Series up for grabs as Yanks, Red Sox play rubber match
(Sports Network) - In the midst of a nine-game homestand, the New York Yankees try to shake off a disappointing outcome from Saturday when they close out a three-game set against the Boston Red Sox in the Bronx.
Following a rain delay of more than two hours the Yankees, still the leaders in the American League East by 8 1/2 games over both Tampa Bay and Baltimore, allowed Boston to move out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on Saturday and were never able to fully recover in what turned into an 8-6 win for the visitors.
CC Sabathia was rocked for six runs on eight hits and a pair of walks while striking out six over six innings of work. Thanks to a two-run home run from Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the eighth inning Sabathia was off the hook as far as being charged with the loss was concerned. Instead, it was Rafael Soriano who was saddled with the defeat as he gave up two runs in the top of the ninth.
"It's tough, not being able to go out and pitch the way you want, especially against a team in your division," Sabathia said. "We won the first game last night and I wanted to come out and have a good performance, but it didn't happen tonight."
In addition to Teixeira, Jayson Nix and Chris Stewart also went deep for the hosts. Unfortunately, not only did Curtis Granderson come up empty in four at- bats and strike out three times, he also misplayed a ball in the ninth that became the turning point for the game.
Boston's Jon Lester was bounced around a bit as he gave up four runs on four hits and a pair of walks. Lester made it through six innings, striking out six, but like Sabathia he didn't factor into the decision. Instead, that was left for Andrew Miller who retired just a single batter in the eighth inning, while Alfredo Aceves stepped in for his 22nd save of 2012.
All eight runs by the Sox were scored by the first four batters in the lineup, with Pedro Ciriaco crossing the plate three times and both Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez scoring twice. Gonzalez, who had gone four games without an RBI, knocked in four for the visitors, thanks in part to his 10th home run of the season in the fifth inning. Will Middlebrooks added two hits and a couple of RBI as well.
"Gonzo was really ready to play today," said Boston manager Bobby Valentine. "He was determined, as was Pedey, as was this whole team. He swung the bat great tonight."
With claims of victory in seven of his last eight decisions, right-hander Hiroki Kuroda has to be considered one of the hottest hurlers in the AL at the moment.
Kuroda, who has lost only once since May 22, is riding a four-game win streak after having one of his finest performances of the season on Monday. Against Seattle on the road, the Japanese native gave up just one run on three hits and a walk, while striking out nine over seven innings in a 4-1 triumph.
Even though he was shelled by the Red Sox in his first meeting of the season back on July 6, giving up six earned runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings, Kuroda was not tagged with a loss because the Yankees actually delivered a 10-9 win at Fenway Park. For his career Kuroda is 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in two appearances versus Boston.
Speaking of the Sox, they have penciled in Felix Doubront as their starter tonight. Doubront, a left-hander from Venezuela, has yet to drop back-to-back decisions this season which is a good sign considering he bowed to Texas on the road on Monday.
Against the Rangers, Doubront was lit up for six runs on eight hits and three walks, striking out five over 5.0 innings of action as he suffered his fifth setback of the campaign.
Now in just his third year in the majors, Doubront won his previous appearance against the Yankees this season when he limited the team to three earned runs on four hits and a walk, fanning six through 6 1/3 innings. Doubront has faced off against New York a total of six times in his career, but has just the one victory and a save to show for his efforts.
Boston, which won the season series in 2011 against the Yankees rather comfortably (12-6), picked up just its second victory in eight tries versus the Bronx Bombers this season on Saturday. Unfortunately, even with the triumph the Sox find themselves all alone in last place in the AL East, 10 1/2 games off the pace.
Aside from his effort in the field late last night, Granderson is still a major key to success for the Yankees. Both hot and cold over the last seven days, Granderson has three home runs and 18 total bases during the stretch, but he has also fanned 10 times in 26 at-bats so it is often all-or-nothing when he steps to the plate.