MERCIFULLY, IT ENDS (12:52, END 9, 19-8 YANKS)
The Red Sox, who allowed their most runs in a regular-season game since Aug. 1, 2002, have officially failed to defend their division title. The Rays are American League East champions. Tampa Bay’s game ended almost three hours ago. If the Rays stuck around their clubhouse and waited out the moment they officially clinched the AL East, just imagine how much of a good time those guys are having right now.
My media guide has been devoured. Sprinkled on a little tarragon and grilled it over wood planks. Not bad.
ASSESSING THE DAMAGE (12:08, END 7, 16-5 YANKS)
With two innings to play, I think it’s safe to call this one over. Tonight was a difficult situation for Terry Francona, and it answered definitively the question that’s been asked for weeks: What is more important between winning the division and preparing for the playoffs? Tonight, rather than potentially risk playoff health, the Red Sox virtually waved the white flag on the division despite another loss by Tampa Bay.
It’s important to offer a reminder that, had the Red Sox won, they also would have had to hope for two more wins against the Yankees AND two more losses by the Rays. In other words, they didn’t give away the division simply by losing tonight. They sacrificed the game tonight knowing a full effort likely would have been in vain, anyway. What do you think about the way the Red Sox went about the game tonight?
ANOTHER FIRST (11:21, BOT 5, 13-5 YANKS)
For a game that will be forgotten immediately by Red Sox fans, it will be remembered forever by two Red Sox players. George Kottaras just ripped a double to left, a liner that bounced into the corner, for the first hit of his major league career. And Jonathan Van Every just scored Chris Carter with a groundout to first, also moving Kottaras to third.
GAME ON (11:05, TOP 5, 13-4 YANKS)
After a 38-minute delay, we have more baseball. The media guide, ketchup, fork, and knife are back on the table.
TARP OFF, GAME TO RESUME AT 11:05 (10:50, TOP 5, 13-4 YANKS)
And that’s pretty much all you need to know.
HEAVENS OPEN, RANSOM UNLOADS, GAME STOPPED (10:28, TOP 5, 13-4 YANKS)
They have run off the field, and the tarp is coming on. Just as the fifth inning began, the rain returned with some serious, serious force. And then Cody Ransom, Jeter’s replacement, took a swing with some serious, serious force, blasting Timlin’s first pitch of the inning over the Green Monster for his second homer of the night. During Bobby Abreu’s at-bat, the umpires called the game.
My knife, fork, and media guide have been put away for the moment.
A FIRST FOR VELAZQUEZ (10:23, END 4, 12-4 YANKS)
Gil Velazquez, who spent the season in the minors and was called up only yesterday, slammed the first hit of his major league career, a hard single off the Green Monster’s scoreboard. The knock scored Jason Bay, so Velazquez also got his first career RBI. He was then erased on a double play to end the inning.
JETER HURT, YANKEES RUN IT UP (10:15, MID 4, 12-3 YANKS)
Derek Jeter is out of the game with soreness in his left wrist. His services will not be needed tonight. Timlin allowed the two runners he inherited to score, making Aardsma’s final line a brutal five runs allowed in 2/3 of an inning.
TIMLIN IN FOR AARDSMA (10:07, TOP 4, 10-3 YANKS)
It was not Aardsma’s best night. He left after throwing 30 pitches — 14 strikes — and helping boost the Yankees into double digits. Mike Timlin is entering with men on second and third with one out and Moeller coming to bat.
LOWELL’S REMOVAL PRECAUTIONARY (10:02, TOP 4, 8-3 YANKS)
Lowell suffered no further damage to his hip and was taken out of the game so he would not risk playing on slippery playing conditions, Red Sox spokesman John Blake said. Lowell will be further evaluated tomorrow.
LOWELL OUT (9:48, BOT 3, 7-3 YANKS)
Mike Lowell took one at-bat in the first inning, flying out to left and jogging slowly to first base. That’s all he’ll do in his return after missing eight games with a torn labrum in his right hip. Chris Carter pinch hit for him to begin the third inning. No word on if Lowell, who was in as a DH, re-injured himself or if his removal is merely precautionary.
AARDSMA REPLACES PAULEY (9:40, TOP 3, 5-3 YANKS)
After Robinson Cano drove a sac fly to deep right, David Pauley yielded to David Aardsma, who hit Moeller with the first pitch he threw.
FIVE-OH FOR ELLSBURY (9:27, END 2, 4-3 YANKS)
Ellsbury slapped a single up the middle, then stole second on Chad Moeller. He slid in head first, then clapped his hands vigorously. He had gotten into scoring position with two outs, and he had reached a significant milestone — his 50th steal of the season. He became only the third Red Sox player to ever steal 50 bases in a season. Tommy Harper stole 54 in 1973, and Tris Speaker stole 52 in 1912. (That magical 1912 season of Tris Speaker is getting some serious play this week on Extra Bases.) Ellsbury did not score, because Lowrie flied out with two outs.
YARDWORK FOR DAMON (9:16, MID 2, 4-3 YANKS)
Johnny Damon jacked a two-run homer into the Red Sox bullpen to give the Yankees the lead. Tough spot for David Pauley finding out he was starting about an hour before game time; he was watching Christmas Vacation on a clubhouse couch prior to the game. Prior to Damon’s blast, Xavier Nady scored on Brett Gardener’s groundout.
NO. 29 FOR YOUKILIS (8:59, BOT 1, SOX 3-1)
Kevin Youkilis slammed an Aceves offering off the light tower over the Green Monster for a two-run homer. He has three home runs in the last four games, and he’s making a nice late push for the American League MVP award. Mark Kotsay followed with a single. The 1 hour, 31 minutes delay may — just may — have gotten to Aceves.
ELLSBURY LEADS OFF, GOES DEEP (8:54, BOT 1, 1-1)
Johnny Pesky’s number will not be added to the face of the right field upper deck until Sunday, but Jacoby Ellsbury just gave him a nice tribute on the night his number should have been retired. (Good Lord, that was a cheesy sentence.) Ellsbury hit a lead-off home run, his third of the year, smacking an Alfredo Aceves offering around Pesky’s Pole. (Funny, I ordered some Alfredo Aceves last night in the North End.) Lowrie followed with a walk. Kevin Youkilis is now up with a man on first and one out.
Alex Rodriguez knocked an RBI single to right in the top of the inning for the Yankees run, which was unearned. Sean Casey allowed Bobby Abreu to reach with an error at first.