Alex Rodriguez appears dejected after grounding into a double play. (Reuters Photo)
NEW YORK — Making their last visit to the venerable House That Ruth Built, the Red Sox tonight started this three-game series against the Yankees with a rousing 7-3 victory over the Bombers before a Yankee Stadium crowd of 55,058.
Tim Wakefield, who before the game was activated after being placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 12 (tightness right shoulder), showed no ill effects after he picked up the win to even his record at 8-8. Wakefield went five innings and allowed three runs on eight hits, including a pair of solo homers by Johnny Damon in the first and fifth innings.
“I thought it was a good effort considering that he had not pitched in a while,” said Sox manager Terry Francona. “He didn’t have his best knuckleball tonight, but it was plenty for his first time back.”
The Sox erupted for seven runs on 14 hits, chasing Yankees starter Andy Pettitte (L, 13-10) from the game in the fifth after he allowed six runs on 10 hits. The Sox rallied from a 2-1 deficit with two runs in the third on RBI hits by Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay and then broke it open with three runs in the fifth.
Justin Masterson helped Manny Delcarmen out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh when he induced Alex Rodriguez to ground into a double play on just two pitches.
“It was the biggest pitch in the game,” Francona said of Masterson’s 0-1 sinker that got Rodriguez to hit into his second GIDP of the game, 13th of the season, and ninth in the last 19 games. “He was in a position where one pitch could turn the whole game around. If Alex gets a hit there, they have their lefty hitters coming up and they get the ball rolling. It was the best case scenario for us.
“One pitch was able to get us two outs.”
Jonathan Papelbon picked up the save by striking out Rodriguez with two out and two aboard in the bottom of the ninth, prompting Yankees fans to shower A-Rod with a chorus of boos.
“No one’s more frustrated than me,” said A-Rod, who wound up going 0-for-5, with a pair of strikeouts to match the pair of GIDPs he had. “I was even booing myself.”
* Wakefield recorded his first win over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium since May 11, 2006. Prior to that, he had been winless in his last six regular-season starts vs. the Yankees since May 23, 2006, going 0-5 with a 8.91 ERA (32.1 innings pitched, 32 earned runs).
* Kevin Youkilis went 1-for-2 with three walks and has reached base safely 35 games since July 12, marking the longest such streak in the Majors.
*Dustin Pedroia had his streak of 61 consecutive errorless games snapped with an eighth-inning fielding error on Jason Giambi’s grounder.