Final, Yankees 4-1: The Yankees hold an early edge in the season series.
The Yankees downed the Red Sox 4-1 on Thursday behind a strong pitching performance by Michael Pineda. Pineda gave up just one run on four hits over six innings while striking out seven and walking two.
Clay Buchholz, who surrendered a career-high 13 hits in his first start of the season, was much better in his second start. He gave up four runs (two earned) over six innings, but the Red Sox’s offense couldn’t provide any support.
The Red Sox mustered up just four hits. One was a home run by Daniel Nava in the seventh inning. Xander Bogaerts collected two hits and David Ortiz produced one.
Jacoby Ellsbury went 2-for-4 with a run scored in his first game against the Red Sox. Ellsbury led off the Yankees’ two-run fourth inning with a ground ball to the left side that Jonathan Herrera couldn’t handle.
The Red Sox will turn to Jon Lester on Friday as they look to bounce back in the Bronx. Lester will be opposed by CC Sabathia.
End 8th, Yankees 4-1: Chris Capuano’s impressive start to the season continues.
Capuano had no problems working a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury went down in order — all on ground ball outs.
Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and Xander Bogaerts are due up for Boston in the ninth inning.
Mid 8th, Yankees 4-1: The Red Sox will need a ninth-inning rally.
The top of Boston’s order — Grady Sizemore, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz — went down without a fight in the eighth inning.
Sizemore popped out, Pedroia grounded out and Ortiz struck out swinging.
Chris Capuano will pitch the eighth inning for Boston.
End 7th, Yankees 4-1: Craig Breslow worked a scoreless seventh inning for Boston after six innings from Clay Buchholz.
Kelly Johnson, Yangervis Solarte and Dean Anna went down in order against Breslow in the seventh inning.
Buchholz gave up four runs (two earned) on seven hits in his six innings of work. He struck out six while throwing 94 pitches (64 strikes).
Michael Pineda gave up one earned run on four hits over six innings for New York. He struck out seven and walked two while throwing 94 pitches (63 strikes).
It’s worth noting that Pineda might have had some sort of substance on his throwing hand — or at least that’s what it looked like in video replays. We’ll see what Pineda has to say about it after the game before speculating too much.
Mid 7th, Yankees 4-1: Daniel Nava snapped a 4-for-34 skid with a home run into the right field seats.
Nava led off the seventh inning with his first home run of 2014. It came on a 1-0 pitch from Michael Pineda.
Xander Bogaerts followed Nava’s big fly with a single into center field. That prompted a pitching change, although Pineda was excellent for New York in his six-plus innings of work.
Cesar Cabral took over for Pineda and immediately was charged with a balk. The left-hander struck out A.J. Pierzynski and Jackie Bradley Jr. before handing the keys to David Phelps to finish off the inning.
Craig Breslow will pitch the seventh inning for Boston.
End 6th, Yankees 4-0: Clay Buchholz enjoyed a 1-2-3 sixth inning.
Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano went down in order against Buchholz.
The Red Sox’s offense hasn’t been able to muster up anything against Michael Pineda, so Buchholz’s improvement over his last start has been wasted so far.
Mid 6th, Yankees 4-0: David Ortiz pounded a two-out double, but Michael Pineda again blanked Boston in the sixth inning.
Grady Sizemore grounded out and Dustin Pedroia popped out before Ortiz’s double to the wall in right-center field.
Mike Napoli hit a fly ball right at Jacoby Ellsbury in center field to end the inning.
End 5th, Yankees 4-0: Dean Anna launched his first major league home run in the fifth inning.
Anna took Clay Buchholz deep with one out. Buchholz left a pitch over the inner half of the plate, and Anna knew exactly what to do with it.
Anna, who hit .331 at Triple-A in 2013, made his major league debut in Friday’s win over the Blue Jays. He was acquired by the Yankees in November in exchange for pitcher Ben Paullus.
Buchholz rebounded to strike out Brett Gardner before Derek Jeter lined a double over Daniel Nava’s head in right field. Jeter’s hit was big, as Jacoby Ellsbury knocked him in with New York’s fourth run.
Mid 5th, Yankees 2-0: Xander Bogaerts gave the Red Sox their first hit in the fifth inning.
Bogaerts led off the fifth with a single into left field. Michael Pineda then stopped any potential threat from developing.
A.J. Pierzynski lifted a fly ball down the left field line. Brett Gardner raced over into foul territory to make a nice running grab before bumping into the wall.
Pineda struck out Jackie Bradley Jr. and Jonathan Herrera swinging to end the inning, giving the right-hander seven strikeouts thus far.
End 4th, Yankees 2-0: Brian McCann had his first Red Sox-Yankees moment in the fourth inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury reached to begin the bottom of the fourth. Ellsbury hit a ground ball to the left side that Jonathan Herrera couldn’t handle.
Herrera’s error opened the floodgates, as Carlos Beltran singled and McCann drove in New York’s first run with a line drive down the right field line.
Alonso Soriano knocked in New York’s second run on a 6-4-3 double play. It was a trade-off the Red Sox clearly were willing to accept given the way the inning was unfolding.
Both runs were unearned.
Mid 4th, 0-0: The Red Sox still are without a hit, as Michael Pineda has been very sharp.
