Ortiz, Mike Lowell and Lowrie started the fourth with back-to-back-to-back singles. A double by Darnell McDonald and back-to-back singles by Marco Scutaro and J.D. Drew ended Pettitte’s night and put Boston ahead 7-1. The Yankees got two quick outs to start the top of the fifth, but a walk to Lowell was followed by a single by Lowrie and a Bill Hall homer to give the Red Sox a commanding 10-1 lead.
If there was something positive to be seen in Friday’s game, it was the way in which the Yankees fought back. Homers by Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez in the bottom of the sixth put the Yankees back 10-3. The Yankees then put together a big inning of their own in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Derek Jeter worked a walk and Swisher homered to right. Teixeira then walked and Rodriguez answered with his second homer in as many innings, as the Yankees were back within striking distance. Down 10-7 in the ninth, Jeter struck out and Swisher flew out before Teixeira went deep again. Rodriguez worked a walk and moved to second on defensive indifference, before Robinson Cano struck out to end the game, with the Yankees taking a 10-8 loss.
The Yankees sent rookie pitcher Ivan Nova to the mound on Saturday, as they had to face off one of Boston’s best arms, Jon Lester. Lester pitched a perfect first four innings, before walking Rodriguez in the fifth for the Yankees first base runner. At that point the Red Sox had already gotten to Nova. He had pitched a strong first couple innings, but got into trouble in the third. He started the inning by hitting Ryan Kalish with a pitch and walking Daniel Nava. Lars Anderson then singled to load the bases with no outs. Scutaro kept things going with a single to center and Drew’s double play ball still allowed Nava to score Boston’s second run of the game. Ortiz singled to right, bringing Anderson home and the Red Sox took a 3-0 lead.
Boston added another run in the top of the fifth, after a ground-rule double by Drew and a single by Ortiz. Francisco Cervelli and Jeter singled in the sixth, finally getting the Yankees some hits against Lester, but they were unable to score. Chad Gaudin gave up back-to-back homers to Drew and Victor Martinez to start the seventh inning, putting the Red Sox ahead 6-0.
As with Friday’s game, the Yankees mounted a comeback late in the game, but it too fell short. In the bottom of the eighth, Brett Gardner reached when Adrian Beltre made a fielding error. Granderson followed with a homer and the Yankees were finally on the board. Joba Chamberlain replaced Jonathan Albaladejo in the ninth and immediately gave up doubles to Lowrie and Kalish, giving the Red Sox and insurance run. Rodriguez answered with a solo homer to start the bottom of the inning, but the Yankees were unable to build on that as Cano, Marcus Thames and Gardner went down in order to give the Red Sox a 7-3 victory and the series win.
The Yankees went into Sunday night’s game needing a strong start from Phil Hughes and they got it. Unfortunately, Daisuke Matsuzaka was also dealing for the Red Sox, as the two rivals were quickly locked in a pitcher’s duel. Bill Hall doubled to right to start the third and moved to third on a fly ball to center. J.D. Drew walked with two outs and Victor Martinez slapped a single to right to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.
Both pitchers held their opponents scoreless through the sixth. Hughes gave up a couple walks to start the seventh, but David Robertson came in and got Kalish, Hall and Anderson down in order. Teixeira singled to left in the bottom of the inning and Rodriguez came through with a clutch homer to right center, giving the Yankees their first lead against the Red Sox all weekend, as New York took a 2-1 lead.
Mariano Rivera got the final out of the eighth inning and came out for the top of the ninth. He gave up a single to Kalish, who had robbed Cano of a hit in the seventh. Kalish then stole second and third with no problem, scoring the tying run when Hall connected with a single to left. Hall, taking his cues from Kalish perhaps, stole second and third as well, allowing him to score on a sac fly from Mike Lowell and giving the Red Sox the 3-2 lead.
The Yankees had an opportunity in the bottom of the ninth as Nick Swisher singled to right and was replaced on the bases by Eduardo Nunez. Mark Teixeira followed with a liner to right, giving the Yankees runners on first and second with one out. Nunez stole third with Rodriguez up, just getting in before Beltre could put the tag on him. Rodriguez worked a full count against Jonathan Papelbon and drew a walk to load the bases with one out. Cano grounded a ball to right and Nunez scored to tie the game 3-3. Posada struck out and Berkman hit a long fly ball for the final out of the inning, sending the game into extras.
Chamberlain and Boone Logan took care of the front of the Red Sox lineup in the top of the tenth and Granderson singled to start the bottom of the inning. Gardner then put down a perfect bunt (and I normally tear him apart for his inability to bunt, so props to him for putting down a big bunt) and Granderson made it to third on a bad throw by Martinez to first. Hideki Okajima intentionally walked Derek Jeter to load the bases as Marcus Thames came in to pinch-hit for Greg Golson. Thames hit into a force out for the first out of the inning. Juan Miranda, who had taken over first base, put together a patient at bat against Okajima, drawing a walk-off walk and giving the Yankees a 4-3 victory and snapping their losing streak.
Andy Pettitte: Pettitte went just 3.1 innings and gave up seven runs (six earned) on ten hits. On the positive side…he didn’t walk anyone. He did give up one homer and have one strikeout.
Ivan Nova: Nova is fantastic – until there are baserunners. He had a solid first two innings, struggled in the third and couldn’t get out of the fifth once again. He went 4.2 innings with four runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out two.
Jorge Posada: Jorge was 0-8 against the Red Sox this weekend and allowed four straight steals in the top of the ninth on Sunday to let the Red Sox tie the game and take the lead. With a chance to give the Yankees the lead in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded he struck out. Not a good weekend for the Yankees’ veteran backstop.
Phil Hughes: The Yankees had missed a solid outing by a starting pitcher lately, but Hughes gave them one. He went six innings and gave up just one run on three hits. He walked four and struck out four.
Juan Miranda: For a player like Miranda, who gets sporadic playing time, to come through with a patient at bat to pick up a walk-off walk was key. Many players in his position may have been a bit more overanxious at the plate, but he delivered exactly what the Yankees needed, even if it wasn’t as dramatic as some would like.
Alex Rodriguez: A-Rod showed a lot of guts this whole series. He was 4-10 with each of his hits being a homer. He picked up two as the Yankees tried to rally in Friday’s game and got a big round-tripper in Sunday night’s game to give New York their first lead of the weekend. A-Rod looks like he is ready to pick this team up if they need him, and it’s none too early.
Mark Teixeira: Teixeira went 5-12 this weekend and hit a couple longballs of his own. After his big slump lately, it was nice to see him picking up some key hits for the Yankees.
Curtis Granderson: He has been a sparkplug for the Yankees lately and continues to contribute. He went 5-11 this weekend with three RBIs.
In The On Deck Circle:
The Yankees have whittled the magic number down to one, as they continue to move towards the playoffs. They will start their final roadtrip of the regular season with a series in Toronto. A.J. Burnett will take the ball for the Yankees on Monday. Burnett suffered another rain-shortened outing when he picked up a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on September 22nd. In his three innings of work he gave up just two hits and one run, but that was enough for the Rays. Toronto will send Marc Rzepczynski to the mound. The lefty had been winless in his last six games, before picking up a win against Seattle Tuesday. He went 6.1 innings and gave up just two runs. Rzepczynski has struggled against New York, giving up five runs on six hits to the Yankees over just four innings on September 4th. The lefty struggles against righthanded batters, who are knocking him for a .325 average. First pitch is at 7:07pm.