Red Sox-Yankees Live: CC Sabathia Turns in Ace-Like Performance As Yankees Win Series Opener 4-1


Jon LesterFinal, Yankees 4-1: The Red Sox actually brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning. But Mariano Rivera eventually flexed his muscle and closed the door on a 4-1 Yankees win.

Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz both singled with one out to make a little noise. That noise was quickly silenced when Rivera struck out Mike Napoli and got Stephen Drew to ground out back to the mound.

The Yankees moved to within one game of the Red Sox with Friday’s victory, and CC Sabathia was a big reason why New York took the series opener. Sabathia outdueled Jon Lester in a battle of two premier lefties.

Sabathia allowed one run on six hits over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out 10, didn’t walk anyone, and he was in complete control throughout the outing.

Lester, meanwhile, struggled to find a rhythm. He gave up two runs in the second inning, which caused some frustration, and his command wasn’t nearly as good as it’s been at times this season.

The Red Sox and Yankees will do it again on Saturday. Felix Doubront will go up against Phil Hughes, and the action is scheduled to start up at 7:15 p.m.

Good night, everyone.

End 8th, Yankees 4-1: Clayton Mortensen retired the Yankees in order in the eighth inning, but the Red Sox’ offense has its work cut out for it.

Mariano Rivera will enter the game with a three-run cushion. Jonny Gomes, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are due up in the ninth inning for Boston.

Mid 8th, Yankees 4-1: The Yankees have the Red Sox right where they want them.

CC Sabathia put the finishing touches on a fantastic performance in the eighth inning. He got Jackie Bradley Jr. to roll a ground ball over to first base for the first out, and he then gave way to the Yankees’ bullpen.

Setup man David Robertson entered the game, and he took care of business. Jose Iglesias flied out and Daniel Nava struck out.

Nava thought he earned a two-out walk against Robertson, but he was rung up on a pitch down in the zone.

The Yankees are now three outs away from a victory with the best closer in the history of baseball waiting in the wings.

End 7th, Yankees 4-1: The Red Sox scored their first run in the seventh inning, but the Yankees got it right back.

Ichiro Suzuki blooped a single into right field with one out, and Chris Stewart followed up with a little roller down the third-base line that ended in an infield single.

That spelled the end of Jon Lester’s night.

The Red Sox turned to Andrew Miller, who came in and gave up an RBI single to Brett Gardner before striking out Kevin Youkilis and Robinson Cano to avoid any additional damage.

Lester exited after 116 pitches (67 strikes). The run in the seventh inning was charged to Lester, meaning he surrendered four runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked four. Overall, it was a rather mediocre effort, and he never really found much of a rhythm.

Mid 7th, Yankees 3-1: The Red Sox broke through for a run against CC Sabathia in the seventh inning.

Dustin Pedroia, who doubled to the opposite field in the first inning, went the other way again. He sent an 0-1 pitch toward the right-center field gap. Ichiro Suzuki tried to cut it off, but it rolled past him and to the wall for a leadoff double.

Pedroia advanced to third when David Ortiz bounced to first base for the inning’s first out. Pedroia scored when Mike Napoli doubled over Ichiro’s head in right.

Napoli struck out in his first two at-bats, so it’s encouraging to see him make adjustments and put good wood on the ball on a pitch on the outside corner.

Sabathia escaped any further damage by striking out Stephen Drew and retiring David Ross on a groundout to second base.

End 6th, Yankees 3-0: We got a good glimpse of Jackie Bradley Jr.’s range in the sixth inning.

Robinson Cano walked to lead off the inning, and Jon Lester bounced back to strike out Mark Teixeira. Lester went with a fastball low and away, and Teixeira didn’t get the bat off his shoulder. Big Tex also had some choice words for home plate umpire Lance Barksdale as he strolled back to the dugout.

Bradley’s range was on display when Vernon Wells sent the first pitch he saw toward the gap in right-center field. Off the bat, it looked like extra bases. But the rookie took an excellent first step, and he glided over to not only make the play, but also make it look easy.

