After an improbable walk-off win on an error on Friday, and being dominated on Saturday; the New York Yankees wild weekend continued with a trouncing of Mets’ ace Johan Santana. After an uneventful first inning, the Yanks got four runs on consecutive singles by Francisco Cervelli, Derek Jeter, and Johnny Damon. Santana seemed to find a rhythm in the third, but was pummeled when he returned in the 4th inning. The Yankees’ fourth inning attack saw the team bat around with two homers, three walks, seven hits, and only ended because of a Melky Cabrera baserunning error.
With the win and the Sox loss, the Yankees moved up to two games behind the division-leading Boston Red Sox.
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With some help from Jason Giambi, the New York Yankees avoided a three game sweep by beating the Boston Red Sox 3-2 yesterday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. Giambi hit a pinch hit homerun in the seventh inning to tie the game at 2-2 and then delivered in the clutch once again in the ninth inning, knocking home the game winning run off of Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. The game was the last meeting between the two teams at Yankee Stadium before the park is set to close following the culmination of the 2008 season.
The Yankees who had dropped to 7 games behind the Red Sox in the Wild Card race following Wednesday night’s defeat needed a win badly to keep the thought of the playoffs alive, and with Giambi’s heroics, they still have some life.
“We have a pulse,” Giambi said. “Hopefully, this will jump-start this ballclub.”
The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning when they were able to piece together two hits and a hit batsmen off of Yankees starter Mike Mussina to go ahead. Jason Varitek collected an RBI single and Jacoby Ellsbury drove in the second run on a fielder’s choice.
Sox starter Jon Lester was brilliant through 7 2/3 innings allowing only five hits while striking out eight over the outing. He was removed after allowing a two-out double to Cody Ransom on his 119th pitch of the afternoon. Hideki Okajima came on in relief to face Jose Molina, but in an odd move, Yankees manger Joe Girardi called for the lefty Giambi to pinch hit against the left handed pitcher.
Turns out Girardi knew what he was doing. Giambi sent Okajima’s second pitch over the center field wall to even the score and energize the stagnant Yankees lineup.
“We’ve been stale. We haven’t been able to get the big hit. We haven’t been able to make a big pitch,” Giambi said. “Hopefully, this turns it around.”
The Yankees bullpen was able to keep the Sox at bay in the eighth and ninth innings setting the stage for some fireworks in their bottom of the ninth. Justin Masterson was on the mound for the Sox and allowed a leadoff single to Xaiver Nady. After a line out by Robinson Cano and a stolen base by pinch runner B Gardner, the Sox chose to intentionally walk Hideki Matsui to set up a double play or force out at third. Sounds like a good plan but Masterson followed up by issuing another walk to Ivan Rodriguez to load the bases for Giambi with only one out.
Sox manager Terry Francona summoned his closer in Papelbon to try and get out of the jam but even he could not work his way out of this one. Giambi laced the game winning RBI single up the middle on an 0-2 96 mph Papelbon fastball.
“I don’t care about the first two games—this one hurt,” Francona said. “We played our hearts out. We lost a really tough game.”
The Sox head back to Boston after going 6-3 on their nine game road trip, winning all there of the series 2 games to 1. Of their 29 remaining games, 20 of them will be played at Fenway Park where they’ve collectively gone 43-18 this season for a .705 winning percentage, the second best home percentage in the American League behind Tampa Bay.
Tonight, the Red Sox welcome the Chicago White Sox to town for a three game series. Pitching for Boston will be Dice-K Matsuzaka (15-2, 2.98 ERA) vs. Chicago’s Javier Vazquez (10-11, 4.37 ERA). Dice-K currently has as many wins this season as he posted in his MLB rookie campaign last year, and is looking to surpass that mark for the second start. This past Sunday, he did not factor into the decision of Boston’s 6-5 extra inning victory over Toronto.
Tickets are still available for this weekend’s games vs. Chicago as well as next week’s series vs. Baltimore. The Sox will break MLB’s consecutive sellout streak of Fenway Park this coming Wednesday afternoon and ACE has your seats to the game!
