YANKEES WIN (11:09, END 9, 20-11 YANKS)
In the ninth, the Sox added a few cosmetic runs. Varitek started it with a home run to centerfield, his 14th home run of the season. Ortiz roped a double to center to score Green with two outs. Lowell followed with a line-drive home run over the Monster.
The Red Sox halted any momentum they gathered during their sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays with an embarassing defeat against the Yankees, who moved 7 1/2 games ahead of the Red Sox in the American League East. Brad Penny allowed eight runs in four-plus innings and, like John Smoltz in the last series opener against the Yankees, threw into question his place in the Red Sox' starting rotation. Penny has one win in his past 11 starts to go with a 6.37 ERA during that span, which began June 23. Micahel Bowden, whom the Red Sox recalled today to protect their bullpen, allowed seven runs on 10 hits in only two innings.
In one of the night's rare bright spots, Jacoby Ellsbury stole his 54th base, tying Tommy Harper's club record, set 30 years ago. In Tampa Bay, the Rays beat the Rangers, 5-3. The Sox remain one game up in the wild card race, but the Rays crept to within three games.
13 MORE RUNS, AND THE RED SOX ARE RIGHT BACK IN THIS (10:56, MID 9, 20-7)
Well, the last inning may as well have been ugly, to match the rest of the game. The Yankees scored another four runs, the primary blow coming on Matsui's second three-run home run of the night, a ball he wrapped around Pesky's Pole. The fourth run of the inning was unearned thanks to a two-base error by Green in left.
SOX CAN'T SCORE (10:27, END 7, 16-7 YANKS)
Ortiz flied to left and Lowell struck out. Takashi Saito will pitch the eighth.
SOX LOAD BASES AGAIN (10:24, BOT 7, 16-7 YANKS)
Damaso Marte has entered the game with the bases loaded after Brian Bruney walked Varitek, hit Kotchman, and walked Green. Ortiz is up.
SOX CHIP AWAY, A LITTLE (10:08, TOP 7, 15-7 YANKS)
The Sox have scored three runs in consecutive innings, and the Sox still trail by eight. They had a chance for a monster inning after Baldelli's bases loaded walk gave them two runs for the inning and kept the bases loaded with no outs. Alex Gonzalez went to a 2-0 count, which eventually became 3-2. The crowd was getting going, and after he fouled off one pitch, Gonzalez bounced a ball to second, starting a 4-6-3 double play. A run scored, but the rally dissipated.
Oddly, Jason Varitek came in to catch. Manny Delcarmen mercifully replaced Bowden, and he gave up a triple off the wall in center to lead off the inning.
SOX WAKING UP (9:57, BOT 6, 15-5 YANKS)
The Sox have one run in on a pop-up by David Ortiz to shallow left-center that the Yankees botched. They now have the bases loaded after Lowell singled, the third straight. The problem: If Baldelli hits a grand slam, the Sox load the bases again, and then hit another grand slam, they will still be down by two runs.
YANKS KEEP POURING IT ON (9:43, TOP 6, 15-4 YANKS)
Cabrera cranked a double off the centerfield wall, and Jeter followed with an RBI single up the middle. Three more runs. John Farrell came for a chat with poor Michael Bowden, whom the Red Sox have little choice to hang out to dry. The Yankees have 18 hits tonight, 10 off of Bowden in less than two full innings.
CHANGES ON DEFENSE (9:34, END 5, 12-4)
Casey Kotchman has replaced Youkilis at first, and Baldelli stays in in right. Nick Green goes to leftfield, replacing Bay.
The Sox added another run in the fifth when Pedroia doubled home Ellsbury.
SOX SHOW RESISTANCE (9:27, BOT 5, 12-3 YANKS)
Ellsbury flipped a two-out single into left, which scored both Lowell and Baldelli.
In Tampa, the Rays now lead the Rangers 5-0. What is the best result for the Sox? I'd say the Rangers winning. Even if Texas pulls a little ahead in the wild card, wouldn't it be better to get it down to a two-team race and moved Tamap out of the picture?
BALDELLI FOR DREW (9:21, BOT 5, 12-1 YANKS)
Rocco Baldelli pinch hit for J.D. Drew, presumably just as a cautionary measure. He blasted a double off the centerfield wall in his first game off of the disabled list. Lowell, who singled with one out, moved to third base. That's three hits for the Sox tonight.
YANKEES STILL COMING (9:18, MID 5, 12-1 YANKS)
With two outs, the Yankees loaded the bases. Teixeira ripped an RBI single, and Rodriguez walked. Matsui popped up to short to end the threat, but the Yankees scored six runs to put the game out of reach.
Bowden has thrown 44 pitches. The only key to this game now for the Red Sox is not letting it spill into the weekend. Bowden will have to wear it to protect the bullpen, no matter how bad it gets. He's this weekend's Billy Traber, basically.
Is help on the way? In Pawtucket tonight, Tim Wakefield threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and one run on a solo homer. He threw 81 pitches.
ROUGH ONE FOR BOWDEN (9:07, TOP 5, 11-1 YANKS)
The Yankees are drilling Bowden as easily as they hit Penny. Posada walked and Cano blasted a double to center. Swisher grounded out for the inning's first out. Cabrera ripped a single. The total damage has been two more runs. Jeter reached on a fielder's choice, giving Bowden two outs. He's thrown 29 pitches so far.
Now in the bottom of the fifth, the Rays still lead the Rangers, 2-0.
BOWDEN: NOT THE ANSWER TONIGHT (8:56, TOP 5, 9-1 YANKS)
The second pitch Bowden threw was crushed into the Red Sox bullpen by Matsui, virtually ending the competitive phase of tonight's game.
That's eight earned runs for Penny's final line. He was booed on his way off the mound after throwing 89 pitches.
PENNY EXITS (8:53, TOP 5, 6-1 YANKS)
Penny is done with no outs in the fifth inning. The final blow was a hit by Rodriguez that might have been the hardest-hit single in the history of baseball. He almost knocked over the Green Monster with a line drive off the top of the Wall. He had to stop at first, and Teixeira, who flared a single into center to open the inning, went to third.
Bowden will replace him. There is some good news: Tim Wakefield is still pitching in the sixth inning at McCoy Stadium in a rehab outing. He allowed one run in five innings on two hits.
QUICK ONE (8:44, END 4, 6-1 YANKS)
Jason Bay tagged a line drive to left, but Hinske made the catch to end the inning. The Sox have only one hit, the double that Pedroia was thrown out at third on. The Yanks have eight off of Penny, who remains in the game to begin the fifth.
SCOREBOARD WATCHING (8:40, BOT 4, 6-1 YANKS)
In the bottom of the third in Tampa Bay, the Rays lead the Rangers, 2-0.
1-2-3 FOR PENNY (8:38, MID 4, 6-1 YANKS)
Penny sat downt the Yankees in order. The game may be lost already, but can Penny at least help salvage some of the bullpen for the rest of the weekend?
PENNY OUT FOR THE FOURTH (8:30, TOP 4, 6-1 YANKS)
Penny will start the fourth inning after a scoreless third. The Sox went through their half of the inning without scoring, too, but only after Pedroia was thrown out trying to stretch a Wall-scraping double into a triple.
MATSUI JUST MISSES (8:05, BOT 2, 6-1 YANKS)
The inning could have been even uglier for Penny. Matsui smashed a high fly ball to deep rightfield. Drew moved back to the track until his back was just about bending over the fence. He made the catch on a ball that likely would have been a home run had Drew not been standing there.
PILING ON (8:00, TOP 2, 6-1 YANKS)
The Yankees are turning this one into a rout. Teixeira double over the head of Youkilis, scoring both Jeter and Hinske. Bowden started warming up in the Sox' bullpen. Rodriguez followed with a missile of a single, scoring Teixeira. Jason Bay threw out Rodriguez at second base, so there are two outs.
GET READY, MICHAEL BOWDEN (7:57, TOP 2, 3-1 YANKS)
Penny is getting wrapped around. Eric Hinske, in the lineup because Johnny Damon fouled a ball off of his lower leg and had to be removed, lined a ground-rule double down the rightfield line. One run in, two men in scoring position.
YANKS AT IT AGAIN (7:54, TOP 2, 2-1 YANKS)
After Nick Swisher grounded out, Melky Cabrera chopped a ball toward third base, a slow roller Mike Lowell had no chance on. Jeter followed with a sharp single to center, which sent Cabrera to third. With one, the Yankees are rallying again.
MARTINEZ DRIVES IN ELLSBURY (7:44, BOT 1, 2-1 YANKS)
Martinez hit a line drive to center, which Melky Cabrera tracked down. It was plenty deep enough to score Ellsbury for the Sox' first run.
PETTITTE FROM THE STRETCH (7:40, BOT 1, 2-0 YANKS)
Pedroia's fly ball to right sent Ellsbury to third. Related to the update below, Pettitte is throwing from the stretch to Victor Martinez.
ELLSBURY TIES RECORD (7:37, BOT 1, 2-0 YANKS)
Jacoby Ellsbury walked to lead off the first inning. Even as Andy Pettitte paid him extra attention, Ellsbury bolted for second and slid in head first. It was his 54th steal of the year, tying him with Tommy Harper for the Red Sox team record. The steal came Pettitte, who Jacoby Ellsbury stole home against earlier this season.
PENNY ROUGHED UP EARLY (7:29, TOP 1, 2-0 YANKS)
The Yankees are out to a quick lead after Brad Penny loaded the bases. Derek Jeter doubled to lead off the inning, and a of walk and an infield single Alex Gonzalez knocked down jammed up the bags. Penny struck out Hideki Matsui looking at an outside fastball, but Jorge Posada slapped a single through the middle, scoring a pair of runs. Penny broke Robinson Cano's bat on a grounder to end the inning.