Final, Yankees 4-2: It didn’t come without a little drama. Jed Lowrie worked a leadoff walk to begin the ninth, Jacoby Ellsbury drew another with two outs and Marco Scutaro singled to load the bases.
That set up Mariano Rivera against Adrian Gonzalez with most of Fenway’s 699th straight sellout standing. Rivera wins the battle by getting Gonzalez looking, and the Yankees win the war.
New York takes two of three to move within a half game of first. They now go home while the Sox stay here to face the Rangers for three straight. We will see you for the opener of that series tomorrow night.
Mid 9th, Yankees 4-2: New York is three outs from a series win and a tie in the loss column atop the American League East.
Me thinks you know what that means. Yes, here comes Mariano Rivera to face the bottom third of the Red Sox order, three guys who are a combined 0-for-7 against him.
If anyone gets on, does Terry Francona think of using Jason Varitek to pinch hit for Jarrod Saltalamacchia? The captain has had success against Rivera in the past. We shall see.
11:09 p.m.: Felix Doubront retires the first and only man he faces in the ninth. That’s 1 1/3 scoreless innings for Doubront, who gives way to Dan Wheeler to finish the ninth.
End 8th, Yankees 4-2: Leadoff walks with hitters like Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz coming up is a death wish.
OK, maybe not that severe, but it’s not what Joe Girardi wanted to see from David Robertson.
Girardi also didn’t want to see Dustin Pedroia called safe on a potential 4-6-3 double play. Looked out to me, but just mild disgust on the faces of a few Yankees.
That erased Gonzalez and Robertson buckled down and got a huge strikeout of David Ortiz. Carl Crawford then sent a lazy fly to left to end it.
For you Yankees fans reading tonight, Mark Teixeira left with a bruised right knee. He is day-to-day.
Mid 8th, Yankees 4-2: That’s a nice return to the fold for Felix Doubront, although his scoreless inning took some time to complete.
After an eight-pitch walk to Brett Gardner, Doubront gets a 1-3-6-3-4 caught stealing to erase the runner. Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher both go down swinging.
For that effort, Doubront gets serenaded with some painful music between innings.
David Robertson is in for the Yankees. He wil face the big guns here in the eighth.
End 7th, Yankees 4-2: Rafael Soriano played with fire a bit in the seventh, but the flames never got out of hand (see what I did there?).
Josh Reddick led off the inning with a sharp drive toward the gap in left-center field, but that lightning bolt Brett Gardner cut over to snag it.
Soriano walked Jacoby Ellsbury one out later to bring the tying run to the plate. Fortunately for Soriano, that tying run, Marco Scutaro, chose not to offer at a nice slider that goes by for strike three.
Felix Doubront has replaced Daniel Bard.
Mid 7th, Yankees 4-2: Two things you don’t see too often: Daniel Bard blowing a lead and Alfredo Aceves suffering a loss.
The first scenario has happened and the second just might if the Yankees bullpen does the job.
The first man Bard faces was Russell Martin, and the Yankees catcher smoked a double to right that scored both of the men Aceves put on.
Martin went to third on the throw home and then came in when Eric Chavez punched Bard’s first offering to him into right for another run. Chavez is 10-for-23 (.435) with six RBIs in seven games against the Red Sox this year.
Bard gets the next two men he faces. Aceves would fall to 23-3 in his career if the score holds.
That effort for the Yankees begins with Rafael Soriano, who enters to face the 8-9-1 hitters.
10:10 p.m.: Fittingly, Alfredo Aceves hits the last man he faces, his second of the night.
That gives the Yankees two base runners with one out and brings in Daniel Bard to face Russell Martin and Eduardo Nunez.
End 6th, Red Sox 2-1: If the Yankees come back and win this thing, Curtis Granderson’s catch to end the sixth will loom incredibly large.
Granderson just made a beautiful diving catch of a Jed Lowrie flare to right-center. That kept a third run from scoring and closed the books on A.J. Burnett, whose line looks like this:
5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR.
