Full Count
A Furiously Updated Red Sox Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network

With Lugo Set to Return, Green’s Future Unclear

04.26.09 at 8:02 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Among the early-season storylines on the Red Sox, perhaps none has been more surprising than the emergence of Nick Green as an everyday shortstop. Through the early weeks of spring training, he was only playing second base, consistent with a career in which he’s been primarily and almost exclusively at that position. He wouldn’t have made the Opening Day roster but for the injury to Julio Lugo, and he was pressed into duty as a starting shortstop only because Jed Lowrie required wrist surgery.

But all of those scenarios occurred, and so Green will make his 12th straight start at short today, the most starts he’s ever made at the position in a major-league season. And his performance has been everything the Sox could have hoped and then some.

He enters today hitting .308 with a .386 OBP and .513 slugging mark. His defense has included some outstanding plays (mostly on flyballs behind the infield), albeit with a few errors sprinkled into the mix. He has been good enough that the Sox will have little reluctance to put him back at short in place of Lugo when he needs a rest, and going forward, Green will likely see time as a utility player who can back up at second, third and short.

For obvious reasons, Green would rather be a starter than a backup. But he’s been thrilled with the unexpected opportunity that he’s had, and will adapt to whatever role the Sox give him when Lugo is activated on Monday.

“It’€™s one of those things you always strive for. Ultimatley, you want to be in the big leagues and you want the opportunity to play everyday. I’€™ve been fortunate to have it for a couple weeks,” said Green. “I’€™ve been fortunate enough to be able to play everyday for a while. It’€™s always something you want to do, and I want to keep doing it. Ultimately, it’€™s out of my hands.

“We’€™re going to be getting Julio back,” Green added. “He can be a valuable part of the team. Anytime you can get him back, it’€™s helpful. I just do whatever they tell me to do.”

Green has felt no pressure to perform. The role has been a comfortable one for him thanks to both the clubhouse in which he is operating and the fact that his current job is something of an exercise in playing with house money.

“I’€™m not making 10 million bucks. I’€™m not hitting third in the lineup. I’€™m kind of in the background, is the way I look at it. I don’€™t feel like there’€™s any pressure on me,” said Green, before smirking, “If I were making 10 million bucks, I’€™d be pretty pumped up.”

(Green, for what it’s worth, is making $500,000 this year.)

The Sox will let Lugo’s health dictate how often he starts.

‘€œSome of it is going to depend on how he feels,’€ Sox manager Terry Francona said. ‘€œWe’€™re not just going to turn him loose and just because he’€™s on our roster and hurt him. We’€™ll use some common sense.’€

Lugo went 4-for-17 during his rehab assignment in Pawtucket, but all four of those hits came in 11 at-bats over the last two days.

Read More: Julio Lugo, nick green,

Francona said: Paps night off and Lugo ready

04.26.09 at 7:57 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Righthander Michael Bowden was called up by the Red Sox prior to their Sunday night series finale with the Yankees to provide bullpen depth.

Red Sox skipper Terry Francona said before the game that he will stay away from Jonathan Papelbon, Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen and that Takashi Saito would close for the Red Sox if the need arises.

To make room for Bowden, infield Gil Velazquez was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Francona said Bowden will likely head back to Pawtucket following the game to make room for infield Julio Lugo, who will be activated prior to Monday’s game in Cleveland.

‘€œHe seems to be moving and not favoring his leg or anything like that,” Francona said of Lugo’s strengthened right knee. “The more he plays, the better he’€™ll be. I’€™m sure there’€™s a little rust there.’€

As for how much he’ll be used right away, Francona said he will rely on how Lugo feels to make that determination.

‘€œSome of it is going to depend on how he feels,” Francona said. “We’€™re not just going to turn him loose and just because he’€™s on our roster and hurt him. We’€™ll use some common sense.’€

Read More: Julio Lugo, Michael Bowden, MLB, Red Sox

Red Sox vs. Yankees Matchups, 4/26

04.26.09 at 3:05 pm ET
By   |   Comments

The infield at Fenway Park should take some punishment tonight, as Red Sox sinkerballer Justin Masterson and cutter-concocting Yankees starter Andy Pettitte typically force opponents to pound the ball into the ground. Both ranked among American League leaders in groundball-to-flyball ratio last year.

YANKEES VS. JUSTIN MASTERSON

Justin Masterson (1-0, 3.18 ERA) has been little short of dazzling in his last two appearances, first a four-inning relief effort in Oakland, and then a 5.1 inning start against the Orioles. He has shown an ability to translate his bullpen arsenal – especially his mid-90s velocity – to his role as a starter, something he did not do as a member of the rotation last year.

