After an ugly loss like this, the only positive the Red Sox can take away is that no one got hurt. Luckily, it appears that no one did.
The Sox lost 9-5 to the Yankees on Friday night, falling behind 5-0
early on and never coming all the way back, but the story of the night
was the uncertain status of Jon Lester, who left in the bottom of the third inning after being hit in the leg by a Melky Cabrera line drive.
A combination of four Boston relievers finished the game in Lester's stead, but the real relief came later — in the form of Lester's X-rays coming up negative. The Sox' lefty is now listed as day-to-day with a right quad contusion.
As for the game at hand, Alex Rodriguez went 3-for-3 with a home run and two walks as the Yankees cruised to victory. The Yankees stole seven bases in the win. In a losing effort, David Ortiz slugged his 27th home run of the year and Victor Martinez added his 22nd.
Final: Yankees 9, Red Sox 5.
Phil Coke comes to
the mound to pitch the ninth in a non-save situation, and the Red Sox
go down in the ninth fairly quietly. Pinch-hitter Rocco Baldelli walks to lead off the ninth, but Varitek then strikes out to finish an 0-for-4 night and Casey Kotchman
grounds into a pretty double play, Jeter to Cano to Teixeira, to end
the ballgame. The Yankees take game one of the three-game set.
End 8th, 9-5 Yanks: Ramon Ramirez enters to pitch the eighth,
and after walking Jorge Posada, Ram-Ram sets down the Yanks' 7-8-9
hitters with ease. A groundout, popout and flyout for Cano, Swisher and
Melky respectively is all she wrote for the Yankees in the eighth, and
we're going on to the top of the ninth. The Sox will send their own
7-8-9 guys to the plate down four runs.
Now would be a good time to dip into the bench for a good pinch-hitter — Mike Lowell, anyone?
Middle 8th, 9-5 Yanks: Jonathan Albaladejo comes in to
pitch the eighth for New York, and the big fella lets the Red Sox sneak
back into the game just a little bit. Jacoby Ellsbury starts off with a
walk, and after singles by Martinez and Youkilis, the Sox have gotten a
run back and Joe Girardi has decided he's seen enough of Albaladejo.
Damaso Marte comes in to face one batter — David Ortiz, who plates a run by grounding into a fielder's choice for the second out. Phil Hughes then comes to the mound to face Jason Bay with two outs and Papi on first, and Bay strikes out swinging. But the Sox get two back, inching a little bit closer. They're running out of time, though.
End 7th, 9-3 Yanks: Delcarmen comes back out to pitch the
seventh inning, and it starts off well, but the Yankees run wild with
two outs. Jeter singles and Damon walks to put two on for Mark Teixeira,
and Tex makes Delcarmen pay by driving one deep to right for what turns
out to be just a long single. A-Rod then walks, making it five times on
base for him tonight, but Delcarmen gets out of the inning by inducing
a groundout to third by Hideki Matsui. The Yanks tack on another run in
the seventh, making it 9-3.
Middle 7th, 8-3 Yanks: Joba Chamberlain is done for the night, but Alfredo Aceves gives
the Yankees a solid inning in relief. Aceves has little trouble with
the Sox' 7-8-9 guys — J.D. Drew manages a single to lead things off,
but Jason Varitek grounds into a tailor-made 4-3 double play to clear
the bases, and Alex Gonzalez then pops out. The Yankees are six outs
away from polishing this one off.
End 6th, 8-3 Yanks: Alex Rodriguez continues to smack the Red
Sox' pitching staff around, coming through here in the sixth with an
RBI double to right-center field against Bowden. The Yanks' slugger is
now 3-for-3 in the game with a single, a double, a home run, a walk and
four RBIs. He's also stolen three bases. What can't A-Rod do?
Matsui singles to drive home another New York run, and that brings Terry Francona out of the dugout to pull Bowden. He gets Manny Delcarmen to finish the sixth inning, and finish it he does. The Red Sox now trail by five, though, with the bottom of the order coming up.
Middle 6th, 6-3 Yanks: The Red Sox start to mount a threat when Dustin Pedroia
walks and then steals second base with nobody out, and three batters
later, they cash in. David Ortiz goes opposite field and blasts on deep
to left, two rows deep into the outfield seats, for his 27th home run
of the year. The Sox get two runs back, and it's beginning to look like
they're within striking distance of Joba and the Yankees.
End 5th, 6-1 Yanks: Three up, three down. Michael Bowden strikes
out the side against the Yankees' 8-9-1 hitters in the bottom of the
fifth — he gets Swisher swinging, Cabrera looking and then Jeter
swinging after a seven-pitch at-bat. We're going to the sixth, and the
Red Sox will send the 2-3-4 section of their order to the plate, hoping
to chip away at the Yankees' five-run lead.
Middle 5th, 6-1 Yanks: The Red Sox threaten against Joba in the
fifth, but they come up empty. Jason Bay singles to center to start off
the inning, and a J.D. Drew double into the gap in left-center puts two
in scoring position with nobody out, but Joba needs just seven pitches
to retire Varitek, Gonzalez and Jacoby Ellsbury in order and escape the jam. The Red Sox squander a golden opportunity to get back in the ballgame.
