In his final trip to Fenway Park, Mariano Rivera never got to step foot on the mound.
Running away with a 9-2 victory, the Red Sox swept their final series of the season with the Yankees, who came into the weekend set hoping to gain ground in the wild card race but left further behind than they started.
The win was a microcosm of the season series between the two teams, which the Sox won 13-6. No team had taken 13 wins from the Yankees in a single season since the Orioles in 1976.
In his second start since coming off the disabled list, Clay Buchholz went six strong innings, giving up just one run on two hits with three strikeouts.
He got a lift from a Red Sox offense that was effective at the plate with 11 hits, aggressive on the basepaths, executing a double steal in the fourth, and clutch in scoring opportunities, going 5 for 14 with runners in scoring position.
Mike Napoli hit his 22d home run of the season, a two-run bast in the first inning, but also struck out twice, setting the Red Sox’s franchise record for a single season with 178. He was ejected after arguing with home play umpire Ron Kulpa following the second punchout.
End of the seventh, Red Sox 9, Yankees 1: Dustin Pedroia ripped a two-run double into the left-field corner to tack two more on.
In his past 31 games, he’s hitting .321 (42 for 132), but consider this: He’s played an American League-higih 150 games this sesaon, and he’s reached base in 130 of them.
Meanwhile, it looks like Mariano Rivera landed on Just Visiting on his last roll through Fenway.
End of the sixth, Red Sox 7, Yankees 1: A good news-bad news inning for the Sox.
The good news: The Sox are slowly shoveling the dirt on the Yankees. They tacked on two more on RBI singles from Daniel Nava and David Ortiz.
Plus, Clay Buchholz came out for the sixth, which had to please John Farrell, and after walking Brendan Ryan to start things off, he sat Chris Stewart, Curtis Granderson and Vernon Wells down in order.
That’s likely the end of the night for him. While he walked four, he gave up just two hits, throwing 91 pitches.
The bad news, Mike Napoli got into it with home plate umpire Ron Kulpa after striking out for the second time tonight. He went down staring at a slider down and away.
End of the fifth, Red Sox 5, Yankees 1: Depending on which way you look at it, the Yankees dodged a no-outs, bases-loaded bullet or the Sox missed a chance to blow the game open.
Dustin Pedroia drew a leadoff walk, Daniel Nava roped a ground rule double over the short fence in right, and Yankkes starter Ivan Nova wanted no parts of David Ortiz with runners in scoring position, so intentionally walked him.
It looked like things would get really messy when Nova dotted Mike Carp with a curveball to score Pedroia.
The bases were still loaded, the Sox’s 5-6-7 hitters were up.
But Yankees manager Joe Girardi went to his bullpen, and right-hander Adam Warren bailed him out.
He use his slider to strike out Mike Napoli to on three pitches (with that, Napoli tied the franchise record with 177 on the season. He used his changeup to get Jarrod Satlalamacciha swinging. Then he got Stephen Drew to line out to center.
End of the fourth, Red Sox 4, Yankees 1: Some quirkiness — good and bad — on the basepaths.
First Mike Napoli got clipped in the hand, sliding to break up a throw by Mark Reynolds, who was making the double play turn because the shift was on Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Napoli stayed down for a while, but appeared fine as he walked off the field.
After a passed ball and a Stephen Drew ground out, Saltalamacchia ended up at third, and Xander Bogaerts’ walk put runners at the corners.
That’s when John Farrell decided to stir things up, calling for the double steal.
Bogaerts broke, Stewart came up firing, which was essentially gave Saltalamacchia the green light to race home.
Covering second, Brendan Ryan didn’t have a chance at the throw, and bobbling the ball in front of the bag allowed Bogaerts to sneak in for his first major league stolen base.
End of the third, Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: Through three inning, Clay Buchholz looks sharp. He’s thrown 49 pitches (30 for strikes). So far his fastball is hovering around 92 miles per hour, topping out at 93. He’s done a nice job of mixing things up.
Here’s the breakdown:
Fastballs: 20. Cutters: 18. Changeups: 7. Curveballs 4.
End of the second, Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: Both teams went down in order. On the Sox’s side of things, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr, both went down swinging. Bogaerts is 3 for his past 16 with seven strikeouts. Bradley is 3 for his past 18 with six whiffs.
End of the first, Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: After going 2 for 2 yesterday, Mike Napoli said he felt like he’s figured some things out.
He’s just one strikeout away from tying the franchise record, but it doesn’t seem to faze him.
If anything, he said, after maybe swinging to freely at times, he’s been recognizing pitches better recently.
He got himself into a nice 2-and-0 and then punished a 93-mile-per-hour fastball from Yankees starter Ivan Nova, sending it out by the flagpole in centerfield even with the wind blowing the flag in.
Combined with David Ortiz’s RBI single, the Sox were able to answer quickly to the Yankees, who worked Clay Buchholz for 22 pitches.
Buchholz walked Curtis Granderson to lead things off, then his pickoff attempt went wild on him allowing Granderson to scoot over to third and ultimately score on an Alex Rodriguez ground ball.
Pregame: If John Farrell has his way, the only time the Sox will see the Yankees legendary closer Mariano Rivera is in the team’s special pregame ceremony.
“Hopefully we don’t have to face Rivera, ” Farrell said. “That mean’s it’s a save opportunity for the Yankees.”
The Sox have seen Rivera six times this season, but not once so far in his final trip to Fenway.
What Farrell would rather see is starter Clay Buchholz build on the five scoreless innings he threw against the Rays in his last start.
“If he walks out to start the sixth inning, just another step in the right direction,” Farrell said.
A win tonight would give the Sox 13 over the Yankees this season, and no team has beating the Yankees 13 times in a single season since the 1976 Orioles.
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