“I feel more assured of myself and who I am, and I feel like I’m understanding my mechanics, like, what makes me good,” said Masterson. “I think I’m understanding that better. I’m not overthinking.”

Masterson pitched in five games against the Yankees last year. His introduction to the rivalry came when he pitched well but took a loss in a Yankees Stadium start. But unlike the rest of baseball, New York actually fared better against Masterson the reliever than they did against the pitcher as a starter. The Yankees scored runs off of Masterson (0-2 with a 0.82 ERA against the Yankees last year) in three of his four relief appearances against them, and the team hit well against the right-hander, getting 21 runners on base against him in just 9.1 innings.

As such, it does not come as a substantial surprise to see that a number of Yankees have enjoyed success against Masterson in their limited exposure to him – though no one in today’s lineup has a single extra-base hit against him:

Melky Cabrera (4 career plate appearances): 3-for-4 (all singles)
Robinson Cano (5): 2-for-4 with a walk
Brett Gardner (4): 0-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt
Derek Jeter (5): 2-for-5 (both singles)
Hideki Matsui (1): 0-for-1
Jose Molina (3): 0-for-2 with a walk
Nick Swisher (1): 1-for-1 (single)

RED SOX VS. ANDY PETTITTE

Andy Pettitte is a familiar site for the Red Sox. He has made 30 career starts against Boston, the second most among active starters (Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays is first with 34). In roughly a season’s worth of work against the Red Sox (30 starts, 190 innings), Pettitte owns a career 16-8 record and 3.74 ERA against the Sox. He is tied with Randy Johnson for the most wins among active pitchers at Boston’s expense.

Suffice it to say thata few members of the Sox have faced the left-hander once or twice. Despite Pettitte’s career success against the Sox, several members of the current Boston club have impressive numbers against him. An astouding EIGHT members of the Red Sox have a career average of .346 or higher against Pettitte; seven have an OPS in excess of .900:

Jeff Bailey (3 career plate appearances): .667 average / .667 OBP / .667 slugging / 1.334 OPS
Jason Bay (25): .455 / .520 / .682 / 1.202
J.D. Drew (27): .346 / .370 / .769 / 1.139
Jacoby Ellsbury (8): .500 / .500 / .625 / 1.125
Mike Lowell (24): .350 / .417 / .400 / .817
David Ortiz (49): .364 / .408 / .545 / .953
Dustin Pedroia (26): . 231 / .231 / .269 / .500
Jason Varitek (58): .340 / .414 / .520 / .934
Kevin Youkilis (27): .450 / .593 / .750 / 1.343

A beefy grinder

04.25.09 at 10:21 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Jason Bay called this one of the most remarkable games he’s ever played in. Jason Bay has seen nearly as many of these games as Jason Varitek.

To Varitek, this was just your run-of-the-mill 8 1/2 inning Red Sox-Yankee game that took 4 hours, 21 minutes to complete. A tidy 16-11 Red Sox win that 13 pitchers surrender 28 hits and 27 runs.

Varitek was the man who pumped new life into Fenway Park when he drilled his third career grand slam off A.J. Burnett in the fourth inning, turning a 6-1 game into a 6-5 contest. Saturday’s walk in Fenway Park turned into an epic nightmare for Burnett and seven Yankee relievers.

But first the Red Sox had to get to Burnett, who allowed just one hit over his first three scoreless innings. Meanwhile the Yankees built a 6-0 lead off Josh Beckett heading into the bottom of the fourth.

‘€œHe’€™s very tough when you give him a lead like that,” Jason Bay said. “Once again, it was kind of a thing where usually you just try to chip away, get one here, one there. Obviously your goal is to keep getting guys on base, that’€™s the only way you’€™re going to be able to score runs. You can’€™t get them all back at once. Then ‘€˜Tek has that huge hit and we’€™re right back in that game again.

‘€œIt was just one of the more unbelievable games I’€™ve been involved in as far as back and forth. It was a little bit of everything and the bullpen again held and we got some timely hits.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: MLB, Red Sox, slugfest, Yankees

Yankees Post-Game Reactions

04.25.09 at 10:18 pm ET
By   |   Comments

When the Yankees‘ clubhouse opened to reporters, A.J. Burnett was still dressed in uniform – hours after his removal from the game – and staring into his locker. He admitted that this defeat, in which he gave away a 6-0 lead after three and appeared to be cruising, would be tough to digest, acknowledging that he was in for a sleepless night.

