Just when it seemed like the Boston Red Sox bats had gone dormant, they came to life Sunday night in a 15-hit barrage against the New York Yankees in Boston’s 9-2 win. The win prevented New York from sweeping the three game weekend series and leaves Boston two games ahead of the Bronx Bombers in the standