Final, Yankees 11-9: Well, you can blame me. I mentioned Jonathan Papelbon's consecutive save streak, and moments later it was over, courtesy of a game-tying two-run homer by Alex Rodriguez, and a game-winning two-run blast by Marcus Thames. An extremely painful loss.
The mess began when Brett Gardner doubled to left. He is now 4-for-4 with two walks in six plate appearances against Papelbon. Gardner moved to third on Mark Teixeira's fly to center.
Rodriguez then smoked his fifth of the year and first of the game for the Yankees, who have seen the Sox hit five.
Papelbon hit Francisco Cervelli with a pitch and Thames lined one down the line to end it. He got the shaving cream in the face and everything, Sox fans.
Off to what is sure to be a very quiet clubhouse. Back in a bit.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 9-7: Javier Vazquez may have won back a few Yankees fans by striking out Kevin Youkilis to keep this a two-run game. Jonathan Papelbon now jogs onto the field having converted 22 straight save opportunities dating back to last July. The streak ranks third on the team's all-time list. To extend it he will need to manage the heart of the New York lineup, beginning with Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.
10:37 p.m.: Javier Vazquez, the beleaguered Yankees starter, is coming on in relief with runners on the corners, two outs and Kevin Youkilis up. Vazquez had his most recent start pushed back to avoid the Red Sox, and here he is in a big situation.
I think we recall what happened the last time Vazquez pitched in relief against Boston. Remember? Johnny Damon? Bases loaded? Game 7, 2004 ALCS?
End 8th, Red Sox 9-7: Daniel Bard threw a high heater to Marcus Thames at about 10:20 p.m. Thames swung at about 10:22, so late it was comical. Bard did walk a batter with two down, but then finished a duel with Derek Jeter with another strikeout.
The Yankees have inserted Alex Rodriguez at third base, losing the DH.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 9-7: Daniel Bard is coming on to protect a two-run lead. Probably didn't expect to read those words a few innings ago. I didn't expect to type them, but the Sox have come all the way back on the strength of five home runs.
Here are a few notes on the Kevin Youkilis and Victor Martinez blasts.
It is the second time this year that the Red Sox have gone back-to-back. Martinez becomes the sixth player in franchise history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game. He is the first to do so since Jason Varitek on Aug. 16, 2005, against Detroit.
Jonathan Van Every is in center field for the Sox. Darnell McDonald moves to left and Jeremy Hermida's night is done.
10:07 p.m.: The questions will swirl in The Bronx after manager Joe Girardi chooses to stick with Chan Ho Park, just removed from the disabled list, for a second inning. It went horribly wrong for New York as Kevin Youkilis and Victor Martinez go deep to give the Red Sox their first lead. Damaso Marte is on to face David Ortiz.
End 7th, Yankees 7-6: We mentioned that Joba Chamberlain, the usual eighth-inning man for the Yankees, may come in, but that was premature. Chamberlain threw 23 pitches Sunday so Joe Girardi may be staying away from him. Chan Ho Park is out there to start the eighth after Tim Wakefield does his job again.
Wakefield has throws 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Mid 7th, Yankees 7-6: Dustin Pedroia is not pleased after a questionable strike call and then an out call on the back end of a big double play. He may have had a case on both. As it stands the Sox are down to their last six outs.
Those final outs may come against Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera, who together blew a game against Minnesota on Sunday, Rivera serving up a grand slam to Jason Kubel.
End 6th, Yankees 7-6: What a bizarre end to the sixth. Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia collide going for a sky-scraping foul pop off the bat of Mark Teixeira, and Youkilis appears to hit his head hard on the ground. He lays there for several seconds before walking off the field under his own power.
The out stranded Ramiro Pena at third base. He had singled to lead the inning off, stole second and then took third on a long fly to center.
Chan Ho Park is pitching for the Yankees.
Mid 6th, Yankees 7-6: In what has turned into a battle of the bullpens, the Red Sox strike first. Victor Martinez lines his fourth home run of the season into the front row of the bleachers in left off Yankees lefty Boone Logan.
Martinez is hitting .405 (15-for-37) with three of his dingers off southpaws this year.
