Yanks-Bosox weekend off to wild start
The Yankees-Red Sox weekend at Fenway Park got off to a wild and woolly start Friday night as both clubs batted around in the first inning and put up five spots. If that set a tone for the series, it could be a very long weekend.
The Yanks struck against Josh Beckett, who has had his way with the Yankees over the years (14-7 record) despite an unsightly ERA (5.36). Beckett has had problems with his thumb this year and by the time he got his first out of the game the Yankees had scored four runs.
Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson started the rally with singles before Beckett got unglued and hit Alex Rodriguez with a pitch and walked Robinson Cano to force in a run. That made it nine straight games with at least one RBI for Cano, the most since Jeter had a nine-game streak May 23 to June 2, 2004.
Mark Teixeira smoked a single to center field for two runs. A fly ball to right by Nick Swisher was the first out Beckett got, but it was a sacrifice fly that made the score 4-0. After Raul Ibanez singled Teixeira to third, the Yankees got another sac fly, from Eric Chavez.
Hiroki Kuroda could not have asked for a better way to start a game at Fenway, but he let the Red Sox come all the way back and tie the score. A throwing error by Chavez at third base prolonged the inning, but the big blow was a three-run home run by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The five runs Kuroda allowed in that one inning matched the total he yielded in his three previous starts combined over 21 innings.
It marked the first time in the history of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry that both teams scored at least five runs in the first inning of a game.
The teams duplicated themselves again with one-run second innings. Granderson tripled and scored on an infield out by Rodriguez. Cano doubled but was stranded at second as Beckett caught Teixeira staring at a called third strike. Again, Kuroda failed to come up with a shutdown inning. He hit Daniel Nava to start the inning and gave up singles to Ryan Kalish and David Ortiz, the latter driving in the tying run.
As some of the names suggest, this was not your typical Boston lineup. Ortiz, Saltalamacchia and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez were surrounded by back-ups as Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford and Ryan Sweeney are all on the disabled list and Kevin Youkilis was traded to the White Sox.
Another of those subs, third baseman Mauro Gomez, drove in a run in the fifth as the Red Sox got the lead for the first time in the game. A wild pitch by Kuroda put Gonzalez, who led off the inning with a single, in scoring position. One out later, Gomez singled him home.
Kuroda failed to pitch through the sixth inning for the first time in eight starts. He departed with two outs in the sixth after giving up seven runs (six earned) and 10 hits with a walk, a hit batter, two wild pitches and three strikeouts and having blown two leads.