Mike Napoli walked with two outs, but it didn’t lead to anything on the scoreboard. Pineda has been filthy — his slider has been particularly nasty — and Daniel Nava struck out to end the inning.
Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz both flied out before Napoli’s two-out walk.
End 3rd, 0-0: Clay Buchholz navigated around a two-out single en route to another scoreless inning.
The highlight of the third inning was a diving play by Daniel Nava in shallow right field. Yangervis Solarte lifted a blooper that Nava completely outstretched to grab.
Brett Gardner singled after Dean Anna grounded to first base. Derek Jeter went right back at Mike Napoli, who again handled the play to end the inning.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: Michael Pineda has held the Red Sox hitless through three innings, although Boston did manufacture a baserunner in the third inning.
Jackie Bradley Jr. sneaked a five-pitch walk in-between two strikeouts. A.J. Pierzynski and Jonathan Herrera each struck out swinging.
Bradley, who is batting out of the No. 8 spot, walked three times while batting ninth in Wednesday’s victory over the Rangers. Bradley became the first No. 9 hitter since Ryan Langerhans — who walked four times on April 8, 2011 — to walk in every plate appearance.
Bradley swiped second base with two outs in the third inning and considered taking third base when Brian McCann’s throw traveled into center field. Bradley thought better of it, though, despite Jacoby Ellsbury’s weak arm.
Grady Sizemore ended up hitting a ground ball up the middle with two down. Third baseman Yangervis Solarte, who was pulled over because of the shift, made the play and tossed an off-balance throw to first base to retire the side.
End 2nd, 0-0: Clay Buchholz enjoyed a clean second inning.
Brian McCann and Kelly Johnson put the ball on the ground to second baseman Dustin Pedroia for the first and third outs, respectively.
Buchholz struck out Alfonso Soriano for the second out of the second inning. Soriano flinched big time at a nasty curveball that dipped into the strike zone.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Michael Pineda has retired the first six hitters he’s faced in this game.
Mike Napoli flied out to center field, and Daniel Nava and Xander Bogaerts followed with back-to-back strikeouts.
Both Nava and Bogaerts went down hacking.
End 1st, 0-0: The Red Sox flashed some leather in the first inning to prevent the Yankees from jumping ahead.
Derek Jeter, whose farewell tour continues, singled into center field with one out. Dustin Pedroia then robbed Jacoby Ellsbury in the Yankees outfielder’s first at-bat against his former club.
Ellsbury yanked a ground ball to the right side that look destined for right field. Pedroia ranged over and laid out to make a diving stop before tossing to first base to complete the out.
Carlos Beltran nearly sent one into the left-center field gap with two down in the first inning, but Jackie Bradley Jr. showed excellent range to flag it down. Bradley’s nice running catch saved a run.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Michael Pineda worked a scoreless first inning.
Grady Sizemore, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz went down in order against the Yankees right-hander.
Pedroia actually gave one a pretty good ride to right field, but Carlos Beltran drifted back toward the warning track to make the grab.
Ortiz hit a line drive right on the screws that first baseman Kelly Johnson handled to end the inning.
7:08 p.m.: Michael Pineda delivers a first-pitch strike to Grady Sizemore. The Red Sox and Yankees have gotten things underway for the first time in 2014.
6 p.m.: Grady Sizemore will lead off and play left field.
Manager John Farrell said before Thursday’s game that Sizemore leading off is designed to take some pressure off the struggling Daniel Nava. Farrell also said the outfield alignment of — from left to right — Sizemore, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Nava is being deployed because of the outfield dimensions at Yankee Stadium.
Thursday’s complete lineups are below.
Boston Red Sox (4-5)
Grady Sizemore, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, RF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Jonathan Herrera, 3B
Clay Buchholz, RHP (0-0, 12.46 ERA)
New York Yankees (4-5)
Brett Gardner, LF
Derek Jeter, SS
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Carlos Beltran, RF
Brian McCann, C
Alfonso Soriano, DH
Kelly Johnson, 1B
Yangervis Solarte, 3B
Dean Anna, 2B
Michael Pineda, RHP (0-1, 1.50 ERA)
5:30 p.m. ET: Thursday will be an interesting day for Jacoby Ellsbury. Friday will be even more unique.
Ellsbury, who signed a seven-year, $153 million contract with the New York Yankees over the offseason, on Thursday will face the Boston Red Sox — the team that drafted him back in 2005 — for the first time since jumping ship in free agency. The 30-year-old outfielder will receive his 2013 Red Sox World Series ring on Friday at Yankee Stadium.
Ellsbury had some ups and downs during his seven years with the Red Sox, but he won two World Series titles and established himself as one of the most dynamic leadoff hitters in Major League Baseball. That dynamism earned him a nice payday over the winter, and Red Sox fans seem to have mixed feelings about Ellsbury crossing over to the dark side.
Ellsbury is off to a solid start this season — hitting .364 with a .417 on-base percentage in nine games — while the Red Sox have struggled to get production out of the leadoff spot. The Red Sox have to worry about more than their old friend, though, especially with Thursday’s starter, Michael Pineda, back and looking very sharp.
Clay Buchholz will take the ball for Boston in Thursday’s series opener in the Bronx. Buchholz was torched in his last outing, so the Red Sox absolutely will be looking for better results from the right-hander. Thursday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.