Red Sox tee it up, and Yankees tee off
BOSTON — The Red Sox put the game on a tee for the Yankees and, to their credit, the Yankees took advantage.
During this mostly lost season of offense, it’s something they haven’t done much of.
Saturday afternoon, they were helped by seven walks issued by Boston pitchers, including three straight to open a four-run third inning that keyed the Yankees’ 6-4 victory in front of 37,302 at Fenway Park.
It was a feel-good victory for the Yankees (56-53), who had lost five of six coming in. They had 10 hits, four for extra bases.
“I thought it was important,” Joe Girardi said. “Our road trip has not started off the way we wanted it to.”
The Yankees trailed 3-0 after two innings but Red Sox right-hander Allen Webster completely lost command in the third, walking five batters, including Martin Prado, Francisco Cervelli and Brett Gardner to open the inning. “Whenever you get three free baserunners with nobody out, you've got to do something,” Girardi said.
Webster threw a first-pitch strike to Derek Jeter, who flared the next pitch down the right-field line for a two-run double.
“I’m always ready for a pitch,” said Jeter, who went 2-for-5 to improve to 29-for-93 (.312) in his last 23 games. “When the bases are loaded, you’ve got to throw strikes. He threw strike one and then I swung at a pitch that was probably off the plate, but my approach doesn’t change. Bases loaded, the pitcher’s got to throw strikes at some point, but I was fortunate.”
Jacoby Ellsbury followed with an RBI groundout to tie it and Carlos Beltran's two-out bloop single to leftfield made it 4-3.
Mark Teixeira’s team-leading 19th homer — a solo blast in the fifth against lefthander Craig Breslow that cleared the Green Monster seats and bounced atop a roof of a building across Lansdowne Street — gave the Yankees a 5-3 lead. Doubles by Beltran and Stephen Drew in the seventh made it 6-3.
“We feel as though we have a hot streak coming,” Jeter said of the offense, “but you have to go out and do it.”
The Red Sox (49-61) pulled within 6-4 in the bottom of the seventh on David Ortiz’s sacrifice fly off Dellin Betances. After the 6-8 right-hander replaced Adam Warren with runners at the corners and one out, Ortiz lofted a fly to short left. Brock Holt would have been out on Gardner’s throw to the plate, but Francisco Cervelli couldn’t come up with the in-between hop.
Betances retired the Red Sox in order in the eighth. In a memorable 10-pitch at-bat, he struck out Mike Napoli after he fouled off four of five pitches. The final three pitches came in at 100 mph, with the scoreboard gun showing a couple of them at 101.David Robertson, who allowed two runs in a mess of a ninth inning in the Yankees’ 12-11 win over the Rangers Tuesday night, pitched a far more drama-free ninth this time in earning his 28th save in 30 chances.
Yankees right-hander Shane Greene, 2-1 with a 3.28 ERA in his first four starts, allowed three runs, all in the second inning, and six hits in 4 2/3 innings. The highlight of Boston's rally was Napoli's two-run homer that landed on Lansdowne Street for a 2-0 Red Sox lead.
“The Napoli pitch, I said, ‘Hey, let's see how far you can hit it,’” Greene joked. And he let me know how far he could hit it.”Mostly, it was the Yankees hitting the ball hard, an encouraging sign for Girardi that maybe his offense will get it going. “I thought we swung the bats better than six runs, and that’s what you want to see,” he said. “When you start seeing consistent, hard contact, you're going to score runs.”