- Wallace Matthews, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- A day after their own hitting coach said, "I don't know if we're capable of getting to five or six runs," the Yankees put up six, and a few hours after Joe Girardi was asked if he were concerned about his bullpen wearing down, a Yankees reliever broke triple digits on the radar gun.
Like the man says, you just can't predict baseball, even if you get paid to, and the Yankees' 6-4 win over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday at Fenway was a reminder of that. This was the kind of win that is either the exception that proves the rule -- the Yankees really can't hit, and the bullpen is pretty much cooked -- or the game that starts them on a roll that ends with at least one playoff game.
Then again, it might turn out to be none of the above, because the Red Sox are every bit as bad as their record (49-61) indicates.
Still, it was a badly-needed win for the Yankees, who had dropped five of their previous six games, including three of four to last-place teams. Now they have a chance to leave Boston on Sunday night with a series victory to lead into an upcoming seven-game homestand.
Gas attack: The highlight of the game came in the eighth inning, when Dellin Betances faced off against Mike Napoli in a 10-pitch battle ultimately won by Betances on a swinging strikeout. The last three pitches of the at-bat were clocked at 100 mph, 100 mph and 101. It was Betances' first outing since Tuesday night in Arlington, when he surrendered a grand slam to J.P. Arencibia in the Yankees' nail-biting 12-11 victory.
Walking to Pawtucket: Red Sox starter Allen Webster did the sputtering Yankees offense a great favor by giving it six free baserunners, including five third-inning walks. From there, it was easy for the Yankees to wipe out a 3-0 Boston lead. A Derek Jeter bloop that dropped just inside the right-field line for a double with the bases loaded drove in two runs. A groundout by Jacoby Ellsbury scored another, and a bloop single by Carlos Beltran drove in the fourth. Webster walked two more batters to load the bases again before John Farrell pulled him from the game.
Monstrous blast: Mark Teixeira greeted Craig Breslow by leading off the fifth with a shot over the Green Monster and onto the roof of a building somewhere beyond. It was his team-leading 19th home run of the season, and it gave the Yankees a 5-3 lead.
Power surge: Napoli launched a Shane Greene fastball beyond the Green Monster into Lansdowne Street with Yoenis Cespedes (who singled in his first Red Sox at-bat) on base to give Boston a 2-0 second-inning lead. Boston added another run in the inning on Christian Vazquez's RBI single to give the Red Sox a short-lived, 3-0 edge. After that, Greene -- who got a no-decision because he didn't last five innings -- settled down to hold the Red Sox scoreless for the next three innings.
That is the way they Drew it up: Stephen Drew's first hit as a Yankee was a line shot over the head of right fielder Daniel Nava in the seventh inning. It drove in Beltran for the Yankees' sixth run of the game.
That is not the way they Drew it up: Two batters later, Drew wandered off second base on a 3-1 pitch to Francisco Cervelli -- apparently thinking it was strike three -- and was picked off by Vazquez to end the inning.
Look at this: Girardi brought in Shawn Kelley to pitch to Napoli with two on and two out in the fifth, even though Napoli's career batting average against Kelley was .429. But the manager's faith was rewarded when Kelley caught Napoli napping on a 3-2 fastball to end the inning. Kelley faced four batters, retired them all and struck out three to earn the win.
Capt. Braincramp: Jeter had a mental lapse in the first inning on Ellsbury's soft liner to shallow center. Jeter strayed way off first base, despite the speedy Jackie Bradley Jr. coming on strong. Bradley made the catch and threw behind Jeter, easily doubling him off, and the Yankees, who started the game with two baserunners (Brett Gardner leadoff walk, and Jeter reaching on an error by third baseman Brock Holt) came up empty when Teixeira flied out to end the inning.