The Red Sox offense hasn’t been much to talk about this season. Yet, how many times have we seen this: the team stakes Clay Buchholz to an early lead that he immediately coughs back up? That, and the revenge of Stephen Drew, was the story last night at Fenway as the Yankees out-slugged the Sox 8-7 on Sunday Night Baseball.
Buchholz had yet another ugly outing, laboring through five innings and allowing seven earned runs on eight hits and five walks. The line is par for the course for the quixotic righty this year, as his ERA ballooned to 6.20.
Drew, former swiss-cheese bat for the Red Sox who now toils as the Yankees second baseman, drove in four runs on the night, including an RBI double in the fourth and a two-run single in the fifth that led to Buchholz’s merciful departure. Brett Gardner was the other half of the wrecking crew, continuing his surge with three hits (including a homer), a walk, and three runs batted in. Carlos Beltran also had two hits for New York.
Things looked promising for the Red Sox in the early going. Brock Holt led off the home half of the first with a single, Dustin Pedroia followed with a gorgeous opposite field hit to right with a full count that moved Holt to third, and David Ortiz drove in Holt on a long fly to center field. The Sox didn’t let up, challenging New York starter David Phelps to throw strikes, which he couldn’t. Yoenis Cespedes walked. Mike Napoli singled to load them up, and Daniel Nava chased home Pedroia and Cespedes with a sharp single to a busy Martin Prado in right field. In a familiar sight, Xander Bogaerts killed the rally by hitting into a double play. Did I mention he’s still just 21?
Of course, Buchholz responded with a rancid top of the second, walking three batters and eventually allowing three runs to cross the plate. The game devolved into a classic Sox-Yankees slug fest from there. Buchholz didn’t even earn the defeat, as the Gardner homer off Craig Breslow (2-3) hung the loss on the lefty while making a winner of Esmil Rogers (1-0), who pitched three innings and rescued the bullpen on a night Phelps could only throw two frames. David Robertson got his 28th save.
On a night like this, you have to take away some positives. Pedroia hit his first home run in six weeks. Ortiz went yard for the 26th time this season. And Christian Vazquez reached base all four times he came to the plate (two hits, two walks).
The Red Sox head to St. Louis for a World Series rematch with the Cardinals in a series that starts Tuesday. John Lackey is not scheduled to pitch against his old team.