Four Real? Red Sox vs Yankees 7-19-13

Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (right) celebrates with David Ortiz
after his first-inning homer vs. the Yankees Friday night at Fenway Park
(photo Barry Chin/Boston Globe)
Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

It doesn't matter if it’s in-laws, first dates or the second half of the season — you always want to get off on the right foot.

That’s just what the Red Sox did at Fenway Park Friday night in their first game back in action after the All-Star Break, doubling up the Yankees 4-2.

Felix Doubront was steady as she goes once again on the mound, tossing six-plus innings of three-hit ball and surrendering only one earned run while striking out five to lower his ERA to 3.76. He’s now 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA in his last ten starts and has given up more than two earned runs in an outing only twice over that span.

Jonny Gomes went 2 for 4 at the plate with two RBI while Jacoby Ellsbury hit his first homer off a lefthander since 2011, going deep off Andy Pettitte to lead off the game.

The win comes as a bit of a bright spot for Boston after news came down prior to the game that the team will likely lose embattled former closer Andrew Bailey for the rest of the season to a shoulder injury. While it’s bad news for Bailey personally, it could also be considered addition by subtraction for the team as a whole, considering Bailey’s demotion from the closer’s role after a number of erratic outings.

Luckily, freshly minted stopper Koji Uehara came on in the ninth and retired the Yankees one-two-three to earn his ninth save of the season. In 13.1 innings since he took over Bailey's job, Uehara has allowed only one earned run while boasting a 19:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The team also lost Shane Victorino in the fourth inning to that recurring left hamstring injury, with no word as to when the outfielder — who has started in only 59 of Boston’s 98 games this season — will return.

The win boosted Boston's season record to 59-39, still the best in all of baseball, while the Yankees dropped to 51-45 and seven games back of Boston in the American League East. Tampa Bay topped Toronto 8-5 to stay 2.5 games behind the Sox in second place.

Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:

1) In Good Company: In the bottom of the first, Ellsbury takes the second pitch he sees from Pettitte deep to right to notch his fourth round-tripper of the season and his ninth career leadoff homer for the Red Sox — tying him with Dom DiMaggio and Tommy Harper for most in team history.

2) Gomes Parks Pettitte: In the bottom of the second and after Mike Napoli works a 1-2 count into a free pass to first, Gomes takes an off-speed Pettitte changeup and quickly finds an exit in left field, cashing in both runs on his seventh homer of the year and giving the Sox a 3-1 lead.

3) Doubront Breathes Deep, Delivers: After Brett Gardner scored from third on a Jarrod Saltalamacchia throwing error to cut the Yankees’ deficit to 3-1 in the top of the fourth with only one out, Doubront walked Robinson Cano but then redeemed himself by striking out Vernon Wells swinging before getting Zoilo Almonte to ground into a force out at second and escape the inning with the two-run advantage.

4) I’ve Got You, Babe: In the eighth inning with one out, David Ortiz doubled on a fly ball to center for his 506th double — the same number one George Herman Ruth hit over the course of his career. 

Tomorrow the Sox look to build on a second-half surge as John Lackey (7-6, 2.78 ERA) toes the rubber against Hiroki Kuroda (8-6, 2.65 ERA) in the second of the three-game set. First pitch is 4:05 p.m. EST.

Twitter: @jan_doh