The Boston Red Sox are making sure to savor ever moment of their final visit to Yankee Stadium and after their 11-3 pounding of New York last night, the Yankees can not wait to see them leave. Dustin Pedroia belted a grand-slam, David Ortiz reached base four times for the second straight night and Jason Bay collected two hits and four RBI’s as the Sox routed New York, again, in front of a disappointed Bronx crowd. After the loss, the Yankees find themselves 7 games behind the Sox in the Wild Card race and 10.5 games behind the division leading Tampa Bay Rays.
“We just dug ourselves a bigger hole,” New York’s Johnny Damon said. “This is definitely a tough time for us.”
For Boston, Paul Byrd tossed six strong innings allowing two runs on five hits while recording five strike outs. The win improves his post All-Star game record to 6-1 and has helped stabilize the bottom half of the Sox rotation with more consistent starts then they’d been used to. His performance last night was reminiscent of when he finished off the Yankees in New York last season in the ALDS series with Cleveland to advance to the ALCS against Boston.
“When I walked into this clubhouse, I remembered getting champagne poured on me right over there, about 20 feet away, and I got a smile on my face because it just has a good memory to me,” Byrd said. “And I know this is the last year of the stadium, so you think about that.”
Boston exploded for seven runs in the eighth inning to put the hammer on the struggling Yankees. The big blow came with one out when Pedroia belted his first career grand slam off of relief pitcher Jose Veras, making the score 11-2 at the time. The win certainly keeps the teams spirits high but they know that it’s far to early to count the Yankees out of the race.
“I never write the Yankees off until the season’s over and the standings are set,” Pedroia said. “They’ve been around too long and been in the playoffs for such a long time that we’re definitely not counting them out.”
Pedroia finished the night 3-5 at the plate, scoring three runs and driving in four RBI’s all on the slam. Bay also collected four RBI’s by going 2-4 that included a triple in the first inning to get things going for the Sox. He now has six RBI’s in his two games against the clubs rivals.
“Two games doesn’t make a lifetime. It doesn’t make a career,” he said. “The whole month I’ve been here has kind of been a Red Sox-Yankee series for me.”
Since joining Boston at the trade deadline, Bay has done nothing but produce. He’s batting .347 with four homeruns and 24 RBI’s in 23 games.
The Sox will go for the sweep today and send Jon Lester to the mound to face Mike Mussina. Lester is coming off of his worst outing of the season while the Yankees have won the last five of Mussina’s starts. If the Sox could come out on top, a sweep would be the first at Yankee Stadium for them since April 23-25, 2004, and only their second in the Bronx this decade.
Following today’s game the Sox head back to Fenway Park for a six-game home stand that will feature an afternoon game on Sept. 3rd when the Red Sox will break the MLB record for consecutive sellouts. Tickets are still available for all games during this homestand!
After spending the past two and a half weeks on the DL with stiffness in his lower back and tendinitis in his pitching shoulder, Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox 42-year old pitcher, looked like he hadn’t missed a beat Tuesday night hurling five innings and allowing only three runs on eight hits which was good enough to lead Boston past New York 7-3 in front of a Yankee Stadium crowd of over 55,000 fans.
Besides a pair of Johnny Damon solo homeruns, his 10th and 11th of the season, Wakefield shut down the potent Yankees lineup with knuckleball after knuckleball. He was able to keep himself out of trouble most of the night by working ahead in the count and not allowing leadoff men to reach base. The Boston bullpen was able to preserve Wake’s 8th win of the season by pitching four shutout innings in which they allowed only two hits.
“Phenomenal job,” Wakefield said of his teammates who were able to finish the game off.
The Yankees jumped in front when Johnny Damon led off the bottom of the first inning with his 10th homerun of the year off of Wakefield but the Sox quickly answered scoring a run in the top of the second inning on an RBI single by Jacoby Ellsbury, tying the score at 1-1. Jose Molina connected on a two out single in the bottom of the second inning to drive in Hideki Matsui, putting the Yankees back ahead 2-1, but again, the Sox would come right back with the answer scoring twice in the top of the third with three consecutive hits off of Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte. DH David Ortiz led off the inning with a double and scored when Kevin Youkilis drove him home in the next at bat with a double of his home. Jason Bay got into the hitting action connecting on an RBI single to plate Youkilis to put Boston ahead for good 3-2.
