Final, Yankees 5-4: "Shipping up to Boston" was playing over the loudspeakers as the Red Sox prepared for a final punch, and Fenway Park was ready for a show.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia immediately made it look like Boston would do it, mashing a huge home run.
Daniel Nava then clubbed a big fly toward the Green Monster, but the thing fell incredibly straight — right into Chris Dickerson's glove, against the wall.
Mike Aviles squeaked out an infield hit, but Jacoby Ellsbury couldn't fulfill the Fenway Faithful's hopes for one more night. The Sox were so, so close but came up short.
It's a night to remember for the Red Sox, who once again showed that they have plenty of tools and ability. Ultimately, though, Joe Girardi managing his mind away and the Yankees getting the early edge allowed them to scrape out the win.
(The Orioles won tonight, too, keeping the American League East even.)
Tomorrow night will be a different story, though. It's anyone's game at this point, and Fenway Park should be just as much fun when the two sides go at it again.
Check back here for our live blog for that game, plus coverage of what has been a pretty fun series throughout the day.
Mid 9th, Yankees 5-3: This place is still a little bent out of shape after that double ejection.
Valentine has the feather in his cap of setting the record for Red Sox
ejections in a year, for both players and managers. His six is the new
The Red Sox, meanwhile, appear to want to take this one in the ninth again. A Jayson Nix strikeout ends the Yankees rally, and Boston prepares for last licks.
10:43 p.m.: Vicente Padilla is in with two outs and two baserunners to try to keep the Red Sox within rallying distance.
End 8th, Yankees 5-3: Whoa.
Cody Ross had Rafael Soriano right where he wanted him. Man on second, two outs, full count — and Ross took a pitch he thought for sure would give him first base.
And the umpire called him out.
Ross was yelling at the umpire for a long time after that call, even after being ejected from the game almost immediately for screaming at him. Bobby Valentine hustled out there and was physically holding Ross back. "Livid" doesn't even begin to describe how torqued Ross was.
Was that a ball or a strike? I don't know. Truly borderline. But I've never seen a player go off like that — especially in a place that already had so much electricity during the at-bat.
No one in Fenway Park could believe that call, and a Sox rally has been scratched.
Bobby Valentine came back out to go at the ump again, and Fenway Park loves that, too. He was also tossed out of the game. (That's his sixth ejection of the season — and 43rd all-time.)
Say what you will about Valentine — he knows how to fight 'em.
Best part of the situation? When Ross was called out, he had the bat raised over his head. Common sense got the bat lowered before his mouth went off and the shouting really heated up.
10:25 p.m. Man, the Red Sox love that left-field corner tonight. At this rate, they may well come back and pull a you-know-what again. James Loney just doubled with two outs to keep the Red Sox threatening.
Yankees closer Rafael Soriano is in the game — the seventh New York pitcher of the night. Joe Girardi, all jokes aside, needs to do everything he can right now to get some wins. He can't let this one get away.
10:18 p.m.: For those of you wondering why Ivan De Jesus came into the game at second base, it isn't just to get the newcomer from the Dodgers trade some more reps.
Dustin Pedroia has reportedly left the game to be with his wife, who is in labor with their second child.
Mid 8th, Yankees 5-3: Derek Jeter may have been trying to do a little too much on that play.
Jeter appeared to pull up lame after trying to beat out a double-play ball, and he's been taken out of the game. Casey McGehee goes in at third, and Jayson Nix will play short.
The Yankees had a chance to add on in that inning. Mike Aviles blew an Andruw Jones offering to short, bobbling the ball in what resembled a juggling act. He was then unable to snag a pickoff throw from Jarrod Saltalamacchia after Chris Dickerson — pinch running for Jones — bolted for second. Ichiro Suzuki sacrificed Jones to third.
But, after Chris Stewart walked, Jeter bounced into the double play, destroying the Yankees' chances at building on the lead — and perhaps hurting the team's outlook moving forward, if the injury was more than a tweak.
