What was supposed to be a featured pitching matchup between Ivan Nova and Jon Lester turned out to be one pitcher dominating against the other. The Yankees got to Lester early, as Mark Teixeira ripped an RBI double past third baseman Mauro Gomez to put the Bombers up 1-0.
Nick Swisher hit a fielder's choice to third, but Gomez couldn't get Swisher out at first, which scored Curtis Granderson and put the Yankees up two to lead off the game. In the bottom half of the first, Cody Ross hit a pop-up to short, but Derek Jeter made a rare error, dropping the ball, which scored Pedro Ciriaco for a 2-1 score.
In the top of the second, Yankees catcher Chris Stewart hit a sac fly to the outfield to drive in Jayson Nix and put the Yanks up 3-1. In the bottom half of the third, the Red Sox again closed it to a one-run gap after David Ortiz ripped an RBI double to left off the Green Monster.
Ivan Nova was able to escape a bases-loaded, one-out jam by striking out Jarrod Saltalamacchia and getting Ryan Sweeney to ground out to first.
In the top of the fifth, Alex Rodriguez put the Yankees up 4-2 with a deep drive to center. Sweeney was checked out after the play, as he crashed into the bullpen wall on a diving attempt of A-Rod's triple, but remained in the game.
Andruw Jones continued his nice series by singling to left and scoring A-Rod to make it 5-2, which ended Lester's night.
Lester was awful for Boston, allowing nine hits, five runs, walking two and striking out six in 4.1 innings of work. Ivan Nova, on the other hand, simply dominated the Boston lineup through six innings. Nova had them swinging and wailing at some bad pitches in the dirt and finished with a line of six hits, two runs (one earned), two walks and 10 strikeouts on 111 pitches.
In the top of the seventh inning, Jones, who already had three home runs in the series, crushed a mammoth home run over the Green Monster and made it 7-2 Yankees. If you can find a replay of the home run off Scott Atchison, who left him a nice, juicy fastball up in the zone, check it out, because it's always beautiful to watch a HR leave Fenway Park.
In the bottom of the eighth, Mike Aviles hit an RBI double that made it 7-3, but the hole was too deep for Boston to climb out of. Rafael Soriano closed the door in the ninth to preserve the 7-3 victory for Joe Girardi and New York.
Nova improves to 10-3, and he's the first Yankee starter this year to reach double-digit wins. Lester has struggled with inconsistency all year long for Boston and drops to 5-6 for 2012.
One of the biggest differences of the series was the Yankees' ability to set the tone early by scoring first in all four games in the first. They scored five runs in the first game, four in the second, three in the third and two in the fourth, and the great starts carried over in most all the games.
The Yanks were able to show, at least in the series opener, that they didn't need the long balls to win, although the home runs sure did help them in the series (especially the ones by Jones). At times, Jones looked like the All-Star of old that used to kill it for the Braves. Four dingers in the series is very impressive, as three of them came in the same day on Saturday.
While the Bombers didn't get the best outings from Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes, they got solid performances out of Freddy Garcia—who dominated and held Boston to one run Saturday afternoon—and Nova.
Right now, the Yankees are so much better than the Red Sox it's not even funny. The Yankees are 52-33, and seven games up on the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. Boston dropped to 43-43 and are nine games out in the AL East; their season is fading each week with disappointing loss after disappointing loss.
The Yankees, on the other hand, are heading into the break cruising in first place. They will get CC Sabathia, out with a groin strain, after the break. But they still might need to make a deal for another arm with Andy Pettitte on the DL with a fractured ankle.
Despite the injuries to Sabathia, Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, the Yankees are 19 games over .500 (5-1 against the Red Sox in 2012) and look like serious contenders for October baseball. Things are really looking good for the Yankees. Can the Yankees keep up their dominant play in the second half of the season?
Only time will tell. Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.
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