The Red Sox chased Pettitte from the game in the fifth inning when they were able to score three more runs on four hits. Coco Crisp knocked an RBI single to right-center field to put Boston a head 4-2 and then the big blow came when Bay drove home two more runs on his second hit of the night to put Boston on top 6-2. Bay would later add another RBI on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning to round out the Red Sox scoring.
New York did have some chances in the later innings to get back into this one, and they had the right guys up at the plate but just could not get the clutch hit they needed. Reigning AL MVP Alex Rodriguez went 0-5 on the night including grounding into two double plays, once with the bases loaded, and striking out twice, once to end the game. He was loudly booed by the Yankee Stadium crowd as the loss dropped New York 6 games behind the Sox for the Wild Card race and 9.5 games behind Tampa Bay for the division race.
“Tonight, you can put it on me,” Rodriguez said. “It was a lousy night. We pretty much screwed it up every way you can screw it up. There’s absolutely no excuse.”
Sox relief pitcher Justin Masterson was summoned to face Rodriguez with the bases loaded and only one out in the seventh inning. Masterson who is known as a groundball pitcher was able to force A-Rod to ground into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play.
When manager Terry Francona was asked about whether or not he thought twice about making the move to the rookie he said, “Poise is not a problem for him. He gives us options. We feel comfortable using him late in the game and he deserves it.”
After the big out last night, A-Rod is now 1-10 on the season with the bases loaded and 0-7 with the bases loaded when there were less then two outs in the inning. He’s now grounded into nine double plays over the last 19 games.
“I want him in that situation,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I’ve seen him change a game with one swing.”
Rodriguez and the Yankees will get a chance to even the series tonight when they face RHP Paul Byrd. Byrd is 1-1 since being traded to Boston from the Cleveland Indians and is probably thrilled to face another team besides the Toronto Blue Jays, whom he has faced in his last three starts going 2-1 with a 3.29 ERA. Since the All-Star break, Byrd is 5-1 and sporting a 2.55 ERA over that span. Byrd is excited to pitch against the Yankees with his new team, especially with All-Star catcher Jason Varitek calling his pitches.
“I knew he was a good catcher, but he’s a great receiver,” Byrd said. “He’s really good. He blocks the ball better than I thought he did. What he brings behind the plate, a wealth of knowledge against the hitters is great. I’ve enjoyed throwing to him. I think we’ve jelled pretty quickly.”
The Yankees will counter with RHP Sidney Ponson who is 7-4 on the year with a 4.67 ERA. He’s lost his last two decisions and is coming off his shortest outing of the season when he lasted only 2+ innings against Toronto allowing eight hits and seven earned runs in the Blue Jays 14-3 win over New York last Thursday.
Tonight’s first pitch is at 7:05pm EST.
After the first two games of this weekend’s Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees series, things were looking great for the Boston Red Sox. They’d captured victories on both Thursday night and Friday afternoon against the Bronx Bombers and it finally looked liked their bats were going to come around after an awful series sweep in Tampa Bay. It appeared that right when they needed a series win on the road, they were about to accomplished the feat but the weekend would prove to fair in favor of New York who evened the series out by claiming one run victories on Saturday and Sunday.
Jon Lester pitched a complete game five-hitter in Boston’s 5-0 win in the first game of the series to end Boston’s five-game losing streak. The win was his seventh on the season and his second complete game shutout on the year. Lester was the first Boston pitcher to throw a complete game shutout in the Bronx since Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat in 2000.
“It was cool. It was definitely a different experience,” Lester said. “You watch the game and it seems big, but when you’re out there on the mound, it’s a pretty big stadium and a lot of people.”
Friday afternoon Josh Beckett tossed six strong innings and the Sox were able to win again by the score of 6-4 with the help of one of the most bizarre hits in recent years. Kevin Youkilis belted a two-RBI triple in the third inning that helped tie the score at 3-3 but the hit itself was inches away from being a homerun. Yankees left fielder Johnny Damon had a good beat on the Youkilis blast that was heading towards the left field fence. He made a great effort to catch the ball and for a moment actually had it in his glove before crashing into the wall, jarring the ball which sprang loose and actually rested on the top of the wall’s padding for multiple seconds before falling back in play on the warning track. When all was said and done with, two runs had scored, Youkilis ended up at third, and Damon left the game with a sprained/bruised left shoulder and has since been placed on the 15-day DL for the first time in his career.
