nady ground into a double play. Meanwhile, Dan Giese, who helpfully pitched the final four innings, allowed two more runs in the sixth to push the final score to 9-2.
So the Yankees eight-game winning streak is a thing of the past, but we all saw this loss coming. The Yankees did what they had to do in Boston, which was win the series. They’re now two games behind the Red Sox for the Wild Card and three behind the Rays in the East. Their task now is to avoid a let-down against the Orioles tonight. Hopefully coming back home to the Bronx and having Mike Mussina on the mound will help with that.