The New York Yankees were on the unfortunate side of Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester‘s turning the corner on an otherwise forgetful season. Boston’s ace, has now won back-to-back games after a stretch with no wins in seven starts. He out-dueled David Phelps who was solid in his second effort as a fill-in for injured CC Sabathia.
After allowing a two-out two-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez in the top of the first inning, Phelps kept the Red Sox off the board until the fifth when he allowed a run-scoring double off the bat of Nick Punto, who turned in an excellent effort at third base making multiple defensive plays to rob the Yankees of hits.
Phelps pitched as far into the game as any other in his rookie season. He went 6 2/3 innings allowing three runs on seven hits, no walks and struck out seven. Sabathia had a successful bullpen session yesterday and looks to be ready to come off the disabled list on Friday. If that comes to fruition, then Phelps will return to the bullpen, but he has proven time and again that he can be an effective starter at the Major League level.
While Phelps was doing his part to keep the Yankees close, the offense had a rough day. After hitting five solo homers in their previous game the only run they scored off Lester was on, you guessed it, a solo blast by Curtis Granderson. It was Granderson’s 32nd home run of the season and he later doubled. It marked the second straight game with a home run for Granderson and he may be finding a way out of his slump.
Nick Swisher remained red-hot with three more hits in four at-bats. On the flip side, Derek Jeter‘s hitting streak ended at 13 and Robinson Cano is hitless in his last 14 at-bats. The Yankees were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded a total of six runners.
The Yanks had a chance to spoil Lester’s day at the outset, getting the first two runners on in their half of the first, but he retired the next three batters with two strikeouts finding his rhythm. He held the Yankees at bay other than Granderson’s home run, going seven innings allowing just five hits and two walks, while striking out four. Alfredo Aceves pitched a scoreless ninth for his 25th save.
The Yankees (71-49) had their lead in the American League East reduced to five games over the Tampa Bay Rays who overcame an eight-run deficit against the Los Angeles Angels last night. The Red Sox (59-62) are 12.5 games back of the Yanks and 6.5 games out of the final wild card spot.
Tonight, in the rubber-game, the Yankees trot out Hiroki Kuroda (11-8) who is looking to continue his impressive second half. On the other side, the Red Sox hope that Josh Beckett (5-10, 5.19 ERA) can find himself like Lester has. Beckett, who has been largely inconsistent all season, sports a 10.38 ERA in his last three starts.
Topics: Adrian Gonzalez, Alfredo Aceves, Boston Red Sox, CC Sabathia, Curtis Granderson, David Phelps, Derek Jeter, Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, New York Yankees, Nick Punto, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Yankees