“It was bizarre,” said Sox third basemen Mike Lowell who was the hero of the game with four RBI’s and the go-ahead three run homer in the fifth inning. “I’ve been playing awhile. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
In the two wins, the Sox had a combined 23 hits and 13 runs compared to the Yankees 11 hits and four runs. Yankees Manager Joe Girardi was not happy with his team’s effort and in the post-game press conference made it known.
“Last night was a frustrating loss,” Girardi said. “Today’s a frustrating loss.”
The Yankees responded well and were able to receive a very strong pitching performance from Mike Mussina on Saturday to pick up a 2-1 victory. Mussina hurled six innings allowing only four hits and no runs while striking out five to earn his 11th victory on the year.
New York was able to take a 1-0 lead on a Melky Cabrera RBI single in the 2nd inning and plate their other run in the 6th inning on a Brett Gardner Sac fly to left.
Mariano Rivera was called to close the door in the 9th and immediately got himself into a jam. J.D. Drew singled to lead off the inning and Manny Ramirez was then hit by a pitch to put two runners on with no outs. Mike Lowell kept things alive with an RBI single to right, scoring Drew and cutting the Yankees lead in half making the score 2-1. Rivera would then hit Kevin Youkilis to load the bases with no outs.
As good as things looked for the Sox, Rivera reached down deep and was able to record the final three outs without allowing another run to score. He was able to strike out Coco Crisp for out number one, retire the struggling Jason Varitek on an infield pop up to first and then end the game on a Julio Lugo strike out.
“We gave ourselves a great chance with really good at-bats in the ninth and then Mariano went to work and really carved us up for three batters,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “He gave himself no wiggle room and he didn’t need it.”
In Sunday’s game, the Sox attempted to rebound from the tough loss and capture a road series for the first time on the road trip. Tim Wakefield provided Boston with another quality start, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing three runs. When he exited the game, the Sox were on top 4-2 and he was replaced in favor of Javier Lopez. Lopez allowed a two run triple to Robinson Cano that evened the games score at 4-4.
The game would go to extra innings and the Yankees were able to get to Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon to score the game winning run in the 10th inning off of a Brett Gardener dribbler up the middle that deflected off of Alex Cora’s glove into center field, scoring Cano to make the final score 5-4 New York.
“Seems like that’s what’s going to happen if you’re going to beat me this year: broken bat or find-your-way-through-the-infield somehow,” Papelbon said. “I’ve got to be able to go out and get the first guy.”
The Sox struggled to only win three games on their 10 game road trip and have slipped behind the Tampa Bay Rays by five games in the AL East Standings. Currently Boston is a half game ahead of the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wild Card race and they will be welcoming Minnesota to Boston for a three game series starting tonight.
Minnesota has been playing great ball winning eight of their last 10 games including five in a row. They will send Scott Baker to the hill tonight to face Dice-K Matsuzaka in the series opener. Baker is 5-2 on the season with a 3.65 ERA while Matsuzaka, currently 9-1, will be going for win number 10 on the year.
Following the three games with Minnesota, the Sox will welcome the Baltimore Orioles into town for a three game set this coming weekend. Tickets are still available for all remaining games on the current homestand.
The New York Yankees needed to pay for their new $1.3 billion ballpark somehow. The new Yankee Stadium will feature seats 20 feet closer to the home plate and the playing field than the current stadium. Those 20 feet are going to cost you though. The first 8 rows of seats behind home plate will range in price from $500-$2500 each. No one will pay that, right? Wrong. All 122 front row $2500 seats have been sold by the Yankees. The seats come with an array of perks including non-alcoholic beverages, private restrooms, private entrance and cushioned teak chairs. Sounds nice. The new stadium won’t just be for the high rollers though. The Yankees will still offer $12 bleacher seats and $25 tickets in the grandstand.
The opening of a new Yankees Stadium has also had a profound effect on 2008 Yankees tickets sales. Saying goodbye to the “House that Ruth Built” is more important for most Yankees fans than the opening of a new stadium. Don’t get me wrong the new stadium is overdue and will be appreciated but the history of the old stadium is like that of no other ballpark.
With Yankees tickets selling at a record pace, don’t wait too long to make your plans to say goodbye to Yankees stadium.
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