Final, Yankees 4-3: That’s a tough way to lose.
Alfonso Soriano stepped up with a runner on third and two outs. Brandon Workman unleashed a pitch up high. It went off Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s mitt and traveled to the backstop, allowing Ichiro Suzuki to score the winning run. The Yankees win 4-3.
Ichiro started the rally with a one-out single. He stole second base and advanced to third base when Vernon Wells flied out to right field.
It looked like Saltalamacchia was expecting a pitch down in the zone with Soriano at the plate, so when Workman’s fastball ran up, it caught the catcher off guard. The difficult shadows at Yankee Stadium might have also played a factor, but nevertheless, it was ruled a wild pitch.
Jon Lester went eight innings in Sunday’s series finale. He gave up three runs on 10 hits while striking out six and walking one. Lester threw 115 pitches (77 strikes) in the no-decision.
The Red Sox actually entered the ninth inning trailing 3-2, but Will Middlebrooks led off with an opposite-field home run against Mariano Rivera to tie the game. You can’t win them all, though, and Workman’s wild pitch allowed the Yankees to salvage a victory in the four game series. Boston took three of four in New York.
The Red Sox now travel to Tampa Bay to face the struggling Rays. The series kicks off Tuesday, and Clay Buchholz is expected to make his much-anticipated return.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, 3-3: They’ve done it again.
Will Middlebrooks led off the ninth inning with an opposite-field home run against Mariano Rivera, and we’re all tied up at three apiece.
Rivera rebounded to record three straight outs in the ninth. Mike Napoli struck out, Daniel Nava grounded to first base and Jonny Gomes lined to third base. The Red Sox were able to provide enough magic, though.
Brandon Workman will try to send this game to extra innings. Austin Romine, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells are due up, although it looks like Brett Gardner will bat for Romine.
End 8th, Yankees 3-2: Jon Lester came back out for the eighth inning and kept the deficit at one run.
Lester tossed a perfect inning to put the finishing touches on a pretty good start. The only problem is that the Red Sox’ offense has cooled off following four straight days of beating on opposing pitchers.
Mariano Rivera will look to complete a six-out save in the ninth inning. He’s scheduled to face Will Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Daniel Nava.
It looks like Napoli will bat for Bradley, as he has come out onto the on-deck circle.
Mid 8th, Yankees 3-2: Mariano Rivera is halfway there.
Rivera is being asked to record the final six outs, and he tossed a scoreless eighth inning.
Rivera started his two-inning effort by striking out David Ortiz. Rivera froze the slugger with a cutter on the inside corner after two pitches in on the hands.
Mike Carp tried to get something going with a single into right field. Quintin Berry was inserted as a pinch runner, and we saw in Thursday’s series opener how much of an impact he can have on the bases with his speed. Berry never had an opportunity to take off for second, though. In fact, he was almost picked off at one point.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out swinging and Stephen Drew popped out into foul territory along the third base line to end the inning.
End 7th, Yankees 3-2: The Yankees made some two-out noise in the seventh inning. But that’s all it was.
Jon Lester recorded two quick outs in the seventh. He fielded his position well on a comebacker by Ichiro Suzuki, and he got Vernon Wells to ground down to third base.
Alfonso Soriano and Robinson Cano made Lester work a little longer by smacking back-to-back singles. Lester made sure that the pair of two-out knocks didn’t come back to haunt him, as Alex Rodriguez flied out to center field to end the inning.
At first, it looked like A-Rod’s blooper had a chance to get down, but Jackie Bradley Jr. recovered from a poor jump to make the play.
Now, here’s something you don’t see all the time. Joe Girardi is turning to Mariano Rivera for a six-out save.
Mid 7th, Yankees 3-2: The Red Sox spoiled a good scoring chance in the seventh inning.
Shawn Kelley took over after six innings from Hiroki Kuroda. He struck out Will Middlebrooks to begin his outing.
Jackie Bradley Jr. put a rally in motion, though. Bradley singled into right field, and then hustled to third base when Jonny Gomes delivered a two-out single.
Gomes moved up into scoring position when a ball got away from catcher Austin Romine, but Dustin Pedroia couldn’t take advantage of the ducks on the pond.
Pedroia grounded to short to end the inning, stranding runners at second and third.
End 6th, Yankees 3-2: Jon Lester bounced back nicely in the sixth inning.
Lester, who surrendered two runs on four hits in the fifth, tossed a perfect sixth.
Curtis Granderson lifted a fly ball down the left field line. Jonny Gomes raced over while battling the tough sun, and he managed to shield his eyes long enough to make the catch. Gomes is wearing sunglasses, but there isn’t a cloud in the sky at Yankee Stadium for this matinee.