Like a true MVP candidate, Granderson replaced his divot.
9:48 p.m.: And it is just the one batter for Boone Logan. No way he would face Jed Lowrie. Not really sure why I even brought it up. Tune me out.
Cory Wade will turn Lowrie around to the left side. The Red Sox third baseman has been a bit better in these spots since coming off the DL.
9:43 p.m.: If A.J. Burnett is pitching for a spot in the Yankees rotation (he is), then he has at least given them something to think about.
Burnett is responsible for runners at first and second as he departs after 5 1/3 innings. Boone Logan is coming on for the third straight night to face Carl Crawford in a huge spot.
If Logan gets Crawford, who has been poor vs. lefties, that’s one thing. He may still have to face Jed Lowrie, who pounds left-handers, although a right-hander is up in the Yanks bullpen.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 2-1: It was the Red Sox who couldn’t get the big hit in the series opener. The Yankees can’t find it in the finale.
New York has now left 12 on base after Alfredo Aceves got out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth.
It all happened with two outs. Derek Jeter singled and Curtis Granderson walked before Alfredo Aceves drilled Mark Teixeira in the knee.
That’s the 10th hit batter for Aceves, making him one of just 10 pitchers in all of baseball with double figures in that category.
That brought up Red Sox killer Robinson Cano with a great chance to get the Yanks on top, but Aceves got him to hit a sharp one-hopper to third. Jed Lowrie’s eyes were probably closed when he scooped it, but it turned into an easy third out.
Aceves threw 17 pitches. Matt Albers was warming, but probably only for if the Yankees took the lead. Aceves may be your seventh-inning guy before the big guns in the final two frames.
End 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an infield hit in the fifth that almost got the Yankees on the highlight reels.
Ellsbury chopped one to the right side. Mark Teixeira dove and made a great stop before throwing from his bum to a covering A.J. Burnett, but Burnett could not come down on the bag. The throw was high and he had to leap.
It looked pretty and all, Teixeira’s dive, but Robinson Cano had it lined up for an easy out if it got by him.
Jon Lester’s line: 5 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-1: That’ll do it for Jon Lester, who will get loads of praise for limiting the damage in the first inning and then putting up zeroes therafter against a good lineup that had its chances.
He may have had some help in the fifth on a bizarre decision by Nick Swisher to bunt with one out and a man on second.
Robinson Cano doubled with one down (he has 154 doubles in this series, at least) before Swisher pushed one up the first-base side. It goes in the books as a sacrifice, much to the chagrin of some overly passionate scribes who yelled at the official scorer, but it just about killed the Yankees inning. Swisher either lost track of the outs or was bunting for a hit…either way it didn’t do much but give away an out.
Lester walked Andruw Jones before escaping on a grounder to short. He threw 115 pitches. Alfredo Aceves is warming in the bullpen.
End 4th, Red Sox 2-1: When you give up leadoff doubles to Adrian Gonzalez, you can find yourself in trouble.
When you follow that up by falling behind Dustin Pedroia 3-1, you can find yourself in trouble.
And when you throw a straight fastball to Pedroia in a count that sees him sitting on heat, you will most certainly find yourself in trouble.
Pedroia pounced all over A.J. Burnett’s offering for his 18th home run of the season, a new career high. It was a bomb to straightaway center, and just like that Jon Lester is an inning away from qualifying for his 15th win.
Burnett bounced back to get the next three in order.
Mid 4th, Yankees 1-0: Jon Lester’s shortest start of the year that did not involve an injury saw him exit after 5 1/3 innings. He’s done that three times, most recently two starts ago in Kansas City.
If the lefty lasts that long in this one, the Red Sox will have to take it.
After losing a long fight with Derek Jeter, who drew Lester’s second walk, Curtis Granderson struck out on the southpaw’s 92nd pitch to end the fourth.
Lester hasn’t been poor. The Yankees have just worked him like crazy.
