BOSTON -- In the course of the past eight days, the New York Yankees turned a triple play, lost one pitcher to injury, another to pine tar, had to use an infielder as a pitcher one night, and hit against an outfielder another night.
They had 16 runs scored against them in one game, and scored 14 runs themselves in another. They beat up a former Cy Young winner (David Price) and got shut down by a pitcher they nearly always manhandle (John Lackey).
But all history will remember of this seven-game road trip, against two of their AL East rivals, is that they won four of those games and have now beaten the Boston Red Sox in five of their first seven meetings of the season.
"We got started off on the right foot and then it got a little ugly," manager Joe Girardi said of the second and third games at Tampa Bay -- which seem like they happened a month ago -- when the Yankees were outscored 27-6 and stood 1-2 for the trip.
The worst thing that happened to the Yankees, of course, was losing Ivan Nova for the year to a torn elbow ligament that will require Tommy John surgery.
The most bizarre thing, of course, was Michael Pineda getting himself ejected, and suspended, for taking the mound with enough pine tar slathered on his neck to lubricate a whole rack of bats.
But the best thing was undoubtedly Thursday night's bounce-back win over the Red Sox, a laugher of a game that forced Boston manager John Farrell to use outfielder Mike Carp to mop up in the ninth inning with the Yankees holding a 13-5 lead. They wound up winning 14-5 after Carp walked five of the seven batters he faced.
"We’ve been playing pretty good for the most part," said Derek Jeter, who had two hits and knocked in two runs with a seventh-inning single. "There’s a couple of bumps, especially Nova. That’s too bad. We expected him to have a really good season and be a vital part of our team. You feel terrible for him, more so than you do for the team, because I know how hurt he was by it. But yeah, we've been playing well."
No Carp with Girardi's call: Jeter said he wasn't disappointed in the least by Girardi's decision to have Kelly Johnson hit for him in the ninth with Carp on the mound and the bases loaded.
"You know what, I hit against one position player in my career (Jonathan Van Every, here at Fenway Park on May 8, 2010), and it was probably the most uncomfortable at-bat I’ve ever had," Jeter said. "I got a double, I think. I swung early in the count. You can’t win hitting against a position player. Go ask Gardy. Gardy would know."
Jeter was referring to Brett Gardner, who struck out against Van Every in that game.
"So no, I’m not disappointed at all," Jeter said. "[Carp] was throwing knuckleballs."
So long, Solarte? Not so fast: Yangervis Solarte came into the game riding an 0-for-14 slide, but broke out of it with a vengeance, going 2-for-5 with a double and four RBIs.
"When you’re a young kid, sometimes you can overanalyze things," Girardi said. "That’s not what we want him to do. I was pleased with his at-bats (during the slump). He just hit some balls hard and wasn’t getting any hits. For him to bounce back tonight, I thought it was important.”
CC looks good: CC Sabathia generally has a hard time pitching at Fenway, but not Thursday. The big man had some control issues early, walking three batters and hitting two in the first four innings, but settled down to throw six two-run, three-hit innings with eight strikeouts, the last five looking.
Tex goes deep: Mark Teixeira hit his first home run of the season -- and first since last June 6 -- in the third inning, a high fly that traveled just far enough to clear the home run stripe at the top of the Green Monster.
"When he hit it, I thought it was gone easy," Girardi said. "And then you started seeing it go the opposite way because the wind was so strong. It was big for him. He had a good night for us."
Teixeira also walked three times. Other offensive standouts: Brian Roberts (2-for-5, one RBI, four runs scored), Alfonso Soriano (two doubles, one RBI), Jacoby Ellsbury (3-for-6, two doubles, three RBIs), who was 5-for-15 with five RBIs in his Fenway homecoming, and Gardner, who managed to score four times without getting a hit (three walks, error, two stolen bases).