Eduardo Nunez struck out for the second out. The ball briefly got away from Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but Salty fired down to first base to complete the out.
Austin Romine hit for Chris Stewart with two outs. He hit a slow roller to short that Stephen Drew charged and took care of.
Mid 6th, Yankees 3-2: The Red Sox sliced their two-run deficit in half in the sixth inning.
David Ortiz used the right field line to secure a double in the second inning, so he decided to utilize the left field chalk this time around.
Ortiz moved up to third base when Mike Carp grounded to second base. Robinson Cano took a look at third before wisely going with the sure out at first.
Ortiz scored when Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a slow chopper to Cano. Again, Cano thought about trying to throw out Ortiz. But again, he thought better of it.
Stephen Drew flied out to deep left field to end the inning.
End 5th, Yankees 3-1: A few well-placed hits loaded the bases, and Robinson Cano stepped up like the superstar that he is.
The Yankees hit three straight singles to pack the bags with one out. Chris Stewart got it going with a base hit into left field.
Ichiro Suzuki hit a little popup to the left side that Stephen Drew ran after. Drew made a diving attempt near the lip of the outfield grass, but it dropped just beyond his reach.
Vernon Wells followed with a blooper into left-center field. This time, Drew raced out toward the outfield. The ball again fell just beyond his outstretched glove, though, and everyone moved up a station.
Cano brought home two runs with a double down the left field line. He put a nice inside-out swing on the second of two straight fastballs from Jon Lester to get the job done.
Lester walked Alex Rodriguez with two outs to reload the bases. He finally escaped the jam by getting Mark Reynolds — who drove in New York’s first run — to hit a ground ball to short.
Mid 5th, 1-1: Hiroki Kuroda enjoyed a much-needed 1-2-3 inning in the fifth.
The top of the order — which consists of Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes and Dustin Pedroia for this game — went down in order.
Nava flied out, Gomes struck out and Pedroia grounded out.
End 4th, 1-1: Mark Reynolds was asked — and failed — to bunt in his first at-bat. He smoked a double to the warning track in his second at-bat.
Jon Lester recorded two quick outs in the fourth inning. Alfonso Soriano flied out to shallow right field, and Robinson Cano lined a rocket right at Mike Carp at first base.
Alex Rodriguez kicked off some two-out magic, though. He singled into center field, paving the way for Reynolds’ game-tying RBI double to straightaway center field.
A-Rod looked gassed in the dugout after coming all the way around from first base.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 1-0: Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher isn’t making many friends in this game.
Fletcher and David Ortiz had a disagreement during Papi’s last at-bat, which even led to an exchange between Fletcher and John Farrell. In the fourth inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. disagreed with a call by Fletcher.
Will Middlebrooks singled with two down after Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded to first base and Stephen Drew struck out swinging on a splitter out of the zone. Middlebrooks moved up to second base on a passed ball.
Bradley failed to drive in Middlebrooks, as he struck out looking on a pitch that apparently caught the bottom of the strike zone. Bradley thought that the pitch was low.
End 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: Dustin Pedroia tossed some leather around and finished the third inning in style.
Jon Lester plunked Chris Stewart to begin the inning before Ichiro Suzuki lifted a fly ball to left field for the first out.
Vernon Wells hit a sharp grounder up the middle. It took a tough hop, but Pedroia made an excellent diving stop to kick off a nifty 4-6-3 double play.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: Jonny Gomes keeps swinging the bat well. He led off the third inning with a base hit.
Hiroki Kuroda, who has been forced to work in the early innings, made sure Gomes’ leadoff knock didn’t lead to any changes in the runs column.
Dustin Pedroia flied out to center field, and David Ortiz struck out swinging for the second out. Mike Carp, who knocked in Boston’s first run, grounded to Robinson Cano for an inning-ending forceout.
End 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: The first two hitters reached against Jon Lester in the second inning, but the left-hander rebounded for another scoreless frame.
Robinson Cano singled into left field, and Alex Rodriguez followed with a blooper into center. Jackie Bradley Jr. charged in on Rodriguez’s fly ball, but eventually had to pull up as A-Rod reached with a single.
Mark Reynolds — known for his power and tendency to strike out — was asked to bunt with runners at first and second. Clearly, he isn’t used to doing such. Reynolds popped up his ugly bunt bid, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia grabbed it behind the plate.
Lester kept the Yankees off the scoreboard by striking out Curtis Granderson and Eduardo Nunez. Both hitters chased pitches out of the strike zone.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Hiroki Kuroda couldn’t hold down the Red Sox’ offense for long. The Sox picked up a run in the first inning to jump out in front.
David Ortiz led off with a double down the right field line, and Mike Carp quickly knocked him in with his own two-bagger into right field.