The pitch that he lamented, over and over, was the first-pitch fastball to Jason Varitek with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fourth. Varitek jumped on the elevated pitch, and slammed it into the visitor’s bullpen in right field for a grand slam that reduced the Yankees’ 6-1 lead to a 6-5 affair, immediately putting the Sox back in the game.

“I’€™ve just got to be smarter than that. That situation, you groove the first pitch like that, I mean, come on. If I had it all over again, I probably wouldn’€™t have thrown a heater,” Burnett said. “I’€™ve got to be better than that. I’€™ve got to be smarter than that. That’€™s not me. We’€™ll find a way to put this one behind us and get to that next one.

“(It was) bad pitch selection, I think,” he added. “Bases loaded like that, you know he’€™s going to jump ship, and he did. That’€™s not thinking on my part. That’€™s unacceptable. The stuff I had out there today, and the offense we had today, the bullpen never should have been in that game. Bottom line.”

YANKEES MANAGER JOE GIRARDI

On Burnett: For three innings, it was really fun. A.J. was tremendous. He really was.

He was rolling. It was amazing’€¦He was so good the first three innings and he almost got out of that inning where he looked like he was only going to give up one. He left the ball in the middle to Varitek.

He just wasn’€™t able to get Varitek. He didn’€™t really go at them much different than the first three innings. He just made a mistake to Varitek.

On the sting of the loss: They’€™re no fun. They’€™re definitely no fun. But the one thing you can’€™t do is you can’€™t make too much of them. We’€™ve got a lot of baseball to play this year.

You can expect that he’€™s going to (hold a 6-0 lead) most of the time. You really can.

It just didn’€™t happen today for whatever reason. The fourth inning just got away from him a little bit. But A.J.’€™s been throwing the ball quit well. Today just wasn’€™t his day, for whatever reason.

I won’€™t talk to him today. I’€™ll talk to him tomorrow. You let the guys think about it.

That one pitch to Varitek in the fourth inning kind of changed the complexion of the game.

(Why intentionally walk Bay with a runner on third in the seventh in front of Mike Lowell?) Jonathan (Alabadejo) is a ground ball pitcher. We were trying to get a double play.

9th inning: Red Sox win

04.25.09 at 8:31 pm ET
By   |   Comments

And so, after all that, it is up to Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon to secure the final three outs of the game, with Derek Jeter (3-for-12 vs. Papelbon), Johnny Damon (0-for-9) and Mark Teixeira (0-for-3) due up.

There had been questions before today’s game about whether Sox manager Terry Francona considered using Jonathan Papelbon for multiple innings in Friday’s contest. Francona insisted that he had to allow the same regular-season rules that govern his use of Papelbon against the other 28 clubs must also rule when managing against the Yankees, and he’s been largely true to that form. Francona has asked Papelbon to record more than three outs on just three occasions (including one in which Papelbon ended up pitching just one inning after getting hammered in the eighth) in the 15 times that he’s summoned the right-hander against New York since the start of the 2007 season (when the Sox instituted rules to save Papelbon from overuse).

Compare that to the Yankees’ use of Mariano Rivera: Rivera has faced the Sox 16 times since the start of the 2007 season, and has been asked to record more than three outs on seven of those occasions. (Rivera once ended up pitching just one inning after blowing a lead in the eighth.)

Papelbon is no longer in a save situation. But, in a game that has been entirely chaotic, Francona can be forgiven for wanting to go with his best.

Papelbon struggled for much of Friday, and could have lost the game but for some excellent defense behind him. He was in the bullpen before today’s game (about a billion hours ago) working on his mechanics, presumably in hopes of reclaiming his command.

The results are not immediately apparent. Papelbon walked Jeter on eight pitches to start the inning. His fastball velocity has been solid (96-97 mph), and there’s been no solid contact, but Papelbon is also not getting swings and misses.

Damon flied to short, with Nick Green making a nice running grab. But Teixeira walked on eight pitches as well (the Yankee switch-hitter’s fifth walk of the day, tying a career high), and of the 20 pitches Papelbon had thrown to the first three batters of the inning, none resulted in a swing and a miss.

The drought finally ended against Nick Swisher, who fouled a couple of fastballs and then swung and missed at a splitter in the dirt for the second out.

From there, Papelbon looked impressive against Robinson Cano, getting a flyball to center to end the game. Still it took the Sox closer 30 pitches to make it through his scoreless inning.