Jayson Nix flied out to left field to end the inning.

Mid 6th, Yankees 3-0: Jose Iglesias keeps on hitting.

Iglesias singled into center field in the sixth inning, giving him two hits for the game. He now has seven multi-hit games this season, and that’s obviously in limited big league action. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Iglesias doesn’t want to go anywhere once Will Middlebrooks returns from the disabled list.

The Red Sox again couldn’t do anything with the baserunner, though. Daniel Nava waved at a curveball to give CC Sabathia his ninth strikeout of the game, and Jonny Gomes bounced into a tailor-made double play to end the inning.

End 5th, Yankees 3-0: Once Joe Girardi headed back down to the clubhouse after being ejected, Chris Stewart walked to put runners at first and second with one out.

Brett Gardner then struck out, but Kevin Youkilis singled into left field to give the Yankees their third run of the game.

Stewart — anticipating a throw to the plate — tried to go from first to third on Youkilis’ single. Daniel Nava’s throw went to third base, though, and Stewart was nailed to end the inning.

The final out was rather strange. It was a difficult play for Stewart to gauge, and shortstop Stephen Drew was the one who applied the tag — with third baseman Jose Iglesias serving as the cutoff man in that situation.

8:38 p.m., Yankees 2-0: Joe Girardi has been ejected.

The Yankees manager came out to argue a call at second base, and umpire Vic Carapazza eventually had enough.

The play in question was a forceout at second. Ichiro Suzuki grounded back to the mound after David Adams was hit by a pitch. Jon Lester made the play, but his throw to second forced Stephen Drew to stretch. Girardi thought Drew’s foot came off the bag, but the ump ruled that it did not.

Mid 5th, Yankees 2-0: CC Sabathia needed to play the role of stopper, and he has taken care of business through five innings of work.

Sabathia, who fanned Mike Napoli to end the fourth inning, struck out the side in the fifth. He now has eight strikeouts total.

Stephen Drew, David Ross and Jackie Bradley Jr. fell victim to Sabathia in the fifth inning. Drew and Ross both went down hacking at sliders, while Bradley looked at a sinker.

Sabathia actually fell behind Bradley 3-0 before battling back to strike out the rookie.

End 4th, Yankees 2-0: Jon Lester enjoyed his second straight effective inning in the fourth.

The left-hander looked doomed earlier in the game, as he struggled to locate his pitches, which inevitably caused some frustration to settle in. Lester escaped the second inning via an inning-ending double play, however, and the lefty has really settled down since.

Mark Teixeira and Vernon Wells both grounded out to Stephen Drew at short in the fourth inning. Jayson Nix, who connected on an RBI single earlier, then hit a hot shot to third base that Jose Iglesias picked on the back hand.

Mid 4th, Yankees 2-0: The Red Sox generated a baserunner in each of the first three innings. They did not do such in the fourth inning.

CC Sabathia, who tossed just eight pitches in the third inning, is doing a good job of pounding the strike zone. He retired the Red Sox in order in the fourth.

Sabathia needed to work a little bit at the beginning of the inning. Dustin Pedroia hit a roller in front of the mound that Sabathia scooped up and fired to first.

David Ortiz then bounced down to first base before Sabathia struck out Mike Napoli swinging to end the inning. Napoli has fanned twice in this game.

8:14 p.m., Yankees 2-0: Kate Upton is at the game. So there’s that.

End 3rd, Yankees 2-0: Jon Lester did an excellent job of bouncing back in the third inning.

Lester was already up to 47 pitches after a lengthy second inning in which he surrendered two runs. The lefty kept his emotions in check, though, and he retired the Yankees in order in the third on 13 pitches.

Brett Gardner flied out to center field and Kevin Youkilis grounded out to short. Lester then ended the inning by striking out Robinson Cano with a pitch on the outside corner.

Lester hasn’t gotten many calls early on, but the pitch to sit down Cano could have gone either way. It was located down and away from the All-Star second baseman.

Mid 3rd, Yankees 2-0: The Red Sox have had a baserunner in all three innings, but they have nothing to show for it.

