- Wallace Matthews, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- A sticky situation for the Yankees on Wednesday night as Michael Pineda gets tossed for going to his neck and now faces a possible suspension which would further deplete a starting rotation already reduced by one Ivan Nova.
In another episode of Yankees-Red Sox Bizarro Baseball, Pineda lasted just 1 2/3 innings before getting the heave-ho. The Yankees never got started against John Lackey, a pitcher they usually own, and just like that, all the good feelings engendered by Tuesday's 9-3 win on Jacoby Ellsbury Night were wiped out by Tar-Gate, Chapter 2.
Beaten by a neck: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice? Yer outta here.
Pineda, who was suspected of pitching with pine tar on his pitching hand when the Red Sox came to Yankee Stadium two weeks ago, was ejected tonight three pitches into Grady Sizemore's second-inning at-bat for having a shiny-looking -- and suspicious-looking -- substance smeared on the side of his neck. Red Sox manager John Farrell called it to the attention of plate umpire Gerry Davis, who subjected Pineda to everything but a strip search on the mound before tossing him from the game, with a probable suspension to follow.
David Phelps came in to replace him. In the meantime, Pineda's ejection seemed to throw the Yankees off-kilter for the rest of the game. The could manage only one run all game, on a sacrifice fly by Alfonso Soriano in the sixth inning.
Nobody's lackey: Lackey came into the game with a 10-11 career record and 4.99 ERA against the Yankees. But he handled them like kittens tonight, working eight strong innings, allowing only the one run, and striking out 11, including the side on 11 pitches in the second inning.
Blooper reel: Mike Napoli's short fly down the right-field line eluded a charging Brett Gardner, bounced away and lodged under the padding along the right-field side wall, creating some comical confusion for a while. Gardner couldn't find the baseball and the two Red Sox on base, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, came around to score before the umpires determined the hit should be scored a ground-rule double and Ortiz returned to third. It was only a temporary reprieve for the Yankees, however, as Ortiz wound up scoring on a wild pitch by Phelps to give Boston a 4-0 advantage.
The ball always finds you: Gardner was playing his first-ever big league game in right field, so naturally the first Boston batter of the game, Sizemore, sliced one into the right-field corner for a leadoff triple. Gardner seemed a little uncertain tracking and chasing down the ball, as you would expect from a guy playing an unfamiliar position.
Pining for an out: Pineda was victimized by some bad luck in allowing two first-inning runs. After Sizemore tripled and Pedroia drove him in with a single, Napoli dropped a bloop into short right in front of Gardner, and what could have been an inning-ending forceout off the bat of A.J. Pierzynski became a (questionable) RBI single when the ball went through Derek Jeter's legs to give the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.
Candid camera: After Pineda was ejected, an apparently incensed Joe Girardi attacked a dugout camera, turning it forcefully around -- and was exasperated to see it spin back into position again. There's just no privacy anywhere anymore.
Streak over: Jeter went 0-for-4 tonight, snapping his hitting streak at 11 games.
Hand that man a hat: Mark Teixeira struck out four times. Golden sombrero, please.
What's next: With these two teams, who knows? They've scheduled a baseball game -- CC Sabathia (2-2, 5.19) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (1-2, 5.48) in the rubber game of this three-game series (first pitch 7:10 p.m.). But as we've seen, the ballgame itself may turn out to be the least important thing that happens here tomorrow night.
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3hAndrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews