Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1

June, 28, 2014
6/28/14
10:14
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The matchup of Masahiro Tanaka and Jon Lester was supposed to be a pitchers' duel, and it more than lived up to its billing.

Tanaka went nine strong innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, and Lester threw eight even better ones, allowing one unearned run on just five hits.

The difference was the two hits off Tanaka were home runs, and the second one, coming with two out in the ninth, was the backbreaker, and a heartbreaker for him and the Yankees. The Red Sox win this one 2-1, to even up the series at a game apiece.

Miked up: Tanaka's great performance was ruined by one pitch and two other factors -- the curious decision not to bury a splitter on a 1-2 pitch to Mike Napoli, and the friendly dimensions of right field in Yankee Stadium. Tanaka chose to throw a fastball -- clocked at a game-high 96 mph -- and Napoli hit a low laser to the opposite field that just made it into the first row of seats to give Boston a 2-1 lead. It probably was not a HR in any other park -- although certainly at least a double -- and with two out, may not have led anywhere. Here, it was a game winner.

Second to Nuno: David Ross launched a 1-0 Tanaka fastball into the left-field seats in the third inning to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead -- and give Tanaka second place among Yankees pitchers in home runs allowed, with 12 in 109 2/3 innings, behind Vidal Nuno, who has allowed 15 -- in just 73 innings.

Say wha??: In the eighth, Jacoby Ellsbury thought he had stolen second, gone to third on a throwing error and scored when center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. brain-locked and failed to throw home. But what had really happened was the batter, Mark Teixeira, had been called out on strikes on the pitch Ellsbury took off on, and nothing that followed had really happened. When Ellsbury found out he had sprinted around the bases for nothing, he threw his hands up in disbelief and then tossed his helmet into the air.

Scratching and clawing: The Yankees tied the game without benefit of a hit in the bottom of the third when Brian Roberts reached on an error by shortstop Stephen Drew, Yangervis Solarte got hit by a pitch on the foot, both runners were bunted over by Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter bounced out to shortstop, driving in Roberts with what was an unearned run.

Crime doesn't pay: The Yankees got three hits in the sixth but managed not to score, possibly because Gardner, who got the first hit of the inning -- and the game for the Yankees after Lester held them hitless for five -- got thrown out trying to steal second while Jeter was batting. Jeter and Ellsbury followed with singles, but neither moved any further when Teixeira popped out to shallow right and Carlos Beltran struck out.

Great escape: Tanaka got himself into a heap of trouble in the fourth when Dustin Pedroia led off with a single and then David Ortiz, in perhaps the unlikeliest result of all, stroked one into the RF corner and legged out a double, sending Pedroia to third. But Tanaka bore down to strike out Napoli and Drew on splitters and got Xander Bogaerts to bounce out to shortstop, denying the Red Sox a run.

So close: Solarte nearly came up with the Yankees' first hit with two out in the fifth when he topped one up the third-base line, where Bogaerts barehanded it and one-hopped his throw to Napoli, who appeared to come off the bag. Solarte was called safe by umpire Mark Wagner, but the replay showed Napoli had held his foot down long enough and the call was overturned after an announced delay of 50 seconds.

Dueling replays: The Yankees caught up in the review department when the very next hitter, Pedroia, singled sharply to left-center leading off the sixth. Ellsbury's throw appeared to beat Pedroia to the bag, but he swept his hand away from the tag and was called safe by umpire Chris Segal. But the replay showed that although Pedroia evaded the original tag, Roberts got him on the leg before his trailing hand came down on the bag. This one took just 28 seconds to overturn.

Tomorrow: The rubber game matches Chase Whitley (3-1, 4.07) and RHP John Lackey (8-5, 3.45), first pitch at 8:05 p.m.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146