End 7th, Yankees 5-3: Mauro Gomez did his part of the job, grounding home a run.
Then Mike Aviles, pinch-hitting for Jose Iglesias, did one better, sending a double into left to plate another run and keep the Red Sox threatening.
(Bobby Valentine isn't going to miss a chance to go toe-to-toe with Joe Girardi on the pinch-hit sweepstakes.)
Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to end the threat, but Boston is two runs closer after a quiet night.
9:53 p.m.: Ah, another Joe Girardi move to the mound. Daniel Nava doubled, and that means Girardi wants a new pitcher. (Jarrod Saltalamacchia is at third due to that ball not falling well enough ahead — he used up all his juice on that triple.)
This time the pitcher is Joba Chamberlain, who will look to hang on to New York's 5-2 lead. It's a shame Kevin Youkilis isn't in Boston anymore, or this move would be full of intrigue. Instead, Mauro Gomez is headed to the plate as a pinch hitter with a chance to start some fun of his own.
9:49 p.m.: Boone Logan is now in for the Yankes after Cody Eppley gave up a ground-rule double to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Start your egg timers — this one is showing the usual Yankees-Red Sox length.
9:43 p.m.: Cody Eppley is in to pitch for the Yankees.
Mid 7th, Yankees 5-1: Chris Carpenter did his job, getting an immediate groundout from Jayson Nix. But New York is distancing itself with time running out.
Curtis Granderson padded the Yankees' lead in that inning with his 37th home run, which followed a Derek Jeter single.That's
been how the Yankees have liked to score their runs this season — a
little on-base action from the top of the order, and the long ball. (They've won only four games this year without a home run, in fact.)
9:38 p.m.: Chris Carpenter continues the parade of relievers from the bullpen for the Red Sox. He's on in relief after Alfredo Aceves gave up a two-run homer to Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher slammed his second double of the night.
Aceves did not seem pleased as he left the mound, the latest in the series of strange moments that have marked his time with the Red Sox and his relationship with manager Bobby Valentine.
End 6th, Yankees 3-1: No Mark Teixeira? No problem.
Nick Swisher is headed into a free agent offseason, and the right fielder who has rejuvenated his career in New York could be highly sought after not only for his bat but also for his ability to play several positions. Swisher just showed his skills at first base are no joke with that great play.
In fact, Swisher makes our list of free agents the Red Sox should seriously consider this offseason as they look to rebuild for the future.
Other news: Ivan De Jesus is getting some field time at Fenway Park.
9:22 p.m.: The Yankees now turn to the bullpen. Clay Rapada is coming on in relief with Dustin Pedroia on first base and two outs.
David Phelps, who has thrown 93 pitches, appeared to have escaped trouble when he erased a Jacoby Ellsbury single with a double play, but Rapada will face James Loney and try to preserve the lead.
9:13 p.m.: One more note on this Joe Girardi madness: He just pulled Eric Chavez, who was 2-for-2 tonight with two doubles, for Jayson Nix, who is a .250 batter this season. Yes, Chavez got his hits against Aaron Cook, but he's a far better batter and fielder than Nix. Andruw Jones is also staying in the game in left field for Raul Ibanez.
Mid 6th, Yankees 3-1: We have a Joe Girardi sighting!
I knew we'd see Girardi go all National League on
us at some point, and he started his shenanigans in this frame by
sending Jayson Nix and Andruw Jones to the plate to pinch hit with Nick
Swisher on second after a leadoff double.
With Girardi and Bobby
Valentine sharing such an affinity for baseball strategy, you almost
wish we'd get to see them square off more often (that's a joke,
Valentine has made the most of his pitching situation
with his bullpen gymnastics this year, but he hasn't been able to employ
too many other tricks.
Girardi still gets scrutiny for how he
uses his stacked repertoire of relievers, fielders and general fill-in
guys. The recent slide that's evened up the playoff hunt in the American
League East hasn't earned him any more fans, either. In fact, Girardi
is getting that usual big-city "FIRE THE MANAGER NOW!" rubbish quite a
bit right now.
