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Closing Time: Yankees ‘pen the difference

04.06.10 at 11:20 pm ET
By
The Yankees evened the season-opening series with the Red Sox on Tuesday night, getting a huge bounce-back effort from the bullpen in a 6-4 victory.

Here are some of the particulars:


Biggest Play Of The Game:

– Easy call here. Despite giving up a pair of hits in the eighth inning it looked as if Hideki Okajima was going to escape without allowing a run as Derek Jeter hit a routine grounder to Marco Scutaro with two outs. But Scutaro committed his first error as a member of the Sox, uncorking a low and wide throw to first that Kevin Youkilis was unable to handle. With the bases now loaded, Okajima then walked Nick Johnson to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. A Robinson Cano solo homer in the ninth accounted for the game’s final run.


What Went Wrong For The Red Sox

– Jon Lester struggles:
On Sunday night Josh Beckett threw 94 pitches before leaving with two outs in the fifth inning, having allowed five runs on eight hits and three walks. Lester was better than his teammate on Tuesday, but not by much, as he gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in five innings of work. Lester also threw 94 pitches. Terry Francona mentioned before the game that he hoped in 2010 Lester would avoid what is becoming an annual slow start. One start against what might be the toughest lineup in baseball isn’t enough to make a call, of course, but this wasn’t the opening start Lester envisioned in what many feel could be a Cy Young kind of season.

– David Ortiz is 0-for-2010:
And he’s not exactly making loud outs, either. Will Francona give Mike Lowell his first start of the year on Wednesday against Andy Pettitte? Makes sense, given Lowell is a career .345 hitter against Pettitte and Ortiz has looked dismal against left-handed pitching (raise your hand if you thought Lowell was going to pinch-hit for Ortiz in the eighth inning against Marte.) But there is this: Ortiz has owned Pettitte in his career, hitting .367 with an OBP of .431 in 58 plate appearances. Will that be enough to keep him in the lineup?

– Failure to produce against the Yankees bullpen:
After A.J. Burnett labored for five innings (seven hits, three runs) the bullpen took over and dominated the Sox lineup. In four innings the New York ‘pen allowed no runs on just three hits, zero walks while striking out three. Joba Chamberlain was a standout, striking out both batters he faced in the eighth inning.

What Went Right For The Red Sox

– Daniel Bard:
Francona brought Bard into the game in the seventh inning to face the heart of the Yankees order. After walking Nick Johnson, Bard got Mark Teixeira (off to a brutal start) to fly out to left, struck out Alex Rodriguez and retired Robinson Cano on a weak grounder to second. Bard hit 98 MPH and also showed off a nasty changeup in the Cano at-bat.

– Victor Martinez:
The catcher accounted for three of the four Sox RBI with a two-run HR in the third inning off of Burnett and an RBI double in the fifth.

– Terry Francona:
Got big laughs in the pre-game press conference when he admitted that he thought it was Dick Vitale — and not Neil Diamond — singing “Sweet Caroline” on Sunday night.
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