NEW YORK -- This is what happens when you start a left-handed journeyman against the mighty Boston Red Sox: you lose.
David Huff, making his first start as a New York Yankee after replacing the struggling Phil Hughes in the rotation, was tagged for nine runs on eight hits in just 3 1/3 innings in the Red Sox's 13-9 victory Saturday afternoon at the Stadium.
New York rallied from a 12-3 deficit to make it a three-run game, but Boston was able to close the door.
WHAT IT MEANS: Terrible Yankee pitching plus terrific Red Sox hitting equals three straight losses. With his bullpen in shambles, manager Joe Girardi was hoping for distance out of Huff, but he didn’t get it. Huff, who had allowed just two runs in his first 16 innings as a Yankee, gave up a two-run home run to Mike Napoli in the second inning and a three-run home run to Jonny Gomes in the third. Girardi will now have to figure out what he wants to do with his rotation in five days.
The Yankees didn’t lose any ground in the wild-card standings following their losses to the Red Sox on Thursday and Friday. The Tampa Bay Rays, who now have a 1 1/2 game lead for the second and final American League wild-card spot, play in Seattle at 9:10 p.m. ET.
NOT AGAIN: Derek Jeter left the game for a pinch runner in the sixth inning after hitting an RBI single. Jeter appeared to be limping as he walked back to the dugout. He may have gotten injured when he threw wide of first base in the top of the sixth. Jeter has already made three different comebacks due to injury this season.
STAT SO? The Red Sox are the first visiting team to score 12-plus runs in consecutive games in the same series against the Yankees since the 1907 Washington Senators, according to the Elias Sports Bureau via ESPN Stats & Information. It’s also the first time in AL history a team has scored eight or more runs in three straight home games and lost all three, according to STATS Inc.
DEBUTANT: Jim Miller became the franchise-record 54th player to put on the pinstripes for the Yankees this season. He pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up three runs -- two on 20-year-old Xander Bogaerts’ first major league homer.
BEANTOWN BOMBERS: The Red Sox hit four homers on Saturday afternoon. Napoli went yard twice -- the second time he’s had a multihomer game in the Bronx this season.
BRETT THE HITMAN: Brett Gardner had two hits, three runs scored and two RBIs.
ICHI-WHOA: Ichiro Suzuki collided hard with the right-field wall after leaping to rob David Ortiz of an extra-base hit in the third inning. Suzuki remained in the game and received a nice hand from the crowd for his efforts. Suzuki also had two hits and an RBI.
OFF-ROD: Alex Rodriguez did not play because Girardi wanted to rest him with a day game after a night game. David Robertson, Boone Logan and Shawn Kelley were all unavailable due to injury, while Joba Chamberlain and Preston Claiborne were unavailable because they'd pitched the previous two days.
UP NEXT: The Yankees and Red Sox close out their four-game series on Sunday afternoon. Will it be time to bust out the brooms? It sets up to be a pitchers' duel with Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.99 ERA) going against Jon Lester (13-8, 3.88). First pitch is slated for around 1:05 p.m.