Girardi's maneuvers did nothing in that inning. Rich Hill and Alfredo Aceves combined to retire their Yankees batters, pinch hitters or not, and the score remains the same.
If you're wondering how the Orioles are doing tonight, they're tied with the Rays 2-2 after five innings.
9:08 p.m.: Alfredo Aceves has come on in relief for Rich Hill.
Hill struck out Jayson Nix and walked Andruw Jones before giving up a fielder's choice to Ichiro Suzuki, who beat out a bad throw to first base.
8:56 p.m.: That's Rich Hill coming into the game, folks. Aaron Cook threw 81 pitches, but the dozen or so in the fourth inning were his undoing.
He just gave up a banger of a double to Nick Swisher, and Hill will take the task of keeping the bases clean for this frame.
Cook allowed seven hits and struck out two tonight.
End 5th, Yankees 3-1: By saying "add some salt to that wound," I didn't mean Jarrod Saltalamachia. But he'll work. That's his first triple of the season and the fifth of his career. Very fine, no?
Saltalamacchia dropped the ball into the perfect spot in Fenway Park for a three-bagger — the corner in center field. Curtis Granderson, who is a great center fielder, was there, but the thing rattled around pretty well. By the time Granderson came up gunning, Saltalamacchia had decided to try for third, and he took it when Robinson Cano's sidearm whip was off the mark.
Still, for as well as Saltalamacchia has done tonight (1-for-1 on that triple, with a walk), I gotta say I miss Ryan Lavarnway and that thing that was growing on his upper lip. (Word is that he's shaved, however. How sad.)
Meanwhile, the Yankees' defense is looking far more playoff-worthy than last night's version. Granted, the Yankees did have their entire farm system on the field last night, but this inning had a great popup snag by Derek Jeter, who was ranging well behind third base.
And you've got to tip your hat to David Phelps, who has needed just 78 pitches so far. He rang up Daniel Nava and Jose Iglesias to end another Sox threat.
Mid 5th, Yankees 3-1: Derek Jeter graced the Fenway Faithful with his 3,281st career hit to start off the inning, then did some head's-up baserunning and took second on a long Curtis Granderson fly to center field. Jeter tested Jacoby Ellsbury's arm and came up with the base easily.
From our stat box, courtesy of the Red Sox: Jeter currently stands 32 hits away from the 225 that 39-year-old Paul Molitor posted for the Minnesota Twins in 1996. That's the highest total ever posted by a hitter who was 38 years or older.
Aaron Cook, meanwhile, is giving no more reasons to take him off the mound. He ended that inning by inducing yet another groundout, with a great nab of Robinson Cano at first erasing the threat of more runs. He's thrown 75 pitches tonight.
The great play that got Cano? Just a kid named Jose Iglesias. You may have heard of him, and please rush to your television to see the replay of that play if you didn't catch it live. This is why people gush about Iglesias.
End 4th, Yankees 3-1: Well, I hope you enjoyed my first three innings of blather about Aaron Cook and David Phelps, because both have regressed to their usual stat lines.
The Sox jumped on the board in their part of the frame behind a Dustin Pedroia double and James Loney single. Cody Ross bounced into a double play to keep the home team from scoring further.
This one could turn into a slugfest.
Mid 4th, Yankees 3-0: How quickly a nice night for Sox fans can unravel. The Yankees have decided to start hitting.
Curtis Granderson started the barrage with a huge fly to right-center that landed a few rows into the bleachers, putting the Yankees ahead 1-0 on Cook's 46th pitch. That's Granderson's 36th home run of the season.
Alex Rodriguez didn't wait long to see what Cook would give him, ripping a single, and Robinson Cano lashed the second pitch he got into the Monster seats. The homer — Cano's 30th — marks his single-season career high. (Does anybody think this is the last time we'll see that many home runs from No. 24?)
