It’s always nice to take the first game of an interdivisional series on the road, even against a team that’s currently in last place (sorry, Jerry). The Yankees were able to do just that last night against the hated Red Sox in Beantown, as they piled on the runs and won 9-3 in the first game of what is to be a three game set at Fenway. The Yankees got a lot of offense and some good pitching and defense, so let’s talk about the particulars, shall we?
The Yankees were able to give Masahiro Tanaka (more on him later) before he even stepped onto the mound, which is always a nice gift to receive when you’re pitching on the road and in front of a hostile crowd. Jacoby Ellsbury, making his return to Fenway for the first time as a Yankee, led off with a controversial triple. Ellsbury, who received a good mix of boos and cheers on his way to the plate (the Red Sox, and their fans, would later honor him with a video package in between innings), hit a fly ball that came within a couple of feet of being a leadoff homer. Some Jabroni in a Bruins jacket (wrong game, bro) almost fell like 20 feet onto the field while interfering, and Ellsbury was awarded a triple. Derek Jeter followed with a single and moved to scoring position on a passed ball before eventually scoring on a Carlos Beltran single. Just like that, Tanaka had a 2-0 lead. The Yankees would tack on 2 more runs in the third inning too, staking Tanaka with a comfortable lead.
The offense kept rolling along throughout this game. Twice, Red Sox starter Jon Lester was bailed out by hard hit double plays, or it could have been a lot uglier. That being said, it was pretty ugly. I’ve never seen the Yankees knock Lester around like they did last night. Everything was hit hard, and everyone took a lot of pitches, leading to a long but short night for Lester. He only made it through 4.2 innings, allowing 11 hits and 4 walks. A big Mike Napoli error allowed Lester to escape with only 3 earned runs out of the 8 total runs he allowed, and he needed 118 pitches on the night. After having him on the ropes all night long, they finally knocked Lester out of the game, scoring 4 runs with 2 outs after that Napoli error.
The lesser story of this game, but a still very important one, was the pitching of Tanaka. It was apparent that he did not have his best stuff tonight, but he battled through it. He left some pitches up all night, which led to back-to-back homers for David Ortiz and Napoli in the fourth and a couple of doubles for sox hitters. That being said, he never truly broke, and ended up pitching 7.1 innings and only allowing those 2 runs on 7 hits. Again, Masahiro didn’t walk anyone, and now his strikeout/walk ratio sits at an incredible 35/2. When you don’t have your best stuff, in Fenway park, and still manage to get into the 8th inning, you’re an ace. It’s that simple. Yankees win.
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