Final: Yankees 4, Red Sox 2
The Red Sox dropped the finale of the three-game set against the Yankees, 4-2, before 38,074 at Fenway Park.
The Yankees erased a 2-1 deficit by erupting for three runs on two hits in the seventh for a 4-2 lead. Russell Martin delivered the decisive blow when he hit a go-ahead two-run double to right off Daniel Bard, who inherited both runners from reliever Alfredo Aceves.
Eric Chavez then came up and rifled Bard's 97-m.p.h. fastball to right for an RBI single that scored Martin with the Yankees' final run. Mariano Rivera came into the game in the game in the ninth and gave up a two-out single to Marco Scutaro that loaded the bases for Adrian Gonzalez.
Rivera struck out Gonzalez looking to pick up his 36th save of the season and help the Yankees (82-53) pull within half-game of the Red Sox (83-53) in the American League East.
Bottom of 8th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 2
Pedroia gave the Red Sox a spark when he beat out a double-play throw from Jeter that wiped out Gonzalez (walk) at second. After David Ortiz struck out, having fouled a ball off his right foot the pitch before, David Robertson induced Crawford (0 for 4) to hit an inning-ending fly ball to left. The Sox are now down to their final three outs with the bottom of the order -- Lowrie, Reddick, Saltalamacchia (a combined 0 for 9 with two strikeouts) -- due up.
Update: Mark Teixeira left the game in the seventh with a bruised right knee after getting hit by Alfredo Aceves.
Top of 8th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 2
Doubront gave a fairly good acquittal of himself. After issuing a leadoff walk to Brett Gardner, Doubront caught Gardner in a 1-3-6-3-4 rundown for the first out, then struck out the next two batters. Swisher, who fanned on three pitches to end the inning, flung his bat and helmet in disgust.
David Robertson will pitch the bottom of the frame for the Yankees in relief of Soriano.
Bottom of 7th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 2
Ellsbury drew a two-out walk from Rafael Soriano, who entered the game in relief Corey Wade (one-third of an inning). Soriano, however, ended the threat when he froze the next batter, Marco Scutaro, with an 83-m.p.h. slider for a called third strike.
Felix Doubront, called up from Pawtucket today, was summoned from the Sox bullpen to relieve Bard in the top of the eighth.
Update: MLB has corrected its pitch count on Lester. He threw 114 pitches, instead of 115, including 43 in the first inning (not 44).
Top of 7th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 2
Daniel Bard came into the game after Aceves walked Andruw Jones and hit Jesus Montero with an inside pitch that seemed to graze his jersey. With one out and two runners aboard, Bard faced Russell Martin, who gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead with his two-run double to right that scored Jones and pinch-runner Chris Dickerson. Martin, who advanced to third on the throw to the plate, scored on a pinch-hit RBI single to right by Eric Chavez. Bard struck out Jeter and induced Granderson to ground to short.
Bottom of 6th: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1
The Red Sox put two runners aboard when Pedroia rifled a one-out single to right and Ortiz walked, which prompted Yankees manager Joe Girardi to summon LHP Boone Logan from the bullpen to relieve Burnett (5 1/3 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts) and face Carl Crawford, who struck out for the second time. Logan handed it over to RHP Corey Wade, who got Jed Lowrie to hit a fly to shallow right center that Curtis Granderson tracked and made a spectacular diving grab to end the threat.
Respectful of Dave Mellor's beautiful Fenway sod, which he chewed up with his dive, Granderson slowly got to his feet and replaced his divots. PGA Tour star Phil Mickelson, on hand at the game, would have been proud.
Top of 6th: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1
With two out, Alfredo Aceves found himself staring at a bases-loaded when he gave up a single to left to Derek Jeter, walked Granderson, and hit Teixeira on the back of the right knee. It set 'em up for Robinson Cano, who grounded to third. It was the second time in the game the Yankees left the bases full. Through six innings, the Yanks have stranded 12 base runners.
Bottom of 5th: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1
With two out, Jacoby Ellsbury legged out a base hit after Mark Teixeria's throw from his back drew Burnett off the bag. Burnett atoned by getting Marco Scutaro to ground to short, wiping out Ellsbury on the 6-4 force at second.
Alfredo Aceves relieved Lester, who allowed one run on seven his and three walks while striking out six. Lester wound up throwing 115 pitches, including 44 in a protracted first inning.
Top of 5th: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1
The Yankees threatened to tie it when Robinson Cano drilled a one-out double to center and went to third on Swisher's sacrifice bunt. Lester again labored to get out of the inning, issuing a two-out walk to Andruw Jones that made his pitch count soar to 110. Lester got Montero to ground out to short on five pitches to get out of the inning and to turn it over to the bullpen after 115 pitches. The Yankees left two aboard and have stranded nine base runners through five innings.
Bottom of 4th: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1
Dustin Pedroia hit his career-high 18th homer of the season, depositing a 3-and-1 pitch from Burnett to the bleachers in center. Pedroia's two-run homer scored Adrian Gonzalez, who reached on a ground-rule double to right, and gave the Sox the lead for the first time in the game.
Top of 4th: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0
Ninety-two pitches. That's how many Jon Lester has thrown now. The Yankees have been bleeding him in each inning. The fourth was no different. After he needed only eight pitches to get the first two outs of the inning, Lester walked Jeter on seven pitches, and struck out Granderson (swinging) after six pitches to end the inning.
Bottom of 3d: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0
Burnett continued to roll, striking out the first two batters he faced before getting Marco Scutaro to ground to first.
Top of 3d: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0
Lester's pitch count increased to 71 after three innings work. He gave up a one-out single to center to Nick Swisher, who was stranded when Lester struck out Andruw Jones (looking) and got Jesus Montero to fly to right.
Bottom of 2d: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0
David Ortiz extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games with his leadoff single to right off Burnett, who induced Carl Crawford to fly to center, got Jed Lowrie to ground to second for the force out on Ortiz (who was short of the mark when he slid into the bag), and got out of the inning by getting Josh Reddick to ground out to second.
Top of 2d: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0
After retiring the first two batters, Lester allowed singles to the next two, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson, before getting out of the inning by inducing Mark Teixeira to hit a foul pop-up. Through two innings, Lester threw 56 pitches, 35 for strikes.
Bottom of 1st: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0
A.J. Burnett did not have to labor as long or as hard as his Red Sox counterpart in retiring three of the four batters he faced in the first inning on 20 pitches, 11 strikes. Burnett allowed a two-out walk to Adrian Gonzalez, but got Dustin Pedroia to ground to second for the forceout on Gonzalez to end the inning.
Top of 1st: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0
Jon Lester walked off the mound none too pleased with himself after he toiled way too long and too hard in the first inning, allowing one run on three hits while throwing 44 pitches, including 25 to the last three batters he faced. Robinson Cano's RBI double to left plated Curtis Granderson, who reached on a single to center, to put the Yankees on the board. Lester then needed 10 pitches to strike out Nick Swisher, issued a free pass to Andruw Jones after nine pitches, setting the stage for rookie Jesus Montero, making his major league debut as the Yankees' DH, to come to the plate with the bases loaded.
Lester struck out Montero (swinging), but needed six pitches to do so, which did not sit well with the Sox lefthander as he stomped off the mound cursing himself, the Yankees, and the world at large, it seemed.
Greetings from Fenway Park where the Red Sox will look to take the rubber game in the three-game set against the Yankees and 12th out of 15 meetings thus far with the Bronx Bombers. The Red Sox (83-52) will send LHP Jon Lester (14-6, 3.09 ERA) to the mound to face RHP A.J. Burnett (9-11, 5.31 ERA) , who will enter the game winless in his last nine overall starts vs. Boston (including eight as a Yankee).
Please feel free to post your comments here. Have a great game, everyone.