Fenway friendly to Swisher
So maybe a little dose of Fenway Park was all Nick Swisher needed to get his bat going again. Buried in slumps covering 28 at-bats (no hits) and 43 at-bats (two hits), Swish came to Boston where he had hit .429 with three doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI in 21 at-bats this year. On top of that, he was the Yankees’ leading hitter against the Red Sox overall this season with a .444 average, three doubles, five home runs and 14 RBI in 36 at-bats.
Following a leadoff walk to Derek Jeter, Swisher lined a first-pitch fastball from Jon Lester off the Green Monster for a double. It was Swisher’s first hit since Sept. 2. He had been hitless for the road trip before that at-bat.
It appeared at that point that the Yankees would be off and running against a downtrodden Red Sox team that is playing out the string of a disappointing season. But the Yankees got only one run out of the situation on an infield out by Robinson Cano. Lester loaded the bases with a pair of walks after two were out but got Curtis Granderson on a foul pop to first base.
The Yankees continued their pattern of scant run support for Hiroki Kuroda in the early going. They wasted a one-out double by Jayson Nix in the second inning. Lester walked the first two batters in the third, then after a visit and tongue lashing from manager Bobby Valentine came back to get two strikeouts and an infield out.
Swisher’s bid for a second double, in the fourth, was snuffed out by third baseman Pedro Ciriaco, who has tormented the Yankees all season, mostly with his bat. The rookie made a diving, back-handed grab of Swisher’s hard grounder down the line, and first baseman James Loney made a nice scoop to complete a beauty of a play that Nick could have done without. The Yankees were hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position and left seven on base over the first four innings.
Ciriaco’s 16th hit in 33 at-bats (.485) against the Yankees was a leadoff double in the third inning to start a two-run rally that thrust the Red Sox into the lead. He crossed to third on an infield out to the right side and scored on a single against a drawn-in infield by Jacoby Ellsbury. A steal of second base by Ellsbury with two out put him in position to score on a single to right by Dustin Pedroia.