The Yankees eight game winning streak ended last night in Boston, as the Red Sox avoided a three-game sweep, by pounding out 15 hits in a, 9-2, rout of the Bronx Bombers.
It would only be a tea party for two, as the Yankees still had a very successful visit to Boston this weekend, winning the first two games, 1-0, and, 10-3, to remain in a virtual three-way tie, with the Red Sox and Rays, for first place in the AL EAST.
Sidney Ponson, (L, 6-2), had nothing tonight, in this his fifth start as a member of the New York Yankees. He delivered 77 pitches to the Sox batters, that resulted in seven runs, on ten hits, and one walk, with only one strikeout, in a very ineffective four innings of work.
It looked like Ponson was throwing batting practice in the first four innings, as the Red Sox quickly put this game of reach, taking a, 7-0, lead into the top of the 5th.
Dustin Pedroia led off the game with a single. He was forced at second on a fielders choice, as the next batter, Kevin Youkilis was safe a first. David Ortiz then singled, to set-up a first and third situation for clean-up hitter, Manny Ramirez.
There has been much controversy surrounding Ramirez over the last few days. But, then again, isn’t there always some sort of drama concerning Manny. He didn’t play in the first game of this series because of some “knee” problems; and, before this game, he basically told the Red Sox that he wouldn’t mind being traded out of Boston. It has been reported that Ramirez is looking for a new four-year deal, at $25 Million per season, as he is not satisfied with the $20 Million he is now making. All of us should have that much disrespect shown in our direction – $20 Million, plus – of disrespect.
It is really amazing to try and figure out how the Red Sox management, players, and fans put up with all of Manny’s childish bahavior. It is all “nonsense”.
But, they all “do” put up with it, especially, when Manny is hitting, and driving in runs for the Sox. They all cheer, and say, oh well, it’s just “Manny being Manny”. Oh, well, it’s their problem, not ours.
On the field, though, Manny Ramirez is a great hitter, and he doubled in the first run of the game, scoring Youkilis from third.
Mike Lowell was the next batter up, and he stroked a two-RBI single, that drove home David Ortiz, and, also, Manny Ramirez, who was just being “Manny” again when he ran through the stop sign by third base coach, DeMarlo Hale. The crowd cheered, the Sox players were all happy, giving high-fives in the dugout, and I’ m sure the Boston managemaent were all feeling pretty good that Manny’s reckless base-running gave the Red Sox a, 3-0 lead.
Just, “Manny being Manny”, is all. I guess on a night like this, they can all live with the antics of a very selfish ballplayer.
The Red Sox scored their fourth run in the 2nd; and, after hitting a one-out double in the bottom of the third, Manny Ramirez, (3-for-5), with two doubles, two runs scored, and two RBI’s on the night, scored on a RBI double by Jason Veritek, to move Boton’s lead to, 5-0.
Then, to finish the power surge against Sidney Ponson, Dustin Pedroa hit a double with one out in the 4th, which was followed by a long two-run homerun into the rifgt-field seats, by David Ortiz, after Ponson got Youkilis out on a grounder to short.
After the Ortiz homer, Manny was up [again] for the third time in the game. With two outs, Ramirez hit a long shot, deep into the right-centerfield corner that looked like it would be another double for Manny. But, Melky Cabrera raced far to his left, and back to the wall, where he made another outstanding running catch in this series, robbing Ramirez of the hit. Manny just stood there, somewhere between first and home smiling as he watched Cabrera jog off the field. Ramirez was probably also thinking about the great over-the-wall catch Melky made at the Stadium last year, that robbed Manny of a homerun. All I was thinking was, it was just “Melky being Melky”.
That inning ended the night for Sidney Ponson, as Boston now had a very comfortable, 7-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Red Sox starter, Jon Lester, (W, 9-3), was pitching okay over the first four innings, scattering five hits, while striking-out four.
In the top of the 5th, the Yankees had their best chance to make a dent in the, 7-0, Boston lead, and possibly put together a “big” inning that would move the Yankees closer to their goal of sweeping this very important three-game series.
Three straight singles by, Cabrera, Molina, and Damon, loaded the bases with no outs, with Derek Jeter coming up to the plate. Jeter hit a ball the traveled right along the third base line, all the way to third, that stayed fair. Mike Lowell waited until the last second to pick-up the ball, in front of third base, but the slow rolling grounder went for a single, that scored Melky Cabrera to finally put a run up on the board for the Yankees.
With the bases still loaded, Bobby Abreu walked, to force home another run, making the score, 7-2.
This was the key moment of the game for the Yankees, as they now had a chance to break this game wide open, with Alex Rodriguez up at the plate, with the bases loaded, and no outs.
A-Rod hit a “semi-hard” line drive to third, that Lowell easiely caught for the first out in the inning. Then, Xavier Nady, (0-for-4), hit a fly ball to center that was caught by Jacoby Ellsbury, for out number two. On this fly-out, it looked like it was deep enough to score Johnny Damon from third, but for some reason Damon did not want to challenge the weak throwing arm of Ellsbury. Damon may still be hurting from a cramp he got in his leg on his final at-bat in Saturday’s game.
The Yanks still had a chance to score a couple of runs in the 5th, as hot-hitting, Robinson Cano was the next batter up. It would not be, though, as Cano, (0-4), hit an easy come-backer to the mound that Lester threw to first to record the final out of the inning.
That was it for the Yankees in this game, as they did not pose another threat to score against Lester, who pitched seven good innings, allowing the two runs, on 9 hits, one walk, while striking-out eight. The Bombers also could not get anything going against the Red Sox bullpen, either, as Manny Delcarmen, [in the 8th], and Mike Timlim, [in the 9th], both pitched scoreless innings, to close out the, 9-2, Boston victory.
Dan Giese replaced Ponson in the bottom of the 5th, and gave the Yankees four solid innings of relief out of the bullpen.
But, the Red Sox did score two more runs in the 6th, off Giese, on a sac fly by David Ortiz, (2-for-4), with two runs scored, and three RBI’s, in ths game; and, a RBI single by Manny Ramirez, that completed the scoring in this game.
This was a disappointing loss for the Yankees, as a sweep would have really sent a firm message to the Red Sox, and Rays [who split their four-game weekend series against the K.C. Royals], that the Yankees machine was rolling along at full-speed ahead, with first place clearly in sight. The 9-2 loss slows the Yankee train, just a bit, but it was a great run – an eight game winning streak, including, two wins out of three games vs. Boston – and, overall, a very big weekend for the Yanks.
As Joe Girardi said after the game, “We had a good series, but we could have had a great series”. He added, “You put this game behind you; and, talk about winning the first game of a series, and winning series”.
It should be fun watching this pennant race as we head into August and September; and, in the end, it’s all about October Baseball which is where the Yankees are on track to travel to.
So, we come to an end of another great series of games in this rivalry, between the Yankees and Red Sox. As I have said before, “it doesn’t get any better than this “.
Yankees vs. Red Sox: “A Season Within A Season” !!!