End 3rd, Yankees 1-0: It’s almost hard to remember this because of how many ups and downs (all downs lately) that A.J. Burnett has had in his Yankees career, but one of the reasons many thought he would fit well in New York was because of his ability to pitch well in Fenway Park.
He had allowed all of one earned run in 22 2/3 innings at this park before joining the Yanks in 2009.
Before tonight, he had given up an alarming 33 runs in 28 frames here as a New Yorker.
They likely envisioned efforts like the one he is putting forth so far tonight. Just no solid contact so far, and no threats for the Red Sox through three against Burnett, who struck out both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury in a 1-2-3 third.
Mid 3rd, Yankees 1-0: A one-out single by Nick Swisher gives the Yankees another base runner and helps to run Jon Lester’s pitch count to 70. We think. There is still some uncertainty over that first-inning count and a lot of people debating it up here.
Anyway, it’s high. There is a chance you could see Tim Wakefield in a game out of the bullpen one of these days. Red Sox fans hope that isn’t the case tonight, because that would mean a big inning against Lester real soon, but it’s worth noting that there is an extra long man since Wakefield is not going until Wednesday in Toronto.
End 2nd, Yankees 1-0: The highlight of the bottom of the second was nothing more than a comedic moment between David Ortiz and Derek Jeter.
Ortiz singled to lead off the inning. That extended his season-high hitting streak (four shy of a career high, accomplished with the Twins).
One out later, Jed Lowrie chopped a ball to first. Mark Teixeira went to Jeter at second for the force and Ortiz went into one of those get-out-of-the-way-of-the-relay slides, but Jeter wasn’t going to first with the ball as Lowrie was already there.
So Ortiz just stopped about six feet short as Jeter stared at him. Ever the clown, Ortiz stood up, walked over to second and stomped on it. A light moment between rivals.
Josh Reddick followed with another chopper to the right side and A.J. Burnett is through two.
Mid 2nd, Yankees 1-0: Jon Lester’s pitch count is up to 56. It was a little bit of misfortune that got it up that high in the second.
Lester flew through the first two outs before Derek Jeter reached on an infield hit. Curtis Granderson followed with another on a ball that hit second base and bounced away from a waiting Marco Scutaro.
Mark Teixeira popped to Jed Lowrie in fair territory, but that required Lester to burn through three more bullets.
End 1st, Yankees 1-0: Turned to a colleague moments ago and we both agreed that A.J. Burnett was going to have a solid outing tonight. We weren’t entirely serious, but simply pointing out the unpredictable nature of this game.
Case in point: Jon Lester throws 43 pitches in the first inning (or 44, depending on who you ask up here) and allows a run, and Burnett would throws 20 and puts up a goose egg.
Burnett did issue a two-out walk to Adrian Gonzalez and had a lengthy duel with Dustin Pedroia before escaping unharmed on a one-hop grounder to short.
Mid 1st, Yankees 1-0: Jon Lester’s first-inning ERA this year is 4.50. The opening frame of this one was an absolute grind, as it can be against a lineup like this.
After striking out Derek Jeter, Lester surrendered singles to Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira. Robinson Cano followed with a run-scoring double off the Green Monster, improving to 90-for-252 (.357) in his career at Fenway Park.
Thirty of Cano’s 90 hits here have been for extra-bases.
Lester then struck out Nick Swisher but he needed 10 pitches to do so, all part of a 43-pitch first inning. Andruw Jones drew a nine-pitch walk after Swisher and Jesus Montero struck out on a 2-2 pitch in his first major league at-bat.
While this may limit the length of Lester’s outing, he has to try to take a positive in holding the Yankees to one run and stranding two men in scoring position.
That half inning took 25 minutes. I just called my family to tell them I’ll be home Monday.
7:10 p.m.: Jon Lester fires a strike to Derek Jeter and we are off and running on a perfect night for baseball.
