The Boston Red Sox should be glad that they are leaving New York on a high note. There is nothing more encouraging than being able to steal a tight game from the defending World Champions in Yankee Stadium.
A 2-1 victory in the series finale was well deserved for the injury-prone Red Sox. The key to the victory is their pitching ace, Jon Lester (12-7) who kept the mighty Yankees powerless in 6.1-inning this afternoon. And his teammates gave him just enough runs in the second inning for their 64th win of the season.
Moreover, they make sure they do not fall too far behind the AL East division leaders with only one and a half months of baseball left.
Jon Lester blanked the home team by scattering four hits and issuing three walks. He was unhittable in his first four innings, in which eight of the twelve Yankees never hit the ball out of the infield. He also retired six Yankees by strikeouts.
The two runs scored by the Red Sox both came in the second inning against Yankees starter Phil Hughes (13-5).
Third baseball Mike Lowell led off but flied out. Rookie left fielder Ryan Kalish singled on a ground ball to Nick Swisher. With Bill Hall at the plate, Kalish stole second base and hustled to third on catcher Jorge Posada’s off-line throw to second baseman Robinson Cano. He then scored easily on Hall’s single.
Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a base hit and Hall moved to third. Hughes walked Marco Scutaro to load the bases. J.D. Drew grounded out but Hall tallied to score the game winning run.
Lester’s only troublesome inning was the seventh. The Yankees had two of their six hits off him. He gave up back-to-back singles to Posada and the designate hitter Marcus Thames. He then hit Austin Kearns on a 1-2 pitch. Manager Terry Francona pulled him from the game after striking out Curtis Granderson.
The hard-throwing Daniel Bard came in and only needed minimal six pitches to strike out Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher to end the inning.
But Bard could not avoid the lead-off hitter Mark Teixeira in the eighth. He challenged Teixeira with a 95 mph fastball but the slugger hit a towering home run to right field. His 26th homer of the year is also his sixth in his last nine games.
However, his teammates failed to complete the comeback from a 2-1 deficit.
In the same inning, Alex Rodriguez singled and the speedy Brent Gardner pinch-ran for him. Posada walked after Cano’s groundout. With potential winning run on first, Bard retired pinch-hitter Lance Berkman on an infield-fly.
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon came in to extinguish the Yankees’ rally. He grounded out Austin Kearns easily to end inning. Although he gave up a walk in the ninth, he struck out the side for his 28th save of the year. The Yankees stranded a total of 11 base runners today.
Even though Boston fails to get any closer to the Yankees in the standings after this series, they still maintain a reachable six-game margin with the arch-rivals. Both teams will face each other six more times including a regular season finale series in Fenway Park.
This artcle is also feature on www.sportshaze.com.