Jose Iglesias led off the third inning with a line-drive single into center field. CC Sabathia flailed his glove in an attempt to knock it down, but he had no chance.

Iglesias took a hard turn around first base, and he appeared to grimace after throwing on the brakes. He stayed in the game and appears OK, but it’s at least worth monitoring as we move forward in this game.

Iglesias was quickly wiped off the basepaths when Daniel Nava grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. It took a very quick turn from Robinson Cano at second base to execute the twin killing.

Jonny Gomes, who struck out in his first at-bat, flied out to center field on the first pitch he saw to end the inning. Sabathia needed just eight pitches to retire the Red Sox in order.

End 2nd, Yankees 2-0: Jon Lester looked frustrated in the second inning. It’s somewhat understandable, too, as he didn’t get too many calls.

Lester wasn’t a big fan of home plate umpire Lance Barksdale’s strike zone. The left-hander worked extensively in an inning in which the Yankees struck for two runs on three hits and a walk.

Mark Teixeira, who is making his much-anticipated return, earned a free pass to lead off the inning. Lester got to two strikes on Teixeira, but he missed the outside corner with his 3-2 pitch.

Vernon Wells then jumped on a changeup from Lester, and he drove it over Jackie Bradley Jr.’s head in center field. Wells cruised into second with a double, setting up runners at second and third for Jayson Nix.

Nix opened up the scoring with a single into left field. Lester got ahead with a nice cutter, but his 0-1 curveball hung right over the insid corner, and Nix yanked it through the 5-6 hole.

Ichiro Suzuki added to the lead with a single of his own, and at that point, the Yankees looked poised to add more. Fortunately for Lester, he minimized the damage by inducing an inning-ending double play.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: David Ross is off to a nice start.

Ross entered the game 0-for-7 with seven strikeouts since returning from the seven-day concussion disabled list. He threw out Brett Gardner in the first inning, and he doubled down the line with two outs in the second inning.

But that was the only offense the Sox generated against CC Sabathia, who now has four strikeouts through two frames.

Sabathia struck out Mike Napoli and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the second inning. Napoli fanned on a fastball after getting ahead in the count 3-0, and Bradley whiffed on a slider in the dirt.

End 1st, 0-0: Jon Lester’s command wasn’t all that great in the first inning, but he worked around a leadoff walk to toss a scoreless frame.

Brett Gardner walked on five pitches, and Kevin Youkilis worked the count full. Joe Girardi then put Gardner in motion, which proved to be disastrous for the Yankees.

Lester struck out Youkilis swinging on a fastball, and David Ross delivered a perfect throw to second base to gun down Gardner. Lester’s 3-2 pitch was certainly a big one, as walking Youkilis in that situation would have really put the wheels in motion on the Yankees’ offense.

You can’t fault Girardi for sending Gardner in that situation, either. Gardner has great speed and Youkilis is a guy who handles the bat well.

Robinson Cano bounced out to third base to end the inning.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Daniel Nava doesn’t seem like a prototypical leadoff hitter on the surface. But he’s a very patient hitter, and that made him a logical choice to place atop the order in Jacoby Ellsbury’s absence.

Nava struck out in the first inning, but he saw eight pitches — fouling off three of them — before CC Sabathia sat him down. Obviously, the end result wasn’t what Nava and the Red Sox were hoping for, but making a pitcher work is an important aspect of batting leadoff.

Sabathia also struck out Jonny Gomes. Sabathia fell behind Gomes, but the slugger missed with a big cut in a 2-0 count. The Yankees ace finished off Gomes with a fastball up in the zone. Gomes thought the pitch was a bit high, but home plate umpire Lance Barksdale felt differently, and he rung him up.

Dustin Pedroia tried to get something going with two outs. He lined a pitch on the outside corner down the right-field line for a double. Sabathia escaped the inning unscathed by getting David Ortiz to fly out to left.

7:08 p.m.: The first pitch to Daniel Nava is a strike, and we’re underway.

