Rapid Reaction: Yankees 7, Red Sox 4
April, 12, 2014
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
NEW YORK -- Takeaways from the Bronx, where John Lackey turned Yankees Anonymous into a 21st century Murderers' Row, the Red Sox ran themselves out of a possible big inning and Yankees manager Joe Girardi uttered the immortal words, "I'm not managing a farewell tour," when pressed to explain why Derek Jeter should be given a day off.
The result: The Yankees, with only two players in the starting lineup who were on the team a year ago at this time, hit five home runs and beat Lackey and the Red Sox 7-4 before a sellout crowd of 48,572 in Yankee Stadium. Lackey gave up four home runs for the first time in his career and lost for the first time in three decisions this year. Kelly Johnson hit a fifth Yankee homer off reliever Burke Badenhop in the eighth, Johnson's third of the season.
The day (round) trippers: New Yankees catcher Brian McCann, who came into the game without an extra-base hit in his first 37 plate appearances in pinstripes, hit a first-pitch fastball from Lackey into the right-field seats leading off the fourth, then hit a hanging slider for a two-run homer in the sixth. Carlos Beltran hit an 0-and-2 fastball for a two-run homer to right in the first, his second home run of the season, and Alfonso Soriano went back-to-back with McCann in the fourth with his third of the season.
The head-scratcher: The Sox, held in check through the first six innings by Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, who gave up a two-run home run to A.J. Pierzynski in the second and little else, made a game of it in the seventh, when he walked Jackie Bradley Jr. and Daniel Nava. Former Sox reliever Matt Thornton struck out David Ortiz on a 96 mph fastball that Ortiz thought was high, then grazed the jersey of Mike Napoli with a pitch, loading the bases. Mike Carp, playing left field in place of the resting Grady Sizemore, grounded a single through the shortstop hole left vacated by the shift for two runs, making it 6-4.
But with rookie Xander Bogaerts at the plate, Carp inexplicably attempted to steal (missed sign?) and was thrown out easily by McCann, ending the inning.
A new leading man: Dustin Pedroia, who came into the game hitless in his previous 10 at-bats and had not drawn a walk in 50 plate appearances this season, became the fourth leadoff hitter to be used by manager John Farrell.
"More about the overall performance in the leadoff," said Farrell, who got a home run and single from Jonny Gomes on Friday night but otherwise has gotten little production from the 1-hole in the order, with Sox leadoff men batting a combined .186/.314/.279/.593.
"It's also a chance for Dustin to get on base," Farrell said. "I think there have been times he has expanded the strike zone a little bit and forced the issue some. This is another opportunity for him to get to see some pitches. This is now our fourth different guy in the leadoff spot. We're looking for a combination, a little spark at the top."
Pedroia, who doubled in the fifth, had sent up a red flag the night before when he grounded out on the first pitch with a runner on third base to end the third.
"That's the root of it," Farrrell said of his desire to jump-start Pedroia. "It was evident last night, a man in scoring position, there was an aggressiveness there that maybe we don't typically see from him. So again, the focus is just, don't worry about driving the baseball, just take your normal at-bat."
Pedroia's double was his only hit in five trips.
Untimely hitting: Before Carp's bases-loaded single in the seventh, the Sox were just 1-for-20 with runners in scoring position in the Bronx.
JBJ cools off: Rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. is 0-for-9 in this series.