Nick Swisher unloaded on the first pitch he saw, too, but merely flied out to the left-field warning track. These balls are all getting rifled, though, showing that whatever Cook flummoxed the Yankees with early is either gone or was easy enough to get a hold of the second time through.
Raul Ibanez hit a long flyout to right, but Eric Chavez dumped another double into the center-field wall. The consistency with which he's pounding the ball to that exact same spot shows that his timing is near perfect at the plate.
Ichiro Suzuki also got on the board for the first time tonight with one of his trademark slaps to short. Pedro Ciriaco looked close enough to make the play, but the ball bounced through his glove. Jose Iglesias grabbed it behind him but didn't have time to make the throw to first. The play has been ruled as an error on Ciriaco, although that would have been hard to turn into an out with the speedy Ichiro.
Cook limited the damage by getting Chris Stewart out, but that inning showed the early honeymoon could be over for good. Clayton Mortensen is now warming up for the Red Sox. It's time for the Red Sox' bats to warm up as well.
End 3rd, 0-0: David Phelps is getting his fielding practice in tonight, too. He took another comebacker to the mound and flipped it to first to get Scott Podsednik out.
Phelps also got Jose Iglesias and Jacoby Ellsbury to ground out easily.
This isn't your fireball pitching matchup — both of tonight's starters rely on guile and placement to get hitters to connect less than seamlessly with the ball — but the effectiveness is top-tier so far. Aaron Cook has some serious juice in his sinking fastballs, and Phelps has been putting them where the Sox' bats can't get to them.
We'll see if the hitters have a better chance at the offerings in the next loop through the order.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: Ah, the jinx worked. We have our first hit of the game from Eric Chavez, who has been great this season for the Yankees.
Chavez laced a double out toward the Hundai sign in left-center to start the inning — the 300th double of his career. Chavez is taking the reigns at third base tonight from Alex Rodriguez, who continues to get some extra time resting after working back from a disabled list stint due to a broken hand.
Chavez has been such a great addition to the Yankees. The 34-year-old is talented enough to be a starting third baseman, but he wanted to be a backup due to injury troubles he's had throughout the years. That's why he and the Yankees are such a good fit — he wanted to be on a great team where he could get a chance to contribute, and New York needed a top-notch, capable backup in the infield. When Rodriguez went down for a few weeks with the broken hand, both sides benefited even more.
Chavez is batting .282 this season and has hit 13 home runs for the Yankees as well as giving an above-average hand at third base. He's also been known to start a rally or two, but not this time — Aaron Cook responded masterfully, getting Ichiro Suzuk to ground out, Chris Stewart to fly out and Derek Jeter to strike out most emphatically.
I've always heard that Jeter crowds the plate, but seeing it from my bird's-eye view up here in the press box is something else. That guy is all over the plate, and I can barely tell whether those pitches to the inside are balls or strikes. It's a good thing we have a professional calling it down there.
End 2nd, 0-0: And you thought we needed CC Sabathia, Jon Lester, Huroki Kuroda or Clay Buchholz to have a decent pitching night at Fenway Park during this Yankees-Red Sox series.
David Phelps and Aaron Cook are having no trouble cleaning out these power-hitting batting orders early. The real trick will be when they sweep through the lineups for the second time, but nary a hit from either pitcher — both of whom have had very poor stretches this season — is pretty amazing.
For the Sox, James Loney grounded out, and Cody Ross went down on strikes. Phelps walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but Daniel Nava grounded out to second.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: That was a pretty funky play involving Nick Swisher there. He twisted to move away from an inside Aaron Cook offering and ended up taking the pitch off the end of the handle of his bat.
Those who follow the Yankees, Derek Jeter or the general hate tirade against MLB umps will know that was a pretty similar play to when Jeter took one off the end of a bat against the Rays and got to take first base thanks to some clever acting last year.
This one clearly bounced off the bat and skittered into the infield, though, and Swisher had to try to run out his pseudo-bunt attempt. He was a step too short, accounting instead for the second out of the inning.
