At a chilly Fenway Park (44 degrees at game time), the Yankees came to town for a three game set. CC Sabathia (0-4, 5.96) took the ball for the first place Yankees and Justin Masterson (2-0, 5.16) toed the rubber for the second place Carmine Hose. A combination of bad bounces and a late pinch hit home run doomed the Red Sox on this night.
The Yankees started fast. Jacoby Ellsbury singled to right field to open the game. With one out the slumping (one for 15) Mark Teixeira walked on four pitches. Masterson recorded the second out, but Carlos Beltran doubled with two outs to put the Yankees on the board, 1-0.
In the fourth inning after striking out on three pitches in his first at-bat, the four for 35 Allen Craig lofted a fly ball to left that would have been an out in most other parks but managed to eke over the Monster for Craig’s first home run of the season.
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Bogaerts followed with a four pitch walk and Ryan Hanigan dropped a flare of a double that should have scored Bogaerts but an unaware fan touched the ball which stopped the runner at third for a fan interference ground rule double. Betts was retired to end the inning without any further scoring. In the fifth the Red Sox again suffered from bad luck as Mike Napoli doubled with two outs which would have easily scored Hanley Ramirez, but the ball hopped over the low right field fence in the right-center field gap. This time Pablo Sandoval wasn’t able to drive the runs home and the scored stayed 2-1.
The Yankees squandered opportunities as well. Masterson wriggled out of a second and third one out problem in the fourth inning with a strikeout and a groundout. After Masterson’s wildness (another walk to Teixeira and a hit by pitch) created a bases loaded two out jam in the fifth, Beltran was not able to cash in again, grounding out routinely to second to end the inning.
One batter into the seventh inning, Manager John Farrell yanked Masterson from the game after a 3-2 walk to ninth place hitter Didi Gregorius to lead off the inning. Tommy Layne entered to record two outs before hitting Teixeira (batting right handed) with an 0-2 pitch which then deflected off Hanigan’s right hand causing the catcher to leave the game, sending Gregorius to second. Brian McCann flared a single into left field that Ramirez played in his usual tentative way, allowing Gregorius to score to tie the game at two. After the game Hanigan was revealed to have a fractured hand which will keep him out an extended period of time.
Alex Rodriguez had the big hit of the night. On a 3-0 pitch from Junichi Tazawa, hit a line drive pinch hit home run into the Monster seats, to give the Yankees the lead 3-2. Rodriguez’ home run was his 660th, tying him with Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list, triggering a $6 million bonus. The Red Sox were able to put two runners on against Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, but Holt and Bogaerts struck out to end the eighth inning. Andrew Miller easily dispatched the Red Sox in the bottom of the ninth, to secure the victory.
The Betances/Miller combination has yet to allow an earned run for the Yankees this season.
Aside from Craig’s home run, his other two at-bats were two strikeouts looking. Holt’s strikeout was pinch hitting for him in the eighth inning. Craig’s batting average now stands at .135
Rodriguez’ pinch home run was the first of his career.
Star prospect Blake Swihart, the only other catcher on the 40 man roster, will be called up to take Hanigan’s place.
Though he flirted with disaster all game, Masterson left with the lead. Layne permitted the tying hit which denied Masterson the win. Six innings in which he allowed six hits and three walks and only two runs has to be considered progress for Masterson. His ERA dropped to 4.71, which makes him the leader of the starting rotation.
Though he allowed two walks, Ross is the only reliever who did not permit a run to score during his outing. Tazawa suffered his first loss of the season, allowing the home run. Layne’s hitting of Teixeira with two outs on an 0-2 pitch extending the inning, leading to the game being tied.
Bogaerts scored a run and would have scored a second if not for the fan reaching out for the ball causing a ground rule double which held him at third base. He might have done more damage, but missed a hanger from Sabathia that he should have hammered. The team had eight hits and two walks but only managed two runs, one on a solo homer, and were zero for six with runners in scoring position.