Dustin Pedroia worked the count full against Rivera before earning a leadoff walk. Mike Napoli then got a solid piece of one to right field, but Ichiro hauled it in for the first out.
Jonny Gomes increased the ninth-inning threat by ripping a double down the left-field line. That put runners at second and third, which led to a run when Will Middlebrooks grounded out softly to first base for the second out.
Rivera put the nail in the coffin, though, by freezing Jackie Bradley Jr. with a cutter on the outside corner.
Andy Pettitte pitched eight solid frames before handing the ball over to Rivera. Pettitte has been playing the role of stopper for years, and he was certainly impressive in shutting down the Red Sox’ offense in this one. The Yankees benefited from three double plays, and Boston’s only run came on a two-out double from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the seventh inning.
New York’s offense was powered by home runs from Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli. Lyle Overbay kicked off the scoring with a two-run single in the second inning.
Ryan Dempster made his Red Sox debut on Thursday, and he pitched five innings before his pitch count got the best of him. Dempster threw 101 pitches (58 strikes). He allowed three earned runs on five hits and four walks while striking out eight.
The Red Sox now travel to Toronto to take on the new-look Blue Jays. Friday’s game will kick off at 7:05 p.m. ET. NESN’s pregame coverage will begin at 6 p.m. ET with Red Sox First Pitch.
Good night, everyone.
End 8th, Yankees 4-1: Clayton Mortensen came back out for the eighth inning, and he fared much better, retiring the Yankees in order.
Travis Hafner led off with a fly out to center. Vernon Wells then hit one on the screws, but it was right at Jose Iglesias for out No. 2. Ichiro grounded out to Mike Napoli at first base for the inning’s final out.
The Red Sox will need to stage a rally against the great Mariano Rivera in order to avoid their first loss of 2013. Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes are due up for Boston.
This is Rivera’s first outing since April 30 of last year.
Mid 8th, Yankees 4-1: The Red Sox grounded into their third double play of the game in the eighth, and they’ll now need some ninth-inning magic in order to keep this game going.
Jose Iglesias reached base once again, but Andy Pettitte benefited from a 1-6-1 double play off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury to get two quick outs.
Shane Victorino ended the inning with a ground out to Eduardo Nunez at short, and Pettitte has tossed eight fantastic frames.
Pettitte, who has thrown 93 pitches (63 strikes), has allowed one run on eight hits while striking out three and walking one. The Red Sox will likely get their first taste of Mariano Rivera this season in the ninth inning.
End 7th, Yankees 4-1: It didn’t take long for the Yankees to get that run back.
Francisco Cervelli welcomed Clayton Mortensen to the game by jacking a solo shot to left field. Cervelli got into a favorable, 3-1 count, and he launched a fastball from Mortensen well over the fence to extend the lead.
Brett Gardner then hit a hard ground ball down to first base. Mike Napoli ranged over and went into the dive, but the ball ricocheted off the first-base bag and into right field. At first, it looked like a sure double for the very speedy Gardner, but Shane Victorino made a perfect, one-hop throw to Jose Iglesias to cut him down at second.
Robinson Cano grounded into the shift for the second time in this game, and Kevin Youkilis struck out on a nice-looking changeup to end the inning.
Mid 7th, Yankees 3-1: Jackie Bradley Jr. put the Red Sox on the scoreboard in the seventh inning with his third RBI of the season.
Andy Pettitte got two quick outs to begin the inning. He got Mike Napoli to fly out, and he then struck out Jonny Gomes with a 1-2 changeup.
The Sox staged a little rally from there, though.
Will Middlebrooks went the other way for his second hit of the game, which brought up Jackie Bradley Jr., who had been 0-for-2. Pettitte tried to jam Bradley inside, but the rookie turned on the lefty’s offering and drove it into the right-center field gap. Middlebrooks scored all the way from first base.
David Ross — not exactly known for his power — threatened to tie the game by giving a slider a ride to left field. Brett Gardner was able to track it down on the warning track, though, and we head into the seventh-inning stretch with a 3-1 game.
Clayton Mortensen will begin the seventh inning for Boston.
End 6th, Yankees 3-0: Eduardo Nunez singled with one out, but David Ross nailed another would-be base stealer en route to a scoreless inning.
Ichiro Suzuki led off the inning by lifting a fly ball down the left-field line, and Jackie Bradley Jr. made a nice, rangy play over near the seats for the first out.
Nunez then singled, but his stolen-base attempt proved fruitless. Ross fired a strike down to second base, and Jose Iglesias made another impressive scoop on a short hop before tagging out the diving Nunez. (Ross also caught Brett Gardner trying to steal back in the first inning.)
Lyle Overbay ended the inning by grounding out to second base. He broke his bat on the harmless grounder.
Mid 6th, Yankees 3-0: Jose Iglesias is picking up infield hits at a ferocious pace.