Of all the things Red Sox fans generally detest about the Yankees, the tricks they get away with are probably high on the list. Jeter's ploy was the winner in the catalogue of Yankees gaming the system until a fella named DeWayne Wise had the clincher earlier this season.
End 1st, 0-0: It's nice to see Jacoby Ellsbury back in the leadoff spot, where he's done so much damage for the Red Sox before. He's coming out of a nasty slump that had Bobby Valentine sending him all over the batting order to try to work out the kinks, including the No. 6 hole.
Ellsbury continues to be hitless against David Phelps, though, striking out to start the side for the Sox.
The Yankees also weren't quaking in their boots when the guy with "77" on his back came up to bat. That hitter, of course, is Pedro Ciriaco, whose name is rattling on everyone's tongue this night thanks to his affinity for punching holes in the New York defense.
Phelps got him, too, on a weak grounder back to the mound, then cleaned out Dustin Pedroia on a grounder to short. Pitcher's duel, anyone? It's a good night for baseball.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Aaron Cook looks solid in the first inning, using his sinker to get Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez to ground out. He also struck out Curtis Granderson and needed just 12 pitches to hang the zero in that one.
I ran into some National League West fans before the game who were coming to Fenway for the first time. They're huge baseball fans and took the week to check out one of the game's best parks.
And yes, the Dodgers fan was thankful to the Red Sox for that nice trade that happened just a few short weeks ago.
7:15 p.m.: Game time! Derek Jeter is squirming in the batter's box, and Aaron Cook is throwing away.
6:57 p.m.: For those of you saying "We'll get 'em next year," take a look at the Red Sox schedule for next year and see how exactly you'll get 'em.
6:48 p.m.: For those of you caught off-guard by that 6:46 p.m. National Anthem, don't worry — first pitch is still 7:10. The Red Sox are holding a ceremony on the field honoring Joe Castiglione tonight before the game.
6:30 p.m.: Scott Atchison has been activated off the 60-day disabled list, and Franklin Morales will get time on the 60-day DL himself, ending his season. Morales has been experiencing some shoulder fatigue, and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine had said it was unlikely he would keep pitching, as there's no need to aggravate the injury.
Atchison is 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA over 46 innings pitched for the Sox this year, with 34 strikeouts in his 37 appearances.
Morales went 3-4 this year with a 3.77 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings, split between the bullpen and starting.
6:20 p.m.: With football season starting, baseball is back to fighting for the attention of sports fans.
The pennant race is certainly thick across MLB, but one part of the football season has even World Series hopefuls thinking quarterbacks and receivers: Fantasy Football.
I heard just as much today about trading for Peyton Manning as I did about whether Jose Iglesias would be making crazy plays at short for the Sox.
The Yankees clubhouse especially had fantasy chatter going, when the players weren't watching a documentary about boxer Vitali Klitschko. Hey, maybe they read my earlier stories from today and were interested in my punching analogies. Because if there's anything the Yankees want more of, it's spoiler analysis from the great Jen Slothower (who, by the way, won her inaugural fantasy football league with a team she named the Ferrets, just to annoy all the hard-core fantasy players — many talents, you see).
6 p.m.: It's business as usual in the clubhouses and news conferences today, but Red Sox fans looking for some fire and something to highlight the end of this season have plenty to cheer for tonight and tomorrow.
The Red Sox got the fun started yesterday with a big win that shows several of their stars are playing to make statements about the team's future right now, and everybody else who still can't stand the Yankees are hoping this series will pay back some of the misery the American League East counterpart has dealt over the years.
5:50 p.m.: Some notes on the lineups for today.
The Red Sox haven't had a lot of experience against David Phelps, leaving a very small sample size to see how they may fare tonight. Dustin Pedroia and Cody Ross are 1-for-6, Mike Aviles is 1-for-3, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is 2-for-2, and Jacoby Ellsbury, Scott Podsednik and Ryan Lavarnway are 0-for-3.
Pedro Ciriaco? Well, he's 3-for-4, of course.
