- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Senior Writer
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BOSTON -- Brett Gardner slammed his helmet down, letting out all the frustration New York Yankees fans are experiencing night in and night out. In the fifth, Gardner badly wanted to bring home a runner from second and tie the game with a hit. Instead he watched a borderline 3-2 pitch be called for strike three.
The Yankees would never get the lead. They would lose 4-2 to the Boston Red Sox. And although Andy Pettitte didn't pitch well enough, it was again the Yankees' inability to score that led to their third straight loss.
So when Gardner saw the called strike three from home plate ump Mike Everitt, he took his helmet off and boom. He slammed it to the ground with two hands, which is, as usually the case, an automatic ejection.
"The bottom line is I have to have better control of my emotions and not do what I did," Gardner said.
Gardner apologized to Joe Girardi because his temper forced Girardi to lose one of his two better players. Instead, Alberto Gonzalez had to play the outfield, while Luis Cruz moved to third because of Zoilo Almonte's injury.
"What I did was wrong," Gardner said.
His manager defended him and said he shouldn't have been tossed, but the frustration of the losing and the lack of runs at some point has to mount on guys like Gardner's shoulders.
"It was building up a little bit," Gardner said.
Gardner wouldn't go any further into it, so it was unclear if his problem was with the umpiring or the way the offense can't score any runs. This makes it hard for the Yankees' starters.
Pettitte again did not come through with a quality start, but he wasn't awful. In fact, after giving up homers in each of the first two innings, Pettitte threw well. Jacoby Ellsbury took him deep on the second pitch of the first inning. But then Petitte settled down in the middle innings and pitched into the seventh. The fourth run he gave up was on a bloop ground-rule double, and then Shawn Kelley let the inherited run come home in the seventh.
Pettitte, who is now 7-7 with a 4.47 ERA, expects more from himself, so he was beating himself up a little, while vowing that it will get better.
"It is not going the way I want it to, but it will turn," Pettitte said.
If not, Gardner won't be the only one erupting.