6:46 p.m.: Jon Lester will be looking to build on the success he has had at the new Yankee Stadium, which opened up in 2009.

Lester is 7-2 with a 4.14 ERA in 12 career starts at the new Yankee Stadium. The seven wins are the most by a visitor at the ballpark and three more than the next-highest total.

Lester enters Friday’s start on the heels of a subpar performance in his last outing. The lefty gave up four runs on 10 hits over seven innings against the Indians on Saturday. He received a no-decision, although the Red Sox ended up winning that game.

Sabathia, who was the American League Cy Young in 2007 and who has been an absolute workhorse for the Yankees since singing with the club before the ’09 season, has been up and down a bit this year. He was touched up for seven runs on eight hits in seven innings against the Rays in his last start on Sunday.

6:14 p.m.: YES Network’s Chris Shearn was kind enough to have me on his Off the Wall podcast on Thursday. We talked about the season that both the Red Sox and Yankees are having thus far, and we took a look at the weekend series. If you’re looking for something to do before game time, have a listen at the link below.

Click here for a Red Sox-Yankees podcast >>

5:55 p.m.: How about a quick happy birthday to Andrew Bailey? The Red Sox closer turned 29 on Friday.

5:17 p.m.: It’s worth noting that Daniel Nava will play left field while Jonny Gomes will play right field.

Typically, when both guys have been in the lineup, it’s been the other way around. Since Yankee Stadium has a spacious left field and a short porch in right field, however, John Farrell opted to flip-flop the two outfielders.

5:11 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury, who reached base five times and set a Red Sox single-game record with five stolen bases against the Phillies on Thursday, was originally penciled into John Farrell’s lineup card on Friday. Ellsbury apparently felt tightness in his groin area after his fifth stolen base, though, and he is a late scratch.

In Ellsbury’s absence, Daniel Nava will assume the Red Sox’ leadoff duties. The decision to bat Nava leadoff makes sense, especially with Shane Victorino still on the disabled list, as he enters the game with a .398 on-base percentage.

Ellsbury’s absence also means that rookie Jackie Bradley Jr., who was recalled on Wednesday, will be thrust into Boston’s lineup. He’ll play center field and bat eighth.

It’s interesting that both Bradley and Jose Iglesias will be in the lineup against the Yankees on Friday. Both played well during the teams’ first series of the year, and now they’re both back to face the Bronx Bombers after a brief stint down in Pawtucket.

The Yankees’ lineup card also comes with some news. Both Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis will return on Friday.

The rest of Friday’s lineups are below.

Red Sox (33-22)
Daniel Nava, LF
Jonny Gomes, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Stephen Drew, SS
David Ross, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Jose Iglesias, 3B

Jon Lester, LHP (6-1, 3.34 ERA)

Yankees (30-23)
Brett Gardner, CF
Kevin Youkilis, DH
Robinson Cano, 2B
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Vernon Wells, LF
Jayson Nix, SS
David Adams, 3B
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Chris Stewart, C

CC Sabathia, LHP (4-4, 3.96 ERA)

8 a.m. ET: They meet again.

Roughly two months after kicking off the season with a showdown in the Bronx, Jon Lester and CC Sabathia will go toe-to-toe as the Red Sox and Yankees open up a three-game set at Yankee Stadium.

The Sox enter the series with a two-game lead in the American League East, and a good showing this weekend would not only allow them to increase their edge, but it would also go a long way toward proving that they’re for real this season. The Yankees, on the other hand, are looking to bounce back after dropping five straight games.

It’s always interesting when these two teams play each other, but it’s even more exciting when two aces square off. Lester enters the game with a 6-1 record and 3.34 ERA, while Sabathia enters with a 4-4 record and 3.96 ERA.

The Red Sox took two out of three when these two clubs played in April. Doing so this time around would be big, especially with the Rangers, Angels, Rays, Orioles, Tigers and Rockies on the Red Sox’ schedule for June.

Friday’s action is scheduled to kick off at 7:05 p.m. ET. Be sure to tune in on NESN, and keep it right here with throughout the day.

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