Four Real? Red Sox vs Yankees 9-8-13

Will Middlebrooks tied the game with a homer off Mariano Rivera in
the ninth, but Boston still fell 4-3 to New York Sunday (Getty Images)

Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

The recent flood of Red Sox runs was bound to dry up at some point.  

The spigot was shut for the Red Sox on Sunday as Boston fell 4-3 to the Yankees in the finale of the four-game weekend series in the Bronx.

After posting a gaudy 54 runs and 64 hits, 13 doubles, 17 home runs and a .386 average in the past four games, the Sox only managed nine hits and four runs in Game Four, giving up the win when Brandon Workman uncorked a wild pitch in the ninth.

The last-gasp win for the Yankees instantly turned storied closer Mariano Rivera from goat to hero, making him the winner only a half-inning removed from blowing the potential save by giving up a game-tying home run to Will Middlebrooks.

Rivera worked the final two innings and struck out three, while Workman was saddled with the loss and slipped to 5-3 on the year after only working two-thirds of an inning.

Neither of the starters would figure in this one: Jon Lester went eight innings for Boston and gave up three runs on 10 hits while striking out six, and Hiroki Kuroda allowed two runs on five hits while walking two and striking out six in six frames.

Daniel Nava, David Ortiz, Mike Carp and Middlebrooks all recorded two-hit days at the dish, with Carp, Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia — who returned to the lineup after sitting out the past few days with a lower back injury — drove in Boston’s three runs.

Robinson Cano was the difference-maker for the Yankees, ripping a two-run double off Lester in the fifth with two out to put the Yankees on top 3-1.

Had the Red Sox held on to win, it would have marked the first four-game sweep of the Yankees by Boston since 1990. The Red Sox still hold the edge in the season series 10-6 and will host the Yankees for one final series this Friday through Sunday at Fenway.

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

1) Reynolds Rap: With Alex Rodriguez on first in the fourth inning and the Red Sox holding a 1-0 lead, Mark Reynolds doubled over the head of Jackie Bradley, Jr. in center deep enough to allow Rodridguez to race home and tie the game. 

2) Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood: With two out in the fifth, Robinson Cano put the Yankees up 3-1 when he doubled to left to drive in Chris Stewart and Ichiro Suzuki.

3) Blown In The Wind: With the Sox down 3-2 in the ninth, Middlebrooks took the third cutter he saw off Mariano Rivera for a ride out to the right-field seats, tying up the game and shouldering Rivera with his seventh blown save of the season and second in the four-game series versus Boston.

4) Wild, Child: The game came to an abrupt end in the ninth inning when, with two men out, Workman unleashed a wild pitch to Alfonso Soriano that got past Saltalamacchia and allowed Ichiro Suzuki to sprint home from third with the winning run.

The loss, combined with Tampa Bay’s 4-1 win over Seattle, cuts Boston’s lead in the American League East Division to 7.5 games over the Rays, who will host the 87-58 Red Sox for a key, three-game set at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg this week.

The Red Sox enjoy an off-day Monday before the series kicks off Tuesday with the Rays sending David Price (8-7, 3.51 ERA) to the hill to take on Clay Buchholz (9-0, 1.71 ERA), who is set to return to the rotation for the first time early June, when he hit the disabled list with neck and shoulder issues. 

Twitter: @jan_doh