The Yankees waited through a two-hour-fifteen-minute rain delay last night to lose their fourth straight game to the Red Sox. Phil Hughes lacked the command of his pitches he had in his previous start and was out after using up 94 pitches and walking four in just four innings. The Sox built a picket fence against Hughes, scoring once in each of his frames. Alfredo Aceves, who was called up earlier in the day, appeared to lock things down from there, and the Yankees pulled within one by scoring three quick runs in the fifth after Joe Girardi got himself ejected for arguing a called third strike on Derek Jeter. Johnny Damon followed Girardi’s ejection with a two-run homer down the right-field line, and Mark Teixeira followed with a slump-busting solo homer into the visiting bullpen, but Jason Bay got two of those runs back with a two-run jack off Aceves in the seventh. Teixeira answered with a solo shot on the first pitch from Ramon Ramirez in the eighth, giving Tex switch-hit homers in consecutive at-bats, but both the ensuing rally in that inning and another in the ninth were quelled by Jonathan Papelbon and the Yanks fell 6-4.
Home plate umpire Jerry Meals wasn’t helping Hughes, which is one reason Girardi got himself tossed, but Jon Lester wasn’t bothered by the rain delay, the steady mist falling throughout the game, or the strikezone (which did appear to be a bit more accomidating when he was on the mound). He worked seven strong innings and tied a career high with 10 Ks. His only mistakes were the home runs by Damon and Teixeira, which suggests that Girardi’s stunt, prompted by his disapproval of Meals’ strikezone throughout the game to that point, temporarily unnerved the Boston lefty.
Adding injury to insult, Jorge Posada felt his right hamstring grab while running the bases in the sixth inning. He’ll have an MRI today and will not be in the lineup tonight as the Yankees try to save some face by sending Joba Chamberlain to the mound against Josh Beckett in the finale of this short, rain-threatened series.