Ciriaco is batting .486 against the Yankees this year and just .265 against everyone else (more stats below, plus Yankees manager Joe Girardi's reaction).
The Yankees have more of a history against Aaron Cook, but it's not necessarily stellar (except for that poor start Cook posted July 27).
Nick Swisher is 3-for-8 against Cook, Curtis Granderson is 4-for-6, Ichiro Suzuki is 2-for-6, Robinson Cano is 1-for-5, Eric Chavez is 0-for-4, Derek Jeter is 1-for-3, Alex Rodriguez is 2-for-2 and Chris Stewart is 1-for-1.
Russell Martin, who is out of the lineup for tonight, is just 2-for-20 against Cook. He may be a pinch hitter once (if) Cook is gone from the game. Raul Ibanez (7-for-14), Andruw Jones (2-for-14) and Casey McGehee (5-for-11) are also starting on the bench but have seen Cook before.
5:30 p.m.: Ladies and gentlemen, your Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees lineups:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
James Loney, 1B
Cody Ross, RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Daniel Nava, LF
Scott Podsednik, DH
Jose Iglesias, SS
Aaron Cook, P
Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Alex Rodriguez, DH
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, 1B
Raul Ibanez, LF
Eric Chavez, 3B
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Chris Stewart, C
David Phelps, P
3:20 p.m.: For those of you thinking fall may have come a little early, it's positively summer-like here at Fenway Park.
The players are warming up on the field, and the place is humming already.
12 p.m.: After a season full of waking up and wondering what happened the night before, most Red Sox players likely crawled out of bed this morning with smiles on their faces.
(Also, the Yankees may have woken up wondering how a Fenway Park gate got the best of their bus.)
Last night's win wasn't just great for being a timely spoiler — it also puts the team in place to say huge things about where it's headed and how it will compete with the Yankees in the future.
Both teams will be back at it in just a few hours. Until then, some thoughts from Yankees manager Joe Girardi on this Pedro Ciriaco guy, who is 17-for-35 (.486) with 11 runs scored and seven RBIs in nine games against the Yankees. Five of Ciriaco's 13 multihit games this season have also come against the Yankees, and he was batting just .114 over the last 10 games coming into last night, when he had two hits.
Girardi: "He was struggling coming in, too. He hits a ball off his shoe tops to get a hit in the ninth. He just finds a way against us."
8 a.m. ET: The idea of the Red Sox as spoilers was alluring but somewhat unrealistic coming into yesterday. As much as the Red Sox have been able to foil the Yankees before, New York (79-62) entered the game with plenty to take care of due to their crunch in the standings — and the Sox (64-78) have shown they could find plenty of ways to lose.
But Jacoby Ellsbury and his pals had a little something extra last night. In a game marked by several New York defensive miscues, Ellsbury delivered a 4-for-5 night with two RBIs, including a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth.
He and the rest of the Red Sox will be back tonight aiming to do it again.
After a marquee pitching matchup last night, both sides will send starters out tonight who are less distinguished but have still proven themselves in big moments: David Phelps (3-4, 3.55 ERA) and Aaron Cook (3-9, 5.17).
Phelps found a spot in the New York rotation after Freddy Garcia stumbled badly at the beginning of the season, and he's picked up spot starts as Andy Pettitte works his way back from an ankle injury. Cook, meanwhile, was great when he came back from injury partway into this season and mowed down opposing batters with his sinker. He hit a wall a few weeks in, however, and has been struggling to keep hitters off the bases since.
Phelps has pitched 12 2/3 innings against the Red Sox this year, with a 4.26 ERA and 12 strikeouts. Cook, in his only appearance against the Yankees, went just four innings and allowed six earned runs.
The fun starts at 6 p.m., with the NESN studio crew bringing you pregame details. We'll also have lineups and other updates for you here on the live blog as the game approaches, with first pitch set for 7:10 p.m. Leave it here for the superb analysis and general merriment, and maybe some good old Yankees-Red Sox intrigue.