The Red Sox once again could not score against the Yankees, this time losing 5-0 in just nine innings. The loss sends the Sox 5 1/2 games behind the Yanks for first place in the AL East — a spot that looks more and more likely to be occupied by the Bombers come season's end.
The shutout stretches the Red Sox' scoreless streak to 24 innings after they couldn't muster a run in 15 innings on Friday night.
The Yankees scored their runs on an RBI single from Mark Teixeira, a bases-loaded walk by Nick Swisher, a sacrifice fly from Jose Molina and a two-run home run that traveled exactly 314 feet off the bat of Derek Jeter in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Yankees 5, Red Sox 0
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.
Aug. 8, 2009
Headliner: That's why CC makes the big bucks.
CC Sabathia gave up just two hits and two walks in 8 2/3 innings, striking out nine en route to his 12th victory of the year. A Red Sox runner reached second base just once, but Sabathia induced a 4-6-3 double play to keep the Sox off the board.
Heading into the game, Sabathia was 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA against the Sox this season. He had lost the only start in which he faced Boston, and hadn't won against the Sox since 2006. Perhaps he was saving it for the 12th round, when the heavyweight landed what could be a knockout blow.
Dirt Dog: Confidence was not exactly abundant around the Nation heading into Saturday. The bullpen nearly pitched a complete game Friday night, so the Sox were going to need a strong outing from Clay Buchholz, who had yet to pitch six full innings this season.
Though he wasn't as good as fellow Texan Josh Beckett was on Friday, he came close. Buchholz, five days shy of his 25th birthday, pitched out of a number of jams in six innings, giving up just two runs.
The offense didn't have his back, but Buchholz showed signs that he could be a contributor down the stretch.
Better Luck Next Time: Maybe he wasn't hustling or maybe his hip is that bad, but Mike Lowell has never looked worse on a baseball field than he did running down the first base line in the top of the seventh inning.
With two on and one out, Lowell hit a sharp grounder at second baseman Robinson Cano, who turned and threw to Jeter. Kevin Youkilis executed a successful takeout slide, forcing Jeter to jump and land with the ball in his hand. First baseman Mark Teixeira came out of his stance, apparently giving up on the double-play possibility.
Jeter didn't, however, because Lowell was hardly halfway down the line. The shortstop threw to Teixeira and retired Lowell, with the ball beating him by several steps.
If it was Manny Ramirez lollygagging his way to first, it would be front-page news. Instead, it was the still-recovering-from-hip-surgery Lowell, so he'll get the benefit of the doubt.
But whether it was for lack of effort or lack of flexibility, one thing's for sure: That's not big league speed, and in this case, it cost the Sox an opportunity.
The Sox' offense, of course, warrants mentioning, with Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, Casey Kotchman and Nick Green combining to go 0-for-19 with 10 strikeouts.
On Deck: Could this series be this year's equivalent of the Boston Massacre of 2006? Sunday could be the deciding factor.
In the 2006 collapse, the Yankees swept a five-game series at Fenway from Aug. 18-21, effectively ending the Red Sox' season with more than a month to play. Though a loss on Sunday won't have the same result (the Sox still own a one-game lead in the wild-card race), a four-game sweep would be the ultimate punch in the stomach to a Red Sox team that has had an awful week.
It will also be interesting to watch if either team decides to plunk another batter. Dustin Pedroia saw a couple of Mark Melancon's pitches fly at his face on Thursday night, while Ramon Ramirez was ejected for the first time in his career on Saturday after hitting Alex Rodriguez in the elbow. Home plate umpire Jim Joyce promptly tossed Ramirez, even though no team appeared to have been warned.
On Sunday, Jon Lester (9-7, 3.79 ERA), fresh off a six-inning, one-run performance in Tampa Bay, will be on the mound. Andy Pettitte (9-6, 4.35 ERA) will get the start for the Yanks, himself coming off a fine one-run, 6 2/3-inning performance on Tuesday.
Last year, Lester was the postseason ace for the Sox. Sunday night won't be a playoff game, but it could go a long way in getting there.
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