Iglesias, whose three Opening Day hits were all of the infield variety, opted to bunt his way aboard in the sixth inning. He was the only baserunner the Red Sox would muster up in the inning against a very impressive Andy Pettitte.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino each flew out to center field after Iglesias’ bunt single, and Dustin Pedroia ended the inning by grounding into a 6-4 force out.
Pettitte is breezing through this game for the Yankees. The Red Sox, however, will turn to the bullpen. Junichi Tazawa is coming on to pitch for Boston after five laborious innings by Ryan Dempster.
End 5th, Yankees 3-0: Kevin Youkilis doubled, and Travis Hafner nearly wrapped one around the right-field pole, but Ryan Dempster got through the fifth inning with Boston’s deficit still at three runs.
Youkilis lined a one-out double down the left-field line after Robinson Cano grounded out to first.
Hafner then smoked Dempster’s 1-0 offering down the right-field line. It threatened to hook around the foul pole, but it sailed just to the right of it for a long strike. Dempster would once again use his splitter to strike out Hafner, and the right-hander now has eight K’s in total.
Vernon Wells ended the inning by bouncing a little dribbler in front of the plate. David Ross had some trouble with it, but it was because the ball hit Wells’ bat twice. That forced the umpire to call interference, thus ending the inning.
Mid 5th, Yankees 3-0: We’re halfway through this game, and Andy Pettitte looks to be getting stronger.
Unlike Dempster, Pettitte has been rather economical with his pitches, and his pitch count sits at 54 (36 strikes).
Pettitte got two quick, ground ball outs in the fifth inning. Both Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr. tested Kevin Youkilis down at third base, and the sure-handed infielder took care of business without a problem.
Pettitte struck out David Ross with a nasty slider to end the inning.
End 4th, Yankees 3-0: Ryan Dempster is really being forced to work.
The Yankees have consistently gotten deep into counts against Dempster, and it’s led to a very high pitch count through four.
Ichiro worked a seven-pitch walk to lead off the fourth.
Dempster nearly enjoyed a double play, as the right-hander got Eduardo Nunez to bounce down to third base. Will Middlebrooks put his throw in a perfect spot for Dustin Pedroia, who attempted to spin the twin killing, but Nunez was just too fast.
Dempster picked up his sixth strikeout of the night and the second out of the inning by fanning Lyle Overbay, who drove in two of New York’s runs back in the second inning. Dempster then went to the splitter to pick up the K.
Francisco Cervelli managed to work a seven-pitch walk with two outs, and Brett Gardner threatened to do the same. Dempster struck Gardner out on a 3-2 splitter down in the zone, though.
Dempster has already thrown 88 pitches in this one. He has seven strikeouts, but also four walks, and he’s gone to eight three-ball counts. That’s a recipe for a short night, folks.
Mid 4th, Yankees 3-0: Eduardo Nunez made a fine-looking grab to lead off the inning, and although the Red Sox put a runner on, Andy Pettitte is through four innings without surrendering a run.
Shane Victorino led off the inning by lining what looked to be a base hit, but Nunez timed his jump perfectly and made a very nice, leaping grab for the first out. If he was 5-foot-11, Nunez wouldn’t make that play. But at 6-feet, better luck next time, Shane.
Dustin Pedroia worked a one-out walk, but Pettitte bounced back to get Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes.
Napoli fanned on a high, 2-2 fastball for the second out. Gomes bounced to Robinson Cano, who was forced to range to his left. Gomes nearly beat out Cano’s throw, but it was in time to end the inning.
End 3rd, Yankees 3-0: Brett Gardner is known more for his speed than his bat, but he got a hold of one to lead off the third inning.
Gardner placed Ryan Dempster’s offering just over the right-field wall to extend New York’s lead to 3-0. Gardner wasn’t even sure it left the yard at first, but sure enough, it landed just over the glove of a leaping Shane Victorino.
Robinson Cano, who bounced into the shift in his first at-bat, followed up by working a walk. He wouldn’t advance beyond first base, though, as Dempster struck out both Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner swinging before getting Vernon Wells to fly out to right field.
Dempster is already up to 59 pitches through three innings. Andy Pettitte, meanwhile, has thrown just 27 for the Yankees.
Mid 3rd, Yankees 2-0: The Red Sox couldn’t bounce back in the third.
David Ross singled past a diving Eduardo Nunez to lead off the inning, but Andy Pettitte wiped him off the bases by starting a 1-6-3 double play with Jose Iglesias at the plate.
Jacoby Ellsbury then tested his luck by hitting one back to Pettitte, but the left-hander had no problem snagging that one as well.
End 2nd, Yankees 2-0: The Yankees have their first lead of the series.
Travis Hafner, who went deep on Wednesday night, blooped a single into center field to lead off the inning. Ryan Dempster initially did a nice job of bouncing back, striking out both Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki, but he ran into some major trouble from there.
Eduardo Nunez put a charge into one toward the right-center field gap. It dropped on the warning track and kicked up into the seats for a ground-rule double, which was a break for the Red Sox, since even the slow Hafner likely would have scored on the play.
