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Closing Time: Felix Doubront crushed early as Red Sox fall to Yankees

08.16.13 at 10:44 pm ET
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Stephen Drew made one of three Red Sox errors in his team's sloppy 7-3 loss to the Yankees. (AP)

Stephen Drew made one of three Red Sox errors in his team’s sloppy 7-3 loss to the Yankees. (AP)

Last time lefties Felix Doubront and Andy Pettitte matched up, Doubront was the better southpaw. He limited the Yankees to three hits and only one earned run through 6 1/3 innings and led the Red Sox to a 4-2 victory over their rivals.

It was a very different outcome when the two lefties met again Friday though, as Doubront was shelled through four innings and the Red Sox dropped the first of three weekend games against New York at Fenway Park, 10-3.

While Doubront was nowhere near as effective as he was against the Yankees, Pettitte had a much better outing than last time. Pettitte did not allow an earned run in the game while holding the Red Sox to six hits and one walk while striking out five through 6 2/3 innings.

The Red Sox have now lost three in a row for the first time since July 6-8, and are watching their lead over the AL East disappear rather quickly.

Here is a look at what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– It was anything but the norm for Doubront Friday night, who allowed seven runs (six earned) on eight hits and two walks in four innings. That earned-runs yield was at least twice the number Doubront had allowed in any of his previous 16 starts, as Friday’s outing ended a 16-game streak (the longest by any Sox left-hander since Babe Ruth likewise enjoyed a 16-game run of dominance in 1916) of allowing three or fewer runs per start.

Doubront had been particularly good against the Yankees in his career entering Friday night, as he was 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 10 games against New York. He allowed more than half as many runs in the game as he had allowed against the Yankees in his entire career.

– For the second game in a row, the Red Sox defense did not do much to help its pitcher get out of trouble. Stephen Drew, who is typically one of the best defensive shortstops in the league with his 3.1 UZR, made an error in the third inning and the runner scored on Alfonso Soriano’s three-run home run.

Rubby De La Rosa made an error later sixth inning — his first error since July 2011 — when he missed Mike Napoli on a throw to first base. It was the second consecutive game that a Red Sox pitcher committed an error while throwing to first base.

Even defensively reliable Dustin Pedroia, who had only made three errors on the season entering Friday night, fumbled a ground ball in the top of the eighth inning and allowed a runner on base.

Jacoby Ellsbury also had a chance to make a nice catch against the wall in center field in the fourth inning on Eduardo Nunez, but whiffed on his attempt to make a leaping catch, allowing Nunez to reach third. The play was not ruled an error, but Nunez later scored on a Robinson Cano single. It is the second time in the last three games that the Red Sox have made three errors.

Mike Carp appeared to be hit on the foot while pinch hitting for Will Middlebrooks in the bottom of the seventh with runners on first and second and two outs. However, umpire Bill Welke disagreed with Carp and brought him back to the batter’s box, where he struck out looking on a pitch that appeared to be outside. Carp was visibly upset with Welke after the strikeout and slammed his helmet before yelling in his face, which led to an ejection.

It was Carp’s second ejection in his career — both of which have come with the Red Sox this season.

– The Red Sox exhibited sloppy baserunning, with Jonny Gomes getting picked off by Pettitte, David Ortiz getting thrown out trying to stretch a single off the left field Wall into a double and Shane Victorino getting doubled off second after straying too far from the bag on David Ortiz‘s liner to Rodriguez in the eighth.

– Drake Britton did not have a very successful relief appearance in the ninth, allowing five hits and three runs through one inning. The poor performance bumped his previously 2.08 ERA up to 3.86 on the season. However, Britton struck out the side in the inning, fanning Cano, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

– Doubront got himself into a bit of a jam in the first inning with one run scored and runners on first and second and only one out, but got out of it quickly when he forced Alex Rodriguez to line out into a double play to end the inning. It was a nice result for the Red Sox defense, which pleased a crowd that was booing Rodriguez loudly during all five pitches during his at-bat.

– Jonny Gomes drove in the first Red Sox run of the game when he singled Dustin Pedroia home from second base in the fourth inning. It was the seventh hit in the last nine games for Gomes, who has eight RBIs in August. That total is already two more RBIs than he had throughout all of July.

Will Middlebrooks has now hit safely in all six games since his recall from Pawtucket. He went 1-for-2 before getting replaced by pinch-hitter Carp.

– In his first big league appearance since June, left-hander Franklin Morales looked strong, touching 94 mph with his fastball while throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings in which he allowed just one baserunner on a walk. Though he didn’t strike out anyone, Morales threw 13 of 22 pitches for strikes.

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