Masahiro Tanaka and Jon Lester were matching each other pitch for pitch, until Tanaka made a mistake to Mike Napoli with two outs in the of the 9th, and Napoli capitalized, sending that mistake just inches over the right field wall in Yankee Stadium, as the Boston Red Sox defeated the Yankees, 2-1, on Saturday night in the Bronx.
The Red Sox scored both of their runs on homeruns. The first coming in the 3rd inning when David Ross hit 1-0 pitch from Tanaka into the left field seats, putting Boston on the board.
Up until the 9th inning, that was the only real blemish on Tanaka's pitching line throughout the night, as pitched all nine innings, giving up two runs on seven hits with a walk and eight strikeouts on 116 pitches. The second mistake was easily the biggest of the night. Up 1-2 in the count to Napoli, Tanaka decided against breaking out the splitter, opting for the fastball, which the threw up in the zone, but not up enough for Napoli's bat to miss it, putting the Sox up 2-1.
If there is anything that has hurt Tanaka the most this season, it's been giving up homeruns, which he does all too often, especially in Yankee Stadium, where his last three starts have been.
The worst part of the night was the fact that the Yankees' offense did very little to backup Tanaka, who was doing everything he could to get the win. The Yankees' only run of the night against Lester, who tossed eight innings of one-run ball on five hits, two walks and six strikeouts, was in the bottom half of the 3rd inning thanks to some small ball.
Brian Roberts reached base on an error by Stephen Drew. Yangervis Solarte was hit to put runners in first and second with nobody out. Brett Gardner laid down a bunt to move the runners over, then Derek Jeter hit groundball to Drew at short that scored Roberts, while Jeter was out at first base.
Other than that, nothing. Jacoby Ellsbury collected a pair of hits. Jeter picked up another hit after getting two on Friday night. Gardner singled, walked and was caught stealing for the third time this season. And Roberts had the other of the Yankees' five hits. Yes, Lester was good, but this was just another poor showing by the Yankees' very weak lineup.
After splitting the first two games of this series -- which have both played out just under three hours, by the way -- the Yanks and Sox will look to take the rubber match of this three-game set on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball at 8 pm. Chase Whitley and John Lackey will be on the mound for their respective teams.