Yankees lose must-win, Drop first of three to arch rival Boston

A.J. MartelliSenior Analyst IAugust 26, 2008

The New York Yankees lost to the Boston Red Sox by a score of 7-3 on Tuesday night, in the first game of a crucial three game set.

Andy Pettitte started for the Yankees. He lasted only 4.2 innings, gave up six earned runs on ten hits, walked three and struck out three.

Tim Wakefield went for Boston. He tossed five innings, gave up three earned runs on eight hits, walked one, and struck out one.

The Yankees jumped out to a quick lead in the bottom of the first inning. Johnny Damon pulled a lead-off home run into the short porch, his tenth homer of the season, to put the Yankees up 1-0. For Damon, it was his 23rd career lead off homer, and his third in pinstripes.

Boston answered back in the top of the second. Jacoby Ellsbury hit an RBI single to score Jeff Bailey, and the game was knotted at one.

The Bombers came up in the bottom of the second were able to re-take the lead. After two out singles from Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano, Jose Molina hit an RBI single to score Matsui, and the Yanks went ahead 2-1.

Boston answered back yet again, and took the lead in the top of the third. Kevin Youkilis doubled to score David Ortiz, Jason Bay singled to score Youkilis, and the Red Sox went up 3-2.

Boston added to their lead in the top of the fifth. Coco Crisp singled to score Bay, and Bailey delivered an infield single to score Jed Lowrie and Crisp, giving the Bosox a 6-2 edge.

In the bottom of the fifth, New York cut the lead in half. Damon smacked another solo home run, his 11th of the year and second of the game, to cut the lead to 6-3. This marked Damon's 11th career multi-home run game, and first since the 2006 season.

The Red Sox got that run back with a sacrifice fly and RBI to left field from Bay to score Dustin Pedroia, and the Red Sox went up 7-3.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Yankees passed on an opportunity to score some runs and get themselves back in the game. The Bombers had the bases loaded and one out. Alex Rodriguez came to the plate, only to ground into an inning-ending, 6-6-3 double play. Reminiscent of 2006, Rodriguez was showered with boos and jeers from the frustrated Bronx crowd.

In the bottom of the ninth, Jonathan Papelbon struck Rodriguez out swinging to end the game, and give Boston a series-opener win.

Wakefield gets the win and is now an even 8-8.

Pettitte takes the loss and falls to 13-10.

Justin Masterson and Hideki Okajima each recorded a hold, and Papelbon nailed down his 34th save this season.

Rodriguez had a very rough night, going 0-5 at the plate, grounding into a double play to kill a potential game-tying rally, making the last out of the game, leaving seven men on base, and of course hearing the Bronx boo-birds for the first time since the 2006 campaign.

"Today I sucked, it was an awful night, and I pretty much screwed up every way you can screw up. There's no excuse, my team expects me to get big hits, and I didn't do it. I heard the boos, and no one is more frustrated than me," said Rodriguez on his performance.

"I'll be here early tomorrow working with Kevin (Long), and I'll come ready to roll tomorrow," he added.

In addition to Rodriguez's struggles, Pettitte was less than thrilled with his performance. "I couldn't get it done. I wish I could say I wasn't feeling good, but I was. I put us in a bad hole. I wasn't able to figure it out," he said.

13 of the 26 batters Pettitte faced reached base.

It should also be noted that Home plate umpire Jim Reynolds gave Pettitte a rough time in his outing, as both the Yankees and Red Sox felt his strike zone was extremely inconsistent. However, Pettitte also said he will not blame the umpire for his poor performance.

"It's one game. Tomorrow's a new day, we have to put it behind us, and we've got to find a way to win tomorrow," said Yankees' manager Joe Girardi after the game.

Tomorrow night at 7:05 ET marks the potential second-to-last time the Yankees and Red Sox meet in the current Yankee Stadium.

Taking the mound for the Yankees is Sidney Ponson (7-4, 4.67 ERA). The Red Sox will go to their recent acquisition Paul Byrd (8-11, 4.61 ERA).