It’s cold comfort, but it was certainly the case on Saturday at Fenway Park as the New York Yankees followed up their Friday night loss to the Sox by recording a 5-2 victory in the second game of the three-game stand.
With the Tampa Bay Rays edging Toronto 4-3 earlier in the day, Boston's lead in the American League East shrunk to 1.5 games, while the Yankees now sit six games back of Boston in fourth place.
John Lackey took the loss in Boston's
5-2 loss to New York Saturday (Getty Images)
John Lackey took the loss, going six-plus innings and giving up four runs on 10 hits while striking out seven to even his season record at 7-7 and raise his ERA to 2.95. Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, meanwhile, moved to 9-6 on the year after dishing up only five hits and two runs in seven frames of work to lower his ERA to 2.65.
Coming back to bite the Sox was Lyle Overbay, who was signed by Boston to a minor-league contract in January, released by the Sox in March and immediately signed by New York. Overbay — who is hitting .259 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI — went 3 for 4 at the plate with two doubles and an RBI, while Robinson Cano drove in another two for the Yankees.
Mariano Rivera, on his farewell season tour, got a rare standing ovation from the Fenway faithful when he came into the game in the ninth inning to the strains of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. The Sox didn’t heed the audio cue, however, and Rivera forced David Ortiz to pop up before striking out Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to earn his 31st save of the season and No. 639 of his career.
On their end, the Sox mustered only seven hits — and just one for extra bases when Mike Carp, who went 3 for 4 on the day and scored a run, doubled in the seventh. Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Saltalamacchia all went 0 for 4 at the plate, with Salty striking out swinging three times. Daniel Nava and Carp were also both tagged out trying to score from third by catcher Chris Stewart.
Pick your cliché: You can’t win ‘em all. It’s a long season. Tomorrow’s a new day.
Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:
1) Dirty dish: Instead of giving the Red Sox a 1-0 early lead, Nava was thrown out at home by left fielder Vernon Wells trying to score in the first inning when David Ortiz singled with two out.
2) You Ca-no It: With a 2-0 lead in the seventh, Cano singled off reliever Matt Thornton to left, driving in Luis Cruz for a three-run advantage and advancing Ichiro Suzuki — who would later touch the plate for New York's fourth run of the game — to second base.
3) Wild Child: With Stephen Drew batting and the Sox down 4-1 in the seventh inning, Kuroda unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Carp to trot home from third and cut Boston’s deficit in half.
4) The Chris Cross: Down 4-2 in the eighth with only one out and Nava on first, Pedroia popped up behind the plate to catcher Chris Stewart, who alertly spun and gunned the ball to second to catch Nava tagging up and trying to advance and a would-be rally was stymied in rapid-fire fashion.
It was announced before the game that Ryan Dempster will get the start Sunday night in the rubber match of the series instead of Jon Lester, who was originally slated to face CC Sabathia but will now be pushed back to Tuesday to get extra rest and combat “general wear and tear”, according to manager John Farrell.
“We felt like two things,” said Farrell. “One, we have an opportunity right now to give him a couple extra days rest coming out of the break, and two, he’ll benefit from it.”