7:01 p.m. It was five years ago today that Jon Lester and the Red Sox announced that the young lefty had cancer.
Seems incredibly fitting that the anniversary of that moment comes with Lester on the mound against the Yankees, a team he has largely controlled in his outstanding career.
Lester is 8-2 with a 3.62 ERA in his career against New York.
6:10 p.m.: As the Yankees finish up batting practice below, let’s look look at some of our Red Sox stories on the site.
First off, here’s a take at what Conor Jackson and other late additions can provide, at least potentially.
You can throw Felix Doubront into that mix. In fact, his impact may be more immediate.
Kevin Millar is in the house and will be arriving in your living room soon.
Mark Teixeira caused a bit of a stir with some comments about the length of these games.
And are you ready for some football? Jeff Howe is, and you should check out his Patriots Live Blog.
Back soon with a full stomach and a final thought.
4:53 p.m.: The Red Sox are excited to have Felix Doubront in the fold, but the Yankees have made bigger news on the September call-up front.
Top prospect Jesus Montero will make his major league debut tonight and bat seventh against Jon Lester.
Here is the lineup card for the 21-year-old Montero’s first game in the bigs:
Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Andruw Jones, LF
Jesus Montero, DH
Russell Martin, C
Eduardo Nunez, 3B
4:25 p.m.: As Phil Mickelson finishes up batting practice below (hit a few shots to relatively deep center), we have plenty of updates to pass on.
Felix Doubront is here and will immediately contribute. He says he is completely healthy and appears much more confident and ready than in his prior trips to the big club. Do not be surprised to see him in some pretty big spots right away. More on Doubront on the site in a bit.
J.D. Drew will not be activated today. Terry Francona said it could be a day, two days or even a week. Hard to tell as Drew can play “as tolerated.” Kevin Youkilis is here and will be activated Friday. He should be able to contribute on an everyday basis, but don’t be surprised to see him DH once or twice or get a day game off after a night game here and there.
More on those two coming soon.
We heard from Conor Jackson, who seems genuinely excited to go from an also-ran to a contender. Plenty more on him, as well as the right field situation, will be posted prior to first pitch.
Tim Wakefield will pitch Wednesday in Toronto.
Finally, Clay Buchholz threw 35 times from 60 feet. That’s a slight increase for him, so things are progressing well.
3:32 p.m.: Clubhouse is open, so in a hurry. Here’s the lineup:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Marco Scutaro, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Jed Lowrie, 3B
Josh Reddick, RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
3:23 p.m.: Indeed, Felix Doubront is listed on the active roster. We will have more on him in a bit.
3:07 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where it is nice to be off roads littered with out-of-towners looking for dorms, campuses and orientations. Holy poop.
You figure “No Left Turn” is about as simple a sign as one can find, but apparently that doesn’t apply to those in mid-Atlantic states.
So that’s the mood in which we begin the last month of the regular season, which should begin with some roster movement.
We do not expect J.D. Drew to get activated today, but there will be a call-up, perhaps that of Felix Doubront. We will get the full story on the Conor Jackson move as well.
Lineups over in a second.
10:15 a.m. ET: The final month of the regular season begins Thursday with the finale of a three-game series between the Red Sox and Yankees at Fenway Park.
The two rivals have split the first two games of the series, ensuring that Boston will end the set in first place. On paper, the pitching matchup suggests that the Red Sox will be able to expand upon that slim advantage.
Jon Lester, who is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his last three starts, goes for Boston. The lefty is looking to reach 15 wins for the fourth straight season. He is 8-2 in his career against New York.
The Yanks counter with A.J. Burnett, a right-hander who is pitching to stay in the rotation. Joe Girardi’s team has six healthy starters right now, and Burnett will be on the outs if he continues to struggle the way he has of late.
Burnett has an 11.91 ERA this month, an 11.12 ERA against the Red Sox and an 8.33 ERA at Fenway Park as a member of the Yankees.
First pitch is 7:10 p.m.