Friday, September 13, 2013

Sometimes, baseball can be a cruel game.

On a Friday night on Boston -- Friday the 13th, that is -- the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox opened up their final series of the season at Fenway Park, and it was a game that lived up to everything that  Yankees and Red Sox series is suppose to be.

Boston took a 4-0 lead in the 1st inning off Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, but as you might already know, no lead is safe when it comes to these two teams.

Kuroda settled into end up pitching six-plus innings without giving up another run outside of the 1st, permitting four runs on eight hits, while mixing in a pair a strike outs on 101 pitches.

As the game rolled on a homerun by Brendan Ryan, sac-fly by Lyle Overbay, and a two-run double by Robinson Cano in the top of the 7th brought the Yankees all the way back to tie the game.

But in the end, the Yankees' bullpen couldn't keep them in the game, giving up four-runs in the 7th inning to pave the way for the Red Sox to take the first game of the series, 8-4.

What it means: For starters, the bullpen failed to do it's job once again. With a win by the Tampa Bay Rays tonight, the Yankees will fall back to two-games behind Tamp for the second Wild Card spot. As well as the Yanks have been playing lately, they just can't catch a break when it comes to playing the Red So, who appear to be possibly the best team in the American League.

Salty grand salami: Boston loaded the bases to start the home half of the 7th inning, and with Preston Claiborne in the mound -- normally good, but not so much of late -- and the four-run lead the Red Sox had early in the game came right back to them when Jarrod Saltalamacchia blasted a grand slam beyond the bullpens in right field to put the Sox up 8-4.

No so good start: With the bullpen as fatigued as it is, Yankees manager Joe Girardi needed Kuroda to put the team on his back, while keeping the bullpen out of the game. Unfortunately for Girardi, Kuroda took the mound in the first inning and started off the game in no way the Yankees or Kuroda was hoping for.

Kuroda took the mound in the bottom of the first and didn't get out of the inning until after the Red Sox had already tagged him for four-runs on four-hits and a walk over 33 pitches -- signalling the bullpen might get a lot of work done.

Dustin Pedroia singled to start the inning, then David Ortiz double to left field a couple batters later. Mike Carp followed with a groundout to score Pedroia, and then single by Daniel Nava scored Ortiz. Kuroda walked Saltalamacchia and then served up a double to Stephen Drew to put the Sox up 4-0.

Settling in: Somehow, Kuroda managed to turn things around after the first inning, pitching a complete 180 on the mound, keeping the Red Sox off the board in the next five innings. He went on to give up just three hits after the 1st inning, while also retiring the Red Sox in order in the 4th and 6th innings.

Bunt double: With one-out in the first inning, the Red Sox put on a shift for Robinson Cano at the plate. Cano dropped down a bunt, and as it rolled towards nobody at third base, Cano put together some heads up basing running and trotted into second with a bunt double.

Ryan's Hope: Ryan, playing in just this third game with the Yankees, hit a solo homerun off John Lackey in the top of the 3rd inning to put the Yanks on the board, 4-1. It was his 1st homerun of the Bombers, and only his 4th this season between the Seattle Mariners and Yanks -- a new career high.

How'd he catch that? The Yankees set up with runners on the corners and only one away in the 6th inning against Lackey after Cano doubled and Alfonso Soriano singled. Overbay came up and shot a ball into the right-center field gap that Shane Victorino, somehow, chased down to make the catch for the second out, all while Cano tagged and scored from third to cut Boston's lead to 4-2.

Adding the zero's: Cano was fantastic in this game. He was quite the stud on defense, making a couple nice plays, including a running, over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right field to end the 6th inning. At the plate, he was as good as advertised, collecting four hits, three of which were doubles, one of which was the bunt double, including the two-run double to tie the game in the 7th.

Up next: These two teams continue this important series tomorrow for a Saturday matinee on FOX, as a pair of lefties, CC Sabathia (13-12, 4.82 ERA) and Jon Lester (13-8, 3.86 ERA) square off in the second game of the three-game set. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm EST.

Follow @GavinEwbank2013 on Twitter for more Bombers talk.


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