|Closing Time: Yankees clobber four homers off Franklin Morales, take Game 1 of doubleheader||07.07.12 at 3:45 pm ET|
The Yankees took the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader over the Red Sox, 6-1, thanks to a four-run first inning that they never looked back from.
Franklin Morales had his worst outing since he began starting games for the Red Sox this season, allowing six runs on six hits (four of which were home runs) and two walks while only striking out two in 3 1/3 innings pitched.
The biggest contributors to the Yankees’ early offensive outburst were Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones, who hit back-to-back home runs in the first. Swisher’s home run was a three-run shot, while Jones hit another home run three innings later.
On the offensive side for the Red Sox, they could not muster much against Freddy Garcia, who allowed only one run on six hits and two walks through 6 2/3 innings pitched. Mauro Gomez, who hit fifth in the Red Sox lineup, drove in the Red Sox only run of the game for his second RBI in as many games.
The Red Sox now find themselves back at .500 at 42-42.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
- Red Sox pitching failed to keep the Yankees off the board in the first inning again, when Morales gave up back-to-back home runs to Swisher and Jones in the first inning. The rally could have been avoided had Morales not hit Robinson Cano with two outs, allowing Swisher to come to the plate with runners on first and second.
Morales and Beckett have combined to allow nine runs so far in the first innings of the first two games this series. Sunday’s outing doubled Morales’ career home run total in first innings, as he had only allowed two home runs in 18 career first innings pitched.
Morales’ outing did not get any better after the first inning, as he allowed back-to-back home runs again in the third inning. Jones, who struck out in his only at-bat against Morales prior to Saturday, hit his second homer in as many at-bats before Jayson Nix pounded the ball over the Green Monster.
- Jones hurt the Red Sox again later in the game on a great fielding play in the bottom of the sixth. With David Ortiz on first base and nobody out, Adrian Gonzalez drove a ball to the opposite field that looked as if it would hit off the Green Monster. Jones had other ideas though, leaping against the wall and snagging the ball for a double-preventing catch.
Jones was not done with the play though, rifling the ball to the cutoff man, who relayed it to first before Ortiz could tag up. The double play prevented what could have been a key rally for the Red Sox, who were down by five runs at that point and looking for a way back into the game.
- The Red Sox could not get much going offensively against Garcia, who held Boston to one run through 6 2/3 innings. One of the biggest problems for Boston’s offense was scoring the baserunners they did get, as the team only scored one of the eight baserunners they totaled against Garcia.
The team hit into three double plays in the contest, one of which was a ground ball by Ryan Kalish while the other was the fly ball by Gonzalez.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
- While Morales had a sub-par outing pitching the ball early on, he was certainly on his game when it came to picking runners off. Morales walked two and allowed a base hit in the third inning, but kept the Yankees off the scoreboard during the frame due to his two successful pickoffs.
With runners on first and second, Morales caught Alex Rodriguez leading too far off the bag, slinging the ball over to first for a 1-3-6 pickoff play. Later in the inning with runners on first and third, the left-handed pitcher whipped the ball over to first again, catching Swisher off the bag and retiring the side.
Morales had only picked off six runners in 222.2 innings pitched before Saturday.
- Gonzalez hit a single in the fourth inning, extending his hitting streak to 17 games. The hitting streak ties a career high for Gonzalez, who had two 17-game hitting streaks with the Padres in 2006.
Gonzalez, whose hitting streak dates back to June 20, is batting .368 with a home run and 9 RBIs over that span. His batting average has raised from .257 to .281 as well.
- Justin Germano had a solid return to the majors, as he held the Yankees at bay in his first major league appearance since May 16, 2011. Germano entered his first game as a Red Sox in the top of the third and kept the Yankees off the scoreboard for the subsequent 5 2/3 innings. Germano only allowed five hits and two walks while striking out seven to finish the game after Morales was lifted.
While the Red Sox still lost the game, Germano’s key contribution to this game will have more of an effect in Game 2 of the doubleheader, as the right-handed pitcher saved the rest of the Red Sox bullpen from tiring themselves out before later.
- Ortiz reached base four times in the loss, three of which were on walks. Ortiz leads the Red Sox with 49 walks, which is almost double the next closest Red Sox player in that category (Dustin Pedroia, 26).
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