NEW YORK -- Déjà vu all over again (almost): Jonathan Papelbon's first appearance of 2011 in Yankee Stadium began like his first visit to the Bronx in 2010. He entered the game, the crowd booing loudly as he jogged in from the left-field bullpen to protect a two-run lead.
Friday night, Papelbon entered with a two-run lead and the first two Yankees went down quietly -- Russell Martin whiffed and Brett Gardner rolled out. But Derek Jeter singled, took second on defensive indifference and scored on Curtis Granderson’s base hit.
Up came Teixeira, who popped out to end a miserable night for the Yankee slugger -- an 0-for-5 showing in which he popped out three times, struck out and grounded out.
The Buck starts here: Actually, it probably started last weekend, when Clay Buchholz was just as dominating against the Minnesota Twins, but a two-hour-plus rain delay limited him to just five innings. No such obstructions for Buchholz to overcome Friday night, as he continued to display the form that made him one of the American League’s best pitchers in 2010 -- a devastating changeup and cutter, and a fastball that touched 95 mph -- to shut down the Yankees, sending them to their third straight loss at home.
Buchholz held the Yankees without a hit until Alex Rodriguez grounded a single through the left side with one out in the fourth. His one hiccup came in the fifth, when Jorge Posada singled and Russell Martin hit the next pitch over the center-field fence, tying the score at 2. When Brett Gardner followed with a line single, it appeared the Yankees might be getting to Buchholz, but he set down the next three Yankees in order and allowed only Nick Swisher’s two-out double in the sixth before yielding to Daniel Bard to start the eighth.
Buchholz struck out seven and walked just one as he registered 16 swings and misses by the Yankees. The first three batters in the Yankees' order -- Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira -- combined to go 0-for-10 against him with 4 whiffs and hit just one fair ball out of the infield, Granderson's liner to center.
"An A-Bomb for A-Gone" -- Well, we imagine that’s not the way Yankees broadcaster John Sterling called it when Adrian Gonzalez homered off Bartolo Colon to open the fourth. Gonzalez had never played in the new Yankee Stadium, though he’d homered in the old one in 2008, during interleague play. That’s six home runs in the past seven games for Gonzalez, who has eight overall and yanked this one into the second deck in right field. He also broke a 2-all tie with his seventh-inning sacrifice fly off Joba Chamberlain after Dustin Pedroia (12-for-20, .600 vs. Joba) executed a perfect hit-and-run with Jacoby Ellsbury, singling through the hole vacated by second baseman Robinson Cano when Ellsbury took off.
Joba’s turn to duck -- There is no love lost between Kevin Youkilis and Joba Chamberlain, who in 2007 was ejected and later suspended two games for throwing two 98 mph fastballs over Youkilis' head. Friday night, Youkilis delivered a blow that actually hurt -- a two-run, opposite-field home run that gave the Sox a 5-2 lead. It was the sixth home run of the season for Youkilis, first in 12 games (46 at-bats) dating to April 27 in Baltimore.
Bard on the high wire -- Daniel Bard gave up a leadoff triple in the eighth to Curtis Granderson, who scored two batters later when Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn’t keep Bard’s pitch in the dirt in front of him, the pitcher charged with a wild pitch. A walk, hit batsman and double steal increased the peril, but Bard struck out Nick Swisher with a shoulder-high 99 mph fastball, then retired Jorge Posada on a ground ball on a pitch that the TV radar guns -- both on YES and NESN --flashed at 101.
Day the music died -- The Yankee PA system failed during the game: No announcements of batters or pitching changes, no annoying ads, no ear-splitting music. It was rather pleasant to be honest, but kept the sellout Yankee crowd quieter than usual.
It’s a miracle -- Sorry, but watching Bartolo Colon throwing 96 mph fastballs 11 days before his 38th birthday reminded me of Miracle Max in "The Princess Bride." The New York Times reported that Colon underwent a procedure in the Dominican Republic overseen by a doctor who acknowledged giving HGH to other patients as part of the procedure but not to Colon. Like the hero in the Princess Bride before he was resuscitated by Miracle Max (played by Yankees fan Billy Crystal) with a fireplace bellows.