End 5th, Yankees 7-5: Tim Wakefield gets his man, but the damage was done against Daisuke Matsuzaka. He gave up a two-out single to Francisco Cervelli and then a ringing double to Marcus Thames before hitting the showers with another rough outing to think about.
Boone Logan has relieved Phil Hughes for the Yankees.
9:18 p.m.: With a clean inning on the heels of a Red Sox' rally, Daisuke Matsuzaka would've given his team a huge boost. But he cannot make it out of the fifth, giving up an RBI double to Marcus Thames. On comes Tim Wakefield.
Mid 5th, Yankees 6-5: J.D. Drew will get plenty of credit for bringing the Sox back with a huge three-run homer in the fifth, but let's make sure to note the battle between Dustin Pedroia and Phil Hughes. Pedroia wore Hughes down with foul after foul and eventually doubled to put runners on second and third with two outs.
Drew then hammered an inside fastball just inside the foul pole in right for his sixth home run of the season.
Hughes needed just a few pitches to get the first two outs of the inning and figured to cruise into the sixth with at least a four-run lead. As it stands, the Yankees will be dipping into the bullpen in a nail-biter soon enough.
End 4th, Yankees 6-2: With Tim Wakefield warming in the bullpen, Daisuke Matsuzaka works around a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth. He gets both Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira to pop to third to end it.
Mid 4th, Yankees 6-2: That is now six home runs in 12 games in May for David Ortiz, who rocks a 1-1 cutter from Phil Hughes into the second deck in right.
Ortiz is now batting .384 (10-for-26) when facing a pitcher for the second time in a game.
End 3rd, Yankees 6-1: Just two starts ago Daisuke Matsuzaka gave up four runs in the first inning before allowing only one more in his last 4 1/3 innings, helping the Sox rally for an 11-6 win over the Angels. It's imperative he settles down again in this one, and perhaps he is doing so.
Matsuzaka has his first 1-2-3 inning in the third. He has allowed just one hit out of the last 10 men he has faced. Five of the first six Yankees had hits in the first.
Mid 3rd, Yankees 6-1: At the very least, the Red Sox have made Phil Hughes work a bit. He has already thrown 57 pitches through three innings. His last of the third, however, gets J.D. Drew swinging.
End 2nd, Yankees 6-1: The Red Sox outfielders are treating the wall as if it is coated in arsenic. Darnell McDonald's misplay in the second leads to another Yankees run.
In McDonald's defense, it would've been a pretty good running catch if he caught up with Mark Teixeira's drive to the gap, but he braced for an impact with the wall way too early. In jumping when he didn't need to jump, the ball hit him in the hand.
Brett Gardner easily scored from first. He had walked with two down.
Mid 2nd, Yankees 5-1: Well, you gotta start somewhere. The Red Sox, facing a five-run deficit against the American League's best pitcher (so far), get one back in the second.
Kevin Youkilis singled to start the inning (it's odd to have Hughes pitching to Youkilis because the Yankees fans chant "Huuuuuughes" and it sounds like the love Youk gets in Boston).
A wild pitch moved Youkilis to second and he eventually scored on a two-out single to right by Adrian Beltre.
By the way, if this blog suddenly goes dark, it's because my laptop was struck by a foul ball. Three off the bats of lefties have already come right at me, only to fall a few rows short.
End 1st, Yankees 5-0: Don't say I didn't warn you, but I did (see pregame note below). Daisuke Matsuzaka's solid outing against a beer-league softball team the last time out needs to have a strong follow-up for it to be believable. Right now, it's hard to believe. The Yankees were all over Matsuzaka in the first.
It took Dice-K 22 pitches to record his first out of the game, and that came when a relay cut down Robinson Cano at the plate, so Matsuzaka can thank his defense for that one.
If you missed any of it, here is a brief rundown of the disastrous first:
Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner started it off with hard singles. Mark Teixeira walked to load the bases. Alex Rodriguez knocked in the first two with a solid single to center.
Robinson Cano then lofted one to the corner in left that Jeremy Hermida missed (he seemed to mistime his leap as he approached the wall, or was a bit too wary of it), scoring another to make it 3-0.
Francisco Cervelli then doubled to the gap in right-center field, scoring Rodriguez. Cano was cut down on that play, but Cervelli took third on the relay and scored on a sacrifice fly by Marcus Thames.
