In innings 1-5 and seven, Sabathia held the BoSox scoreless on two hits and struck out six. But in the sixth inning, he came apart, allowing all four runs and giving up two long home runs. On the bright side, Sabathia's ERA dropped -- from 7.50 at the start of the game to 6.63 at its end.
But, seriously, this is becoming a bad habit for Sabathia, habitually throwing in one stinker of an inning in every start. More often than not these days, it's enough to sink his team. Time to worry? Yes.
Balsa wood: Aside from Alfonso Soriano's home run to lead off the second, the Yankees' offense consisted of just three singles in the first six innings off Jon Lester, and two of them never left the infield. But the bats came alive as Lester tired in the seventh, capped by Kelly Johnson's two-out RBI single on a 3-2 pitch that cut the Boston lead to 4-2. With no right-handed bats on his bench, Girardi had to stick with Johnson, who had never had a hit off Lester (0-for-14), and it worked. Johnson's hit chased Lester and brought in right-hander Junichi Tazawa, who ended the threat by getting Derek Jeter to fly out to short right.
McCann can't: Not tonight, anyway. A night after he delivered a clutch RBI single, Brian McCann was sent up by Joe Girardi to hit for Francisco Cervelli with a chance to tie the game -- a runner on first, two out and the Sox leading 4-2 in the eighth. This time, McCann struck out on a pitch in the dirt to end the inning.
Untouchable: One of the few bright spots for the Yankees was the dominant ninth inning pitched by Dellin Betances, who struck out the side, freezing David Ross and Jackie Bradley Jr. with 96 mph heat on the corners and getting Gomes to swing over a curveball.
Efficient-C: Sabathia needed 21 pitches to navigate the first inning but only 23 to get through the next three in spite of striking out four of the first six batters he faced.
Going, going, Gomes: The Red Sox tied the game when Jonny Gomes pumped a Sabathia fastball into the left-field seats to lead off the sixth. Gomes had come into the game batting .174 with no home runs and one RBI.
Deep-sixed: The Gomes homer opened the floodgates against Sabathia, started by the unlikeliest of events, an infield hit by -- wait for it -- David Ortiz, who beat out a check-swing grounder to the left side of the infield with the Yankees in a shift to the right. Mike Napoli followed with a solid single to center, and then Grady Sizemore launched an 0-1 slider deep into the right-field seats. The three-run blast gave Boston a 4-1 lead.
Not Sori: Soriano, off to a slow start in the season, got off to a quick start tonight, belting Lester's 1-1 fastball deep into the lower-left field seats just inside the foul pole to lead off the second inning. It was Soriano's 19th home run and 53rd RBI in 68 games with the Yankees since joining them last July.
Rocketing ahead: Sabathia's strikeout of Dustin Pedroia in the sixth -- his seventh of the game -- gave him 1,015 as a Yankee and moved him ahead of Roger Clemens for sole possession of 11th place on the Yankees all-time K list.