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Saturday, April 9, 2011
Rapid reaction: Yankees 9, Red Sox 4

By Joe McDonald



BOSTON -- The long ball killed the Boston Red Sox on Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park.

The New York Yankees' potent offense pounded Boston pitchers with four home runs that equaled seven runs en route to a 9-4 victory. This three-game set is even at one game apiece.

The bottom of New York’s order proved crucial as No. 9 batter Russell Martin hit two home runs, a three-run shot in the fourth inning and a solo homer in the seventh to help lead the onslaught. Yankees No. 8 hitter Eric Chavez went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and a run scored.

New York’s Curtis Granderson drilled a two-run homer in the fifth and Robinson Cano added a solo shot in the sixth.

The Red Sox are 1-7 this season.

BUCHHOLZ STRUGGLES: Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz posted his second consecutive subpar performance to start the 2011 season. The right-hander lasted only 3 2/3 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts. In his first start of the season, he suffered a 5-1 loss at Texas, allowing four runs on five hits (four solo home runs) over 6 1/3 innings.

PEDEY POWER: Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia went 3-for-4, including three doubles, a run scored and two RBIs.

DOUBY’S DEBUT: Red Sox lefty reliever Felix Doubront made his 2011 season debut against the Yankees on Saturday after he was activated from the disabled list on Friday. He relieved Buchholz with two outs in the top of the fourth inning, and quickly ended the inning, striking out the Yankees’ Robinson Cano on three pitches. However, Doubront allowed two runs on three hits, including a two-run homer by Curtis Granderson in the top of the fifth inning. He's a starter by trade, but if Doubront can be as successful out of the bullpen as management believes, he could be a key factor for the Sox this season. The 23-year-old southpaw made his big league debut with the Sox last season, working 12 games (three starts) and posting a 2-2 record with a 4.32 ERA.

SPEED KILLS: The speed of both Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford proved crucial for the Red Sox on Saturday. With one out, runners on first and third and Boston trailing 5-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Ellsbury, hitting ninth in the order, was able to stay out of a double play when he hit into a fielder’s choice to keep the inning alive for Boston as J.D. Drew scored from third. Crawford, hitting leadoff, followed with a hit-and-run, putting runners on the corners. Pedroia then delivered a two-run double off the center-field wall to cut Boston’s deficit to one run.

MUELLER JINX: During his playing days in Boston, former Red Sox third baseman Bill Mueller was once asked about the infield conditions at Fenway Park. He would not answer the question because he thought it might jinx him. Current Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie suffered a bit of that jinx when he was asked, and answered, the question about Fenway Park’s new infield prior to Saturday’s game. Boston’s starting shortstop made an error on an Alex Rodriguez ground ball to lead off the top of the second inning. New York eventually scored twice in that inning to take a 2-0 lead. Lowrie made up for it offensively with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. All three hits were singles.

YIP-YIPS, NO WAY: Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is proving he can handle the yips. Once known for having trouble throwing the ball back to the pitcher, and down to second base, Salty has been successful throwing out potential base stealers this season. He has airmailed two attempts into center field already, but he has successfully thrown out 4 of 11 runners this season. He gunned down the Yankees’ Derek Jeter, attempting to swipe second base in the top of the first inning Saturday.

UP NEXT: The Red Sox and Yankees close out this three-game set Sunday night at 8:05 ET on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Josh Beckett (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will get the nod for Boston, while CC Sabathia (0-0, 1.38) will toe the rubber for New York.