Matsuzaka threw 31 pitches in the inning.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Great at bat there by J.D. Drew, facing 10 pitches from Phil Hughes. But it winds up being just another out, part of a 1-2-3 frame for Hughes, whose numbers are spectacular.
Hughes has now surrendered just 22 hits in 40 innings. He has struck out 40 in that span, including Dustin Pedroia in the first. And the 24-year-old right-hander has not allowed a home run since the second inning of his first start of the season back on April 15.
Pretty darn impressive.
7:01 p.m.: Jay-Z is pumping in a soon-to-be packed Yankee Stadium, and Phil Hughes has just strolled in from the bullpen. We are getting set for what amounts to a critical contest for the Sox.
It still may be too early to say must-win, but it's getting close. Additionally, if Boston was to beat Phil Hughes in New York, it might have the type of win under its belt that can kick off something positive.
Not to be too pessimistic, but the matchup is not a great one, and not just because of Hughes. Daisuke Matsuzaka was able to mow down the Toronto Blue Jays his last time, but the Yankees and Jays are remarkably different offensive teams. While both can slug with the best of them, Toronto is hitting .039 points less than New York and its OBP is an eye-popping .053 lower than the Yanks.
A Matsuzaka fastball two inches off the plate against the Blue Jays is popped to second. Against the Yankees it is a ball.
5:57 p.m.: As a Yankeeography about Babe Ruth plays on the screen in center the size of Rhode Island, we check in with some words from Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who touched base on the decision to bat Victor Martinez fifth, as well as the Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron situations.
Francona said that batting Martinez fifth is not necessarily a signal that the skipper is just trying to get him going, but rather an attempt at establishing some balance in the lineup. He was asked whether Martinez's hard work to improve his ability to throw out runners may have taken a bit of a toll on him at the plate.
"We're just trying to get some balance in our lineup, that's all it is," Francona said. "Victor's going to hit whether we bat him first or ninth…I think all catchers are going to lose some at bats. You can't just sit in the dugout and think about your next at bat. You have to worry about the pitchers. That's the nature of it. You don't have the ability to sit there and think about your next at bat like an outfielder might.
"I just think he's a good hitter, he's going to be a good hitter. You can just see him trying to do too much. Get a pitch to hit and trying to hit it too hard."
Martinez enters hitting .226 with three home runs and 17 RBIs.
As for Ellsbury, he told the team he was tentative in his first two at bats in Monday's rehab start with Pawtucket, but got a hit in the third, went first to third and then scored while sliding into home plate, and came out of it all feeling just fine.
The left fielder will play in Portland on Tuesday and join the team in Boston when it returns Wednesday. No word on if he will be activated at that time.
Cameron is another story. He is back in Boston right now. The club had thought about activating him for the Yankees series, but the center fielder still feels tenderness in his abdomen and the club wants to wait until that goes away.
"I don't think we think he's quite ready," Francona said.
The Sox manager said that not activating him too early is critical with Cameron's condition, as aggravating it could send him down a path to surgery.
There is rain in the forecast tomorrow, canceling the much-anticipated media game between New York and Boston media members (revenge is on our mind!). Currently there is a strong breeze and cloudy skies at Yankee Stadium.
Back in a bit with some more updates.
3:33 p.m.: We're checked in at Yankee Stadium and about to head down and hear from Terry Francona. Here is the Red Sox lineup for the opener against the Bronx Bombers:
Marco Scutaro SS
Dustin Pedroia 2B
J.D. Drew RF
Kevin Youkilis 1B
Victor Martinez C
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jeremy Hermida LF
Darnell McDonald CF
7:30 a.m.: The Red Sox' perilous road through the May schedule continues with a trip to New York, where they will open a quick two-game series with the Yankees on Monday night.
Boston enters on a sour note after having dropped two straight over the weekend in Detroit. In addition, it has lost 13 of the last 16 meetings with the rival Yankees, and seven straight in Yankee Stadium.
Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his fourth start of the season for the Sox. Phil Hughes, who has dominated opponents early on and beat Boston in Fenway Park last weekend, goes for New York.
First pitch is 7:05 p.m.
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