End 4th, 6-1 Yanks: The most important news of the fourth inning
is the X-ray on Jon Lester's leg — it came up negative, and the Sox'
lefty is merely day-to-day with a contusion of his right quad. On the
field, however, the news isn't nearly as encouraging. Hunter Jones gets
knocked out in the fourth after a Matsui RBI single, and the Yanks tack
on another run against Michael Bowden when Jorge Posada drives one home. It's 6-1 Yankees.
Middle 4th, 5-1 Yanks: After a 33-minute wait, Joba comes back
out and loses his perfect game in dramatic fashion. Victor Martinez
gets the Red Sox' first hit of the game, and it's a drive to
right-center field that gets over the wall and into the right-field
bullpen. Victor has now hit safely in 24 straight games, and the Red
Sox are on the scoreboard.
End 3rd, 5-0 Yanks: Lester makes a big mistake against A-Rod in
his second at-bat, leaving one out over the plate for the Yankees third
baseman to drive halfway from here to the Bronx Zoo. That makes it 3-0
New York in the bottom of the third, but what lies ahead is much worse.
With one out and the bases loaded, Lester takes a line drive from Melky Cabrera directly on the kneecap, sending him to the ground in agony and rendering him unable to get up for several minutes. Eventually, Lester finds the strength to walk off the field on his own power — the Sox can only hope Lester is okay in the long run. A lot hinges on the Red Sox having a healthy ace back in time for the postseason.
A run scores on the play, by the way, but that's hardly what matters in the grand scheme of things. Trailing 4-0, the Red Sox turn to September call-up Hunter Jones to finish the third inning — Jones gets Derek Jeter to ground into a fielder's choice for the second out, but that scores a run to pad the Yankee lead. It's now 5-0 through three innings — and mind you, the Red Sox have still not been able to reach base against Joba Chamberlain.
Middle 3rd, 1-0 Yanks: Through three innings, Joba Chamberlain just looks unhittable. J.D. Drew pops
up to Posada to start off the top of the third, and Joba then wastes no
time mowing down the Sox' eighth and ninth hitters, Varitek and
Gonzalez. You've got to wonder if Joba will be this good if he meets
the Sox again in a potential ALCS matchup…
End 2nd, 1-0 Yanks: The Yankees get a leadoff single for the second consecutive inning, this time from Robinson Cano,
but again they come up empty. Jeter walks with two outs to put two
aboard, but a grounder up the middle from Johnny Damon is met by a nice
stab from Alex Gonzalez and a bizarre spin move to tag second
base and end the inning. The Yankees have now rattled Lester twice, but
the game remains close.
Middle 2nd, 1-0 Yanks: Joba's perfect through two. After Nick Swisher robs David Ortiz with an awkward-looking yet effective sliding catch of a liner to right field, Joba comes back and strikes out Jason Bay swinging for his first K of the night. Six Red Sox up, six down.
End 1st, 1-0 Yanks: The Yankees get on the board first against Lester. Derek Jeter
starts things off with an infield single, and the Yanks move him around
to score — after the Captain steals second, a single from A-Rod brings
him around to score the first New York run. After walking Hideki Matsui,
Lester finally gets out of trouble — on a 3-2 pitch, he strikes out
Posada looking, eliciting an emphatic strike three call from Tim Welke behind the plate.
Middle 1st, 0-0: With the postseason on the horizon, everyone's
wondering whether Joba Chamberlain can handle the pressure of taking on
the Red Sox in a big game. So far, the answer's yes — Joba gets two
groundouts and a fly to center off the bat of Victor Martinez, and it's a perfect first inning for the Yanks' youngster.
6:30 p.m.: When the AL's two powers square off, don't expect too
many surprises on the lineup card. Both teams are at full strength. The
Red Sox will start Jason Varitek behind the plate tonight, catching Jon Lester; that means Victor Martinez at first base and Kevin Youkilis at third, while Mike Lowell starts off his night on the bench.
The Yankees are back to their starting nine — Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher all had the night off when the Yankees visited the Angels on Wednesday night, but all four guys are back now.
2:00 p.m.: The Red Sox' magic number in the AL playoff hunt is down to three —
and as luck would have it, three is exactly the number of meetings the
Sox have left with the hated Yankees.
This weekend, the Red Sox head to the Bronx for their final meeting with the playoff-bound Bombers, and with the Sox on the verge of punching their own playoff tickets, this one takes on added significance. These two teams are done for the regular season, but they just might tangle again in October.
A pair of power-pitching youngsters take the mound at Yankee Stadium in the series opener. Jon Lester, undefeated since July 19, takes the mound for the Red Sox — he's been a go-to guy for Boston in the second half, and the team would love to go for him now for a pivotal win in their playoff chase. For the Yankees, it'll be Joba Chamberlain, the hard-throwing righty making his 30th start of the season.
Both teams are almost certainly October-bound, but there's still no shortage of tension when the greatest rivalry in sports takes center stage. Sox-Yankees: You can never miss this.