Xander Bogaerts hit his first major-league homer Saturday as the Sox
topped the Yankees 13-9 in the Bronx (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
It’s quickly becoming apparent that the students in the Red Sox dugout this semester have declared their major in hitting.
But they’re also getting a minor in chemistry.
The Red Sox rolled out a new-look lineup on Saturday at Yankee Stadium, sporting fresh faces in Xander Bogaerts, Ryan Lavarnway and Jackie Bradley, Jr., but it doesn’t seem to matter which player manager John Farrell scribbles on the card lately.
These guys — the whole lot of ‘em — are straight-A caliber.
The Sox cracked the double-digit mark in runs for the second day in a row, holding off a pair of late New York rallies to take the third matchup of the four-game series in the Bronx by a final of 13-9.
Boston has now scored 54 runs and hit 17 homers in the past four games, and with the win took a 10-5 lead in the season series against the Bronx crew and cut the Yankees’ elimination number to nine.
Bogaerts covered shortstop for Stephen Drew, who enjoyed a day off, Lavarnway called the balls and strikes in place of Jarrod Saltalamacchia — who is still resting a lower back injury — and Bradley, Jr. patrolled center for Jacoby Ellsbury, who underwent tests back in Boston on his right foot and may be out of the lineup for an extended period after aggravating an injury while stealing a base Thursday night.
Combined, the new additions went 4 for 13 at the plate and accounted for 4 RBI and five runs for Boston, while Mike Napoli hit a pair of homers and drove in three and Jonny Gomes was 3 for 4 with four RBI.
Boston starter John Lackey finally got the run support he'd been lacking in recent starts. Lackey went 5.2 innings and was charged with seven runs on eight hits while walking three and striking out six and Matt Thornton, Drake Britton, Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow came on in relief, combining to allow two runs on four hits and two walks the rest of the way.
Yankees starter David Huff only made it 3.1 innings and allowed nine runs on eight hits, while reliever Jim Miller gave up another three runs on three hits and walked one in 1.1 innings of work.
Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:
1) Mr. September: After David Ortiz doubled to start the second, Napoli went yard for the third time in his last four games, ripping a Huff fastball deep to left field to get the Red Sox out to an early 2-0 lead. Over the course of his career, Napoli has a .305 average with 37 homers, 85 RBI and a 1.041 OPS in the month of September.
2) Jonny On The Spot: After Bogaerts led off with a standup double in the third inning and Shane Victorino was again hit by a pitch — something he’s had happen 13 times since Aug. 4 — Jonny Gomes lifted the first pitch he saw from Huff into the stands in left to put Boston up 5-1.
3) Dirty Dozen: With only one out in the fourth and Lavarnway at third, Victorino ripped a double to left to cash him in to lift the Sox to an 8-2 lead. It was the Flyin’ Hawaiian’s 12th RBI in 11 games against the Yankees this season.
4) Feels Like The First Time: With two out and one on in the fifth, Bogaerts stroked a pitch deep to left over the visitors’ bullpen to notch homer No. 1 of his big-league career and give the Sox a 12-3 lead.
With the win, the Red Sox improve to 30 games over .500 (87-57) and take a temporary eight-game advantage in the American League East Division standings over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays, who play the Mariners in Seattle later Saturday.
Tomorrow, the Sox send lefty Jon Lester (13-8, 3.88 ERA) to the hill as they aim for the four-game series sweep against Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.99 ERA). First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. EST.