The Red Sox win their ninth straight (and eighth straight at home), setting a team record for most consecutive wins in April. Amazingly, despite getting shut out for the first three innings, they end up putting up 16 runs.

8th inning: Ramirez escapes, Ellsbury runs, Lowell hits

04.25.09 at 7:42 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Hideki Okajima started the eighth and got Nick Swisher to jump on a first-pitch fastball, popping it up (clearly anxious after seeing a steady stream of breaking balls). That, however, was quickly followed by bad news for the Red Sox: Robinson Cano’s second home run of the day, marking the second baseman’s second multi-homer game of his career. It brought the Yankees within a run, 12-11. That would be all for Okajima, who went 2/3 innings with an intentional walk and the homer. 

Ramon Ramirez is on, marking just the second time this season he has appeared in back to back games. The other occasion came it the Red Sox’ first series of the season, against Tampa Bay. Last season Ramirez pitched back to back games 17 times, allowing eight runs in 13 2/3 innings. Ramirez walked the first batter he faced, Jorge Posada, which was just the second time he allowed a baserunner of the eight first batters he has faced this season.

The trouble continued for Ramirez, who allowed a double to Hideki Matsui to put runners on second and third with one out. The Sox reliever did then get Melky Cabrera to ground back to the mound, allowing for a run-down that ultimately led to the tag out of Posada for the second out. That left it up to Brett Gardner with two outs and two runners in scoring position. This season Gardner is 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position … make that 2 for 13.

Gardner grounds out to Pedroia to leave the Red Sox with the lead heading to the bottom of the frame.

Jacoby Ellsbury followed up reaching base on a catcher’s interference by stealing second even with a pitch-out, although it appeared on the replay as though Cano may have tagged Ellsbury on the foot before he reached the bag. It was the first time Ellsbury has attempted a steal on a 1-0 count this season, going five times on the first pitch.

The steal paid off, with Dustin Pedroia rifling his third hit of the game — a single up the middle — scoring Ellsbury despite a pretty good one-hop throw from centerfielder Brett Gardner. Pedroia has reached base all five times, walking twice. The second baseman walked twice in single games just three times all of last season.

And Mike Lowell hits another ‘Deep Drive’ to score two more runs. Lowell now has six RBI on the day, and 22 for the season. Carlos Pena and Albert Pujols came into the day leading the majors with 21 RBI apiece.

RED SOX 16, YANKEES 11

7th Inning: Pedroia’s folly, Lowell’s revenge

04.25.09 at 7:14 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Manny Delcarmen started the inning back on the mound for the Sox, but Hideki Okajima is warming behind him.

Hideki Matsui started the inning by lining a single to center, meaning that Delcarmen has given up more hits to lefties today (2) than he had all season to this point (1). Delcarmen erased Matsui by getting Angel Berroa to bounce into a fielder’s choice to third. With Berroa then on first, Delcarmen and Brett Gardner engaged in a ferocious confrontation. On Delcarmen’s eighth pitch, Berroa took off from first, and Gardner whacked a changeup through the vacated shortstop hole on a perfectly executed hit-and-run to put runners on the corners with one out.

That brought up Derek Jeter, with Delcarmen’s pitch count already at 32. But going to Okajima in such a situation did not seem to represent a promising option, given that the Jeter is 3-for-5 with a walk against the left-hander. So, the Sox stuck with a fatiguing Delcarmen, even as his pitch total soared towards a career high.

Delcarmen got ahead of Jeter, 0-2, but then threw three straight balls, with Gardner stealing second on the last of them. But with two runners in scoring position and one out, Delcarmen threw what the scoreboard described as a 99 mph fastball that still managed to have the movement of a two-seamer. Jeter swung over the top of it for a strikeout, and Delcarmen’s day was done after 38 pitches, the third most he’s ever thrown, and the most since 2006. (His career high is 43, thrown in 2005.)

The Sox summoned Hideki Okajima to face left-hander Johnny Damon, mindful of the left-hander’s success this year against southpaws (1-for-13, .077). While bringing in Okajima with runners on base seemed like folly for much of last year, he has stranded all three runners he’s inherited this year, entering today.

Okajima got ahead of Damon, and on a 1-2 count, elicited a grounder from Damon. But the ball went through Dustin Pedroia‘s legs for a two-run error, with Damon racing into second, the Yankees taking a 10-9 lead in the process. It was Pedroia’s first error of the 2009 season.

