Swisher blasted two home runs to spark the Yankees, who managed five solo home runs on the night, to a 6-4 win over the Red Sox.
Dustin Pedroia provided basically all of the Sox offense on Friday, belting a three-run home run in the third inning and giving himself nearly the best possible gift on his 29th birthday — a win was likely more desired.
Franklin Morales got roughed up while Phil Hughes looked damn good, and the Sox drop back to four games under .500 and even farther out of the playoff picture.
End 8th, Yankees 6-4: After striking out Granderson to start the inning, Andrew Miller was pulled in favor of Andrew Bailey.
Bailey made quick work of the two Yankees he saw, though. Getting the Sox out of the inning and back to the plate looking for a chance to tie things up.
Ross, Salty and Aviles are due up, so don't get too jacked up for heroics, although each of them has had their fair share this year.
Mid 8th, Yankees 6-4: The Boston bats nearly came alive with a bang in the eighth, but Pedroia came up just a few feet short of saving this one.
Carl Crawford got lucky on a ball up the middle when it went off reliever David Robertson's foot, extending the hit to a double. But Pedroia's moonshot fell short and Gonzo couldn't do anything with the big opportunity.
It's not looking good for the Sox, and hopefully they can turn it around the ninth. But I wouldn't get your hopes up.
End 7th, Yankees 6-4: Nick Swisher did it again.
After taking the lead in the sixth, Swishalicious went deep for the second time on Friday, giving the Yanks a 6-4 lead and just the insurance they were looking for.
That will likely be it for Mortensen, who pitched admirably but not perfectly — as the Sox needed.
Andrew Miller came on to close things out in the seventh and looks to have some of his best stuff.
Now, let's see if the Sox offense has what it takes to reclaim the lead.
Mid 7th, Yankees 5-4: Phil Hughes can't be stopped.
With another 1-2-3 in the seventh, that marks eight in a row retired by the big right-hander.
The best news for the Red Sox from this is likely the fact that Hughes now has 103 pitches and will probably be riding the pine the rest of the way
Already facing a three-run deficit, they better hope the relievers can hold up and keep the offense in the game at least.
End 6th, Yankees 5-4: Morales got a quick out to kick off the sixth, but after a pair of base hits and a couple of men threatening, it was time to call on the bullpen.
Clayton Mortensen came on in relief, attempting to avert the danger, but Jayson Nix got the best of him with a bloop single to left.
With the run, the Yankees took a 5-4 lead and look to keep Boston in check as the game enters the home stretch.
The run was charged to Morales, meaning his final line was five hits and five earned over 5 1/3 innings. Rough night, especially considering he only missed on a few pitches.
Mid 6th, 4-4: Phil Hughes is cruising at this point.
He may have struggled for a few batters in the third, mainly due to his own error, but he's rediscovered that zone and is absolutely dealing now.
Gonzo, Ross and Salty all went down in order and never seemed to have a line on any of his pitches.
End 5th, 4-4: Morales finally looked to settle in after a three-run debacle to start things off. But just when things were going good, Derek Jeter struck.
Jeter bombed home the Yankees' fourth home run of the night, belting one to the left-field seats and tying this one up at 4-4.
The Yankees now have four hits here on Friday night, and each of the four have been taken over the wall — not a good sign.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-3: Ichiro has been a solid offensive addition to the Yankees since joining the club almost a month ago. But in the fifth, he also showed off his defensive prowess.
The Yankees left fielder made a couple of stylish grabs to sit down Ciriaco and Crawford, avoiding another Red Sox rally.
Hughes has been nothing less than stellar since allowing four runs in the third. It should be interesting to see if this one turns into a pitcher's duel down the stretch.
End 4th, Red Sox 4-3: Franklin Morales may have struggled his way through the first two innings, but since the rain has held up, it's been clear sailing.
Morales struck out Casey McGahee to start things off, and then saw both Granderson and Martin ground out to end the inning.
His curveball is staying up in the zone, but he's got so much movement on it that it's difficult to judge. Through four, Morales has thrown just 58 pitches, so if he continues to settle in on the mound — and the rain holds off — maybe he could make it through six or seven out there.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-3: After a brutal third inning, Phil Hughes seemed to regain his form in the fourth.
Hughes sat down both Ross and Salty on strikes, giving him four on the night.
Aviles was able to bloop in another single — he's now 2-for-2 on the night — but Podsednik popped one up to end the inning and send things back over to Franklin Morales.
End 3rd, Red Sox 4-3: Scott Podsednik helped start the Red Sox four-run rally in the top of the third, and he may have just saved a run in the bottom half.
Cano blasted a shot toward deep right field, but as the ball approached the top of the fence, Podsednik made a leaping grab and robbed the second baseman of a lead-changing home run.
Take that, Yankees!
But for a moment of concern, Franklin Morales is giving up all the long balls tonight. Let's just hope that he gets through five before the Yanks see another one leave the yard.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 4-3: The Red Sox have got a chance after all.
