Five days after Clay Buchholz and Chien-Ming Wang battled it out at Fenway Park in a very well pitched contest, the two dueled once again last night at Yankee Stadium in the first of a two game series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. This time around, the results were a little bit different for the two starting pitchers in a match up that featured three ties and five lead changes, ultimately with the Yankees coming out on top 15-9.
Wang allowed 9 hits and 8 earned runs while walking 3 batters over 4+ innings of work. Buchholtz wasn’t much better allowing 8 hits and 7 earned runs with 1 walk over 3 2/3 innings before getting yanked from the hill. Neither pitcher figured into the decision.
Manny Ramirez started the scoring off for Boston with an RBI double in the top of the 1st inning. The NY line up then got to the Sox rookie hurler early, scoring 3 runs in the first, the big blow on a two-run homer by Bobby Abreu. Alex Rodriguez was the next batter and also took Buchholtz deep for back-to-back bombs, and this shot had some meaning. It was A-Rod’s number 522nd career homerun which surpasses Ted Williams and Willie McCovey’s for the 15th spot on the all-time homerun list. Rodriguez is only 32 years old.
The Sox would tack on runs in the 2nd and 4th inning to tie the score at 3-3, but the Yankees bats came to life again in the bottom of the 4th chasing Buchholtz from the game. New York would send all 9 batters in their line-up to the plate and score 4 times on 4 base hits to take a 7-3 lead.
Boston’s big inning would shortly follow in the top of the 5th when they sent 11 batters to the plate and scored 6 runs on 7 hits. Wang started the inning for the Yankees but did not record an out and was relieved by Ross Ohlendorf who came in with the bases loaded and no outs. Ohlendorf would allow all 3 of Wang’s inherited runners to score, as well as one of his own before retiring the Sox in the inning. All three of the outs came in the form of a strike out but the Sox were now on top 9-7.
The Yankees wasted no time to strike again scoring 4 more runs in the bottom of the 4th inning off of relief pitcher Julian Tavarez, taking the lead for good 11-9. Their bats would stir one more time in the 8th when they’d put the game out of reach with yet another 4 run inning, this time off of Sox reliever Mike Timlin who has been awful in the early goings of the 2008 season. His ERA after last night is currently at 27.00. Every Yankee starter had a hit as they stretched their winning streak to three for the first time this season and in doing so, stopped Boston’s winning streak at four games.
“Last year we were remarkably consistent,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “This year we’re winning games, but they were hard games to win.”
DH Jorge Posada had a nice night for the Yankees belting 2 hits and collecting 3 RBI’s. While Posada continues to DH and not catch because of a sore right shoulder, his replacement Chad Moeller also had a great night going 3-4 at the plate, scoring a run, knocking in an RBI and reaching base with a walk.
The Red Sox received another solid performance from RF J.D. Drew who went 3-5 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI’s. Drew is hitting .349 on the year and has been the most consistent everyday player in the Sox lineup through 16 games. LF Manny Ramirez also had a nice night going 3-4 with a run, walk and RBI. DH David Ortiz hit safely for the third straight game, the first time all year he’s hit in three consecutive contests.
Josh Beckett will take the ball for the Red Sox tonight, hoping to split the two game series in NY. He’ll be going up against veteran hurler Mike Mussina who suffered a loss to the Sox when the two saw each other this past weekend at Fenway Park. Beckett hopes that a venue change will not impede his progress towards another Red Sox victory, game time is at 7:05pm. The Sox will then return to Boston on Friday for a four game series against the Texas Rangers followed by a three game series vs. the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Great seats are still available for these weekend games, including Marathon Monday (Patriots Day).