After intentionally walking Mark Teixeira, Okajima picked off Damon at second. But the Yankees had done their damage.

BOTTOM 7: YANKEES 10, RED SOX 9

Phil Coke gave way to Jonathan Albaladejo to start the seventh, a reminder of the very uncertain march the Yankees must make through the late innings with a lead. One can picture Frank Costanza yelling about a $200 million payroll and getting THIS as a bullpen.

Kevin Youkilis jumped on Albaladejo’s first offering, a 93 mph fastball, sending it down the left-field line for a double. J.D. Drew followed with a dribbler to first that advanced Youkilis to third with one out. The Yankees, clearly having learned their lesson, elected to intentionally walk Jason Bay to face Mike Lowell. Lowell foiled the strategy in dramatic fashion, delivering a deep drive down the left-field line that managed to stay just inside the foul pole in the left-field corner, crashing in the first row of the Monster Seats for a three-run homer. Clearly, Lowell took offense at the intentional walk to Bay.

The three-run homer chased Albaladejo from the game. Edwar Ramirez is now on, and the Sox lead, 12-10.

Ramirez retired Jason Varitek and Nick Green without incident, but the Sox have now plated a dozen runs in the last four innings. The Sox have now scored 72 runs in their last nine games, an average of eight per game.

RED SOX 12, YANKEES 10

6th inning: Ortiz returns lead to Sox

04.25.09 at 6:32 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Josh Beckett returned to the mound for the top of the sixth, improbably in line for a victory. Le monde, c’est n’est pas juste.

Only once in his career has Beckett won a game when allowing six or more earned runs, accomplishing the feat last May when he gave up 6 in seven innings against the Brewers.

Beckett busted a 95 mph heater up and in towards Derek Jeter. As mentioned yesterday, Jeter has been hit by a pitch eight times against the Red Sox since the start of the 2004 season, one of the highest totals for a Red Sox opponent. But there seemed nothing intentional in the gesture – Beckett surely wanted to avoid putting the leadoff runner on, but he did just that, issuing a free pass to Jeter.

Beckett continued to miss his spots against Johnny Damon, falling behind 3-1, throwing a called strike, seeing Damon foul off a couple pitches and then, finally, watching as Damon tagged his 116th and final pitch — a 94 mph fastball, the velocity down from earlier in the game — into the right-field stands for a two-run homer.

Did Terry Francona leave his starter in too long, particularly after a long bottom of the fifth? There will be some questions on that front after the game. For now, it will suffice to know that Beckett has been pulled after allowing eight runs, 10 hits and four walks while striking out three in five-plus innings. Beckett’s 116 pitches was his highest total since he logged 118 last May 30 against Baltimore.

Manny Delcarmen is in, perhaps a batter or two too late for the Sox. Clearly, Francona wanted Delcarmen (a right-hander who dominates lefties) to turn around the Yankees‘ switch-hitters, but he still would have been a good option against Damon.

That notion became more glaring when Delcarmen started by striking out Mark Teixeira on three pitches: good morning (85 mph changeup, called strike), good afternoon (77 mph curve, foul), good night (97 mph fastball).

Nick Swisher, also batting left-handed, then lined a 96 mph fastball down the left-field line for a double. It marked just the second hit that Delcarmen had allowed this year in 26 plate appearances against lefties.

With Swisher on second and one out, Delcarmen recovered, getting Robinson Cano to ground to third and then, after falling behind, 2-0, to Jorge Posada, blowing the Yankees catcher away, his last pitch a 96 mph fastball that Posada swung through. Perhaps it was the intervention of the baseball gods that denied Beckett a win on a day when he did not deserve one. Nor will former teammate A.J. Burnett take a ‘W’ on a day when he gave up eight runs: Jose Veras is on for the Yankees to start the sixth inning of a tie game.

BOTTOM 6: YANKEES 8, RED SOX 8

Veras is on for the Yankees, following Burnett’s sloppy line en route to a no-decision (5IP, 8H, 8ER, 3BB, 2Ks, 3HR, HBP). And this is where it gets interesting, and perhaps dicey, for New York.With Brian Bruney out, and Mariano Rivera perhaps a bit gassed after blowing a four-out save on Friday, New York may have to rely upon pitchers to shut down the Sox in their major-league debuts. Both Mark Melancon and David Robertson were called up today, and may see action in the next few innings.