After falling behind 3-0 in the early going, the Red Sox got hot in the third.
It started with Aviles and Podsednik finding their way on base, and after Ciriaco knocked in the first run, Pedey went deep.
Pedroia, who is celebrating his 29th birthday on Friday, sent a three-run shot 'la luna' — to the moon — and gave the Sox a 4-3 lead with his 10th home run of the season.
7:45 p.m.: I think they're holding off on any rain delays in this one, especially given the forecast.
It doesn't look like there's much in the way of rain headed in New York's direction over the next few hours, so barring an all-out disaster this one should finish up before the storms return.
Check out the three-hour forecast in the photo below.
End 2nd, Yankees 3-0: So, Franklin Morales looks good out there. No? Okay, I concede to that notion.
After giving up a solo bomb to Nick Swisher in the first, Morales has allowed back-to-back jacks to Granderson and Russell Martin in the second.
Maybe, for the Red Sox sake at least, the rain wouldn't be the worst thing here.
Either that or they need some runs, and fast.
Mid 2nd, Yankees 1-0: Hughes isn't having any trouble with the Boston bats thus far.
The Yankees starter got Gonzo on a foul popup, followed by a Cody Ross flyout and Salty's one billionth strikeout of the season.
Alright, maybe I'm being too hard on Salty, but in reality he's been so hit or miss — pun intended — this season. He's got a few big bombs, but he's also struck out a good deal.
I know he's the starter and all, and Lavarnway's been miserable, but maybe it's time to get this guy some coaching at the dish.
End 1st, Yankees 1-0: Franklin Morales made quick work of Derek Jeter, but Nick Swisher? Not so much.
Swisher belted a high fastball from Morales in the bottom of the first and gave the Yankees an early 1-0 lead.
Morales responded quickly with a strikeout of second baseman Robinson Cano, sitting him down with a confused look on his face. Andruw Jones quickly went down on a groundout as well and the Sox may be in business.
Rain could be on the way, though, which wouldn't be a great sign for this one.
Mid 1st Inning, 0-0: First pitch may have gone off without a hitch, but the first raindrops of the night started to fall before Phil Hughes even retired the top of the Red Sox lineup — and they went down quick, too.
Hughes blew through the Sox lineup, needing just 13 pitches to get by Ellsbury, Crawford and Pedroia.
Franklin Morales better be on his game in this one, because it seems that Hughes has his best stuff flowing early.
6:51 p.m.: Will Middlebrooks may be out with a broken right wrist, but that won't keep the third baseman from getting in his reps out on the diamond.
On Friday, Middlebrooks was spotted taking part in fielding drills at Yankee Stadium, even with a cast on that broken wrist.
Middlebrooks will reportedly not need surgery for the injury, meaning that there is a small chance he will be healthy in time to return and play for the Sox this season.
Check it out in the photo below.
Photo via Twitter/@RedSox
6:04 p.m.: The Mark Prior experiment is over for the Red Sox.
After a four-plus month look at the hard-throwing right-hander, general manager Ben Cherington and the Sox officially released Prior on Friday.
The move was to make room for the recently acquired Pedro Beato on the 40-man roster.
Prior was an asset for the Pawtucket Red Sox out of the bullpen, and although his numbers — 1-0 record with 3.96 ERA — weren't stellar, the move was a low-risk, high-reward maneuver.
Check out the full details of Prior's release.
4:35 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury, who is battling a minor leg issue, is back in center field and hitting leadoff for the Sox in their series opener with the Yankees out in the Bronx.
The club would love for Ellsbury to get hot, especially in front of players like Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez, both of whom have been streaking of late.
Meanwhile, Derek Jeter gets the start at DH as Jayson Nix will take the field at shortstop for the pinstripes.
Here are the lineups.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Cody Ross, DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Mike Aviles, SS
Scott Podsednik, RF
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Franklin Morales, P
Derek Jeter, DH
Nick Swisher, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Andruw Jones, RF
Casey McGehee, 3B
Curtis Granderson, CF
Russell Martin, C
Jayson Nix, SS
Ichiro Suzuki, LF
Phil Hughes, P
8 a.m.: The Red Sox finally broke out of their zombie-like slump on Thursday night, taking a much-needed 6-3 win in Baltimore.
Now Boston moves along on its road trip, heading into New York for a three-game set with the rival Yankees. This could be a make or break series for the Red Sox, who are still clinging to the hopes of a playoff berth but with very little wiggle room to work with.
Carl Crawford, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Cody Ross paced the offense on Thursday with the Nos. 2-5 batters accounting for nine of Boston's 13 hits on the night. The offense will need similar production from its big bats this weekend in the Big Apple.
Franklin Morales will be the first to take the hill against a potent Yankees lineup that ranks second in MLB in runs scored — only three more than the Red Sox, though. Phil Hughes will be on the mound for the Yanks, looking to lock down his 12th win of the season.
Tune into NESN for the Red Sox pregame show starting at 6 p.m., and be sure to catch all the game action with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.
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