Kuroda retired the next two hitters, but it was a major grind for the right-hander. Jarrod Saltalamacchia saw six pitches in his first at-bat in six days before flying out to right field. Stephen Drew saw nine pitches, but struck out swinging on a pitch up and away.
Kuroda then walked the No. 8 and No. 9 hitters, Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr. Daniel Nava couldn’t cash in with the bases loaded, though. He grounded out to Robinson Cano at second base to end the threat.
Kuroda has already thrown 52 pitches in two innings of work. Joe Girardi has to be going nuts, especially given how depleted his bullpen is right now.
End 1st, 0-0: Jon Lester enjoyed a speedy first inning.
Ichiro Suzuki tried to bunt his way on, but it didn’t work. Lester gobbled it up and tossed to first base to retire the 4,000-hit man.
Vernon Wells grounded to third base for the second out, and Alfonso Soriano popped out to Stephen Drew in shallow left-center field for the third out.
Lester needed just eight pitches to take care of business.
It was a quick first inning, but keep in mind that both offenses were held in check in the first inning of Saturday’s game as well.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Hiroki Kuroda delivered a first-pitch strike. His next pitch sailed behind Daniel Nava’s legs.
Was it a message? Who knows? But Kuroda settled down from there to retire the side in order in the first inning.
Daniel Nava was retired on a scorching ground ball to second base. It was hit hard, but it took a big, high hop into Robinson Cano’s glove.
Jonny Gomes struck out swinging for the second out, and Dustin Pedroia also tested Cano for the third out.
12:09 p.m.: Hiroki Kuroda’s first pitch is a strike. The series finale has begun.
12:49 p.m.: It sounds like Clay Buchholz will return Tuesday. The right-hander threw a bullpen session Sunday, and if all went swimmingly, he’ll go up against the Rays, according to John Farrell.
Buchholz should give the Red Sox’ rotation an extra boost, as he was lights out before landing on the disabled list. To see how good Buchholz’s season was before he got hurt, check out BostonFanFavorites.com.
12:33 p.m.: The Red Sox have recalled Allen Webster from Triple-A Pawtucket.
Webster will join Boston’s bullpen, and it’s going to be very interesting to see how the Red Sox use him down the stretch.
Webster, of course, spent most of the season starting games. He made six starts with Boston earlier this season and 21 starts with Pawtucket before transitioning to the PawSox’ bullpen during the club’s current playoff series.
Webster tossed a scoreless inning of relief for Pawtucket on Wednesday, and his switch to the ‘pen made it clear that a call-up was in the cards.
11:56 a.m.: Jarrod Saltalamacchia will return to the Red Sox’ lineup after missing the last five games with a back issue.
Salty’s return is an encouraging sign, especially now that another player in the starting lineup, Jacoby Ellsbury, is dealing with a foot issue that sounds somewhat serious. Ellsbury is getting a second opinion in Denver, and there’s currently no timetable for his return.
11:32 a.m.: Daniel Nava will be inserted into the leadoff spot Sunday as Shane Victorino gets a day off. Jonny Gomes will bat second.
Joining Nava (right field) and Gomes (left field) in the Boston outfield will be rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. Bradley will hold down center field for the second straight game and bat ninth.
Sunday’s complete lineups are below.
Red Sox (87-57)
Daniel Nava, RF
Jonny Gomes, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Carp, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Jon Lester, LHP (13-8, 3.88 ERA)
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Vernon Wells, DH
Alfonso Soriano, LF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Mark Reynolds, 1B
Curtis Granderson, CF
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Chris Stewart, C
Hiroki Kuroda, RHP (11-10, 2.99 ERA)
8 a.m. ET: Let’s see what the Red Sox’ offense has in store for Hiroki Kuroda.
Boston’s bats have been insane over the last four days. The Red Sox have racked up 54 runs and 17 homers in their last four games, which started with a 20-4 rout of the Tigers on Thursday. The Sox have taken three straight against the Yankees in New York, meaning that a sweep is well within reach.
Jon Lester will take the mound on Sunday as the Red Sox look to build on a suddenly commanding AL East lead. The Red Sox lead the Rays by 8 1/2 games, and Tampa Bay now needs to turn things around to make sure that a wild card spot doesn’t slip away. Entering Sunday’s action, both the Orioles and Indians trail the Rays and Rangers by one game in the AL wild card race. The Yankees sit 2 1/2 games back and the Royals sit 3 1/2 games back of Tampa and Texas.
While the Red Sox seem to have a stranglehold on a playoff spot, don’t expect them to get complacent. Boston learned the hard way two years ago that no lead is safe, and these Red Sox don’t want to fall into the same trap.
Sunday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Tune in on NESN, and keep it right here.