Bronx, NY—The Red Sox evened the four game series with the Yankees at one each as two homers in the sixth inning off Yankee starter CC Sabathia gave the visitors enough runs to ensure their victory.
Sabathia was extremely effective during the first five innings, giving up one hit, a double by catcher David Ross in the third and walking two batters. During that period, the lefty fanned six to tie Roger Clemens for 12th place in strikeouts as a Yankee pitcher.
Manager Joe Girardi was pleased with the work of the man considered the ace of the Yankee staff, “I thought he [Sabathia] threw the ball pretty well. He’s run into a little bit of bad luck.”
The bad luck or careless pitching came in the sixth frame. The second pitch Sabathia threw was hit by Jonny Gomes into the seats in left field to knot the score at one. With one out, David Ortiz checked his swing on a 0-2 pitch, but the ball dribbled into the infield for a base hit. The unlikely hit unnerved the veteran pitcher sufficiently for him to lose his focus.
Mike Napoli then singled and Grady Sizemore, a close friend of the Yankee pitcher, took a hanging slider into the right field stands for a three run homer. Girardi believed only one bad pitch cost Sabathia a victory, “It was just one pitch. I thought he left the slider up to Sizemore.”
The losing hurler for the Yankees blamed the difficult inning on his loss of concentration after the hit by Ortiz, “It’s frustrating. I let them [my emotions] get the best of me tonight. I just can’t let this stuff happen. I haven’t been able to put a whole game together.”
The Boston starter, Jon Lester, spoke respectfully and realistically of Sabathia’s performance, “You know it’s always going to be tough against CC. He was on point and made a couple of mistakes. Fortunately, we made him pay for it.”
Lester only gave up one run in the first six innings, also caused by one pitch. Alfonso Soriano connected on a fastball to lead off the second and drove the ball into the seats in left for his 408th home run.
A two out single in the seventh by Ichiro Suzuki, a walk to Brian Roberts and a single by Kelly Johnson drove in the only other run for the Yanks. The hit was only the first by Johnson off Lester in 15 at bats. Notwithstanding the hit, Johnson was full of praise for Lester, “Lester was great. That was typical Lester. He’s one of the toughest in the game.”
Girardi was in agreement, “When you’re facing an ace [Lester], you don’t score a lot of runs.”
The third game of the series will be played on Saturday afternoon with Hiroki Kuroda starting for New York and John Lackey for Boston.