Veras is making his first appearance since last Wednesday against the A’s, when he achieved career highs in innings (3.1) and strikeouts (4). But after striking out Jason Varitek (96 mph fastball) to start the inning, the right-hander ran afoul of trouble. He hit Nick Green with a pitch, and Jacoby Ellsbury followed by jumping on an 0-1 fastball (95) for a double off the Wall in left-center, with Green scooting to third.

It is Ellsbury’s first game of this year with multiple extra-base knocks, and the seventh of his career. (Last September, he had the lone three extra-base hit game of his career.)

Veras followed by walking Dustin Pedroia, forcing the Yankees to turn to left-hander Phil Coke to face David Ortiz with the bases loaded and one out. Ortiz has been poor against left-handers both this year (.222 average, .583 OPS) and last (.221, .741), making the strategy a relatively sound one. Coke – who entered today with a 5.14 ERA, a far cry from the 0.61 mark he forged in 12 appearances at the end of last year – worked the Sox slugger to a full count.

Ortiz launched the seventh offering to medium-range right for a sac fly, though when both Ellsbury and Pedroia tagged behind Green, right-fielder Nick Swisher threw to Derek Jeter (covering at second) to double up Pedroia and end the inning.

Still, the Sox take the lead on the Ortiz sacrifice fly.

RED SOX 9, YANKEES 8

5th inning: Bay State for Boston

04.25.09 at 5:55 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Josh Beckett returns to the mound, his team suddenly back in the game thanks to an incredibly unlikely source of offense: Jason Varitek came into today with a career .205 average, .250 OBP, .318 slugging mark and .568 OPS with the bases loaded. All of that will be forgotten for a day after he turned on a 96mph fastball and buried it in the visitor’s bullpen.

Beckett is back for his fifth and, almost certainly, final inning. Hunter Jones is no longer warming now that the Sox are back in the game. He has been replaced by Manny Delcarmen, who has thrown 7.1 scoreless innings this year.

But Delcarmen will not be necessary this inning. Beckett got Hideki Matsui (whose four-year, $52 million deal looks a lot worse for the Yankees than the one signed by Johnny Damon) grounded to second, and Angel Berroa followed with a line-out to first. When Brett Gardner lined out to center (on a ball nearly misjudged by Jacoby Ellsbury), Beckett had his first 1-2-3 inning, achieved with just 10 pitches. As such, there’s now a possibility that he will be back out for the start of the sixth against the top of the Yankees’ order (though it seems a safe bet that he will not face Robinson Cano again today).

BOTTOM 5: YANKEES 6, RED SOX 5

A.J. Burnett returns to the hill after getting stung for five runs in the fourth, but he may not be long for this game. He fell behind 2-1 to Jacoby Ellsbury, who blasted a 95 mph fastball into the visitor’s bullpen for a game-tying solo homer. It was Ellsbury’s first homer of the year. He is now hitting .361 (13-for-36) on the current homestand.

Dustin Pedroia then jumped on a first-pitch fastball, ripping the 95 mph offering into the left-field corner. Yankees’ left-fielder Johnny Damon did a good job of racing to the ball to hold Pedroia at first with a single.Burnett then lost the strike zone, falling behind 3-1 to David Ortiz who then scraped the left-field Wall with a double on a changeup. Once again, Ortiz uses the opposite field at Fenway to his advantage, the result being a runners on second and third situation with no outs for Kevin Youkilis.

Youkilis, a career .313 hitter with a .436 OBP and .968 OPS in his career with runners on second and third, took a fastball off the thigh to load the bases for J.D. Drew. Of course, that wasn’t a terrible outcome for the Yankees, since Drew has his worst career numbers in every offensive category (average – .216; OBP – .304; slugging – .432; OPS – .775) with the bases loaded. True to form, Drew hit a hard grounder straight to New York first baseman Mark Teixeira, who fired home to Jorge Posada, the catcher in turn relaying the ball back to Teixeira for a 3-2-3 double play.

But Jason Bay prevented the Sox from wasting the rally. One day after his game-tying homer off of Mariano Rivera in the ninth, Bay blasted a ball towards the same part of the ballpark. This time, it clanged high off the Wall for a two-run double to give the Sox an 8-6 lead.

Burnett, Jon Couture of the New Bedford Standard Times notes, has now given up eight earned runs today, the same number he allowed in his final four starts (spanning 27.2 innings) of 2008 against Boston.

RED SOX 8, YANKEES 6

Ace Ticket
Red Sox Headlines
Red Sox Minor League News
Red Sox Team Leaders
MLB Headlines
Tips & Feedback

Verify