It didn’t matter, though. Lyle Overbay made his former — albeit brief — team pay by dropping a two-run single into left-center field.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Will Middlebrooks finally picked up his first hit of the season, but it didn’t lead to anything.
Middlebrooks shot a one-out single into left-center field, but the inning ended when Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
I guess JBJ is human, after all.
End 1st, 0-0: David Ross showed in the first inning why he’s such a highly thought of backup catcher.
Brett Gardner walked to begin the inning, and the Yankees decided to put the speedy outfielder in motion. Ross gunned him down trying to steal, though, which is a continuation from spring training, when Boston catchers were nailing runners at a very impressive clip.
Jose Iglesias also deserves some credit on the caught stealing. He made a nice play on a short hop before slapping down the tag.
Robinson Cano then showed exactly why the Red Sox put on the major shift when he’s at the plate. With third baseman Will Middlebrooks pulled all the way over in shallow right field, Cano hit a chopper right at him. If the shift wasn’t on, it may have been a bit. But this time, it was an easy out.
Kevin Youkilis grounded out to short to end the inning.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Shane Victorino made a very aggressive attempt on the bases, but it cost the Red Sox.
Victorino lined a one-out base hit over the head of second baseman Robinson Cano and into right field. He would then move up to second base when Mike Napoli ripped a two-out single into left.
Then, with Jonny Gomes at the plate, Andy Pettitte’s pitch got away from catcher Francisco Cervelli. Rather than Victorino and Napoli each moving up one base, though, Victorino decided to push the envelope.
Pettitte didn’t cover the plate on the wild pitch, and Cervelli didn’t show too much hustle while retrieving the errant throw, so Victorino decided to try and score all the way from second. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Cervelli beat Victorino in the race to the plate. He dove and tagged Victorino up around the shoulder area, resulting in the inning’s final out.
The Red Sox could have had runners at second and third with two outs, but instead Pettitte got out of the inning unscathed.
7:08 p.m.: Andy Pettitte’s first pitch is a strike, and we’re under way in the Bronx …
7 p.m.: We’re just about ready for baseball.
6:25 p.m.: There’s a lot of action for Boston fans to keep an eye on Thursday. Not only are the Red Sox trying to complete a sweep of the Yankees, but the Bruins will continue their march toward the playoffs with a game against the Devils.
Thursday’s Bruins game isn’t an ordinary game, either. Jaromir Jagr will be making his Boston debut, and that has plenty of fans excited.
The Red Sox-Yankees clash will air on NESN, but if you’re looking to supplement your evening of baseball with some Bruins-Devils action, we have you covered in that department as well. The Bruins-Devils game can be found on NESNplus.
In order to see what channel NESNplus is for you, check out the listings at the link below.
If you’re tuning in to the Red Sox game on NESN, you can also follow Thursday’s Bruins-Devils game with NESN.com’s live blog. Our Bruins/NHL guy, Mike Cole, will be providing his usual, stellar commentary and analysis, so feel free to pop on over there from time to time. (If you promise not to leave me for too long.)
5:32 p.m.: Not only will Thursday’s series finale mark Ryan Dempster’s Red Sox debut, but his battery mate will also be playing his first regular season game in a Boston uniform.
David Ross will get the start behind the plate. He’ll bat eighth, with Jackie Bradley Jr. moving up to the seventh spot in the order.
Jonny Gomes will return to the lineup a day after Daniel Nava served as the designated hitter and batted second. Gomes will bat fifth on Thursday, while Shane Victorino will move back up to the two spot.
The complete lineups are below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, DH
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr., LF
David Ross, C
Jose Iglesias, SS
Ryan Dempster, P
Brett Gardner, CF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Travis Hafner, DH
Vernon Wells, LF
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Francisco Cervelli, C
Andy Pettitte, P
12:55 p.m. ET: The Red Sox got what they wanted out their top two starters, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, to begin the season. Now, it’s time to see if the new guy can keep the Sox rolling in the Bronx.
Ryan Dempster will make his Red Sox debut on Thursday as Boston tries to complete a sweep of the Yankees to begin the season. Dempster joked on Wednesday that he’s shooting for 30 wins this season, so the veteran righty might as well get cracking.
After taking down the Yankees on Wednesday, the Red Sox are now 2-0 to begin the season for the first time since 1999, when then-manager Jimy Williams guided the club to five straight victories to start the year. This year marks the first time the Red Sox have started their season off with two wins against the Yankees since 1973, and it’s the first time the Sox have started with two straight road wins against the Bronx Bombers since 1935.
All of those are undoubtedly good things if you’re a Red Sox fan, but why stop now? The Yankees look like they’re in shambles, and it would be nice for Boston to kick off its season with a three-game sweep before traveling to Toronto to take on the revamped Blue Jays.
The Yanks will send Andy Pettitte to the hill to try and stop the bleeding. At age 40 and entering his 18th season, Pettitte has been around the block, so he should be a worthy adversary.
Thursday’s action will kick off at 7:05 p.m. ET. Coverage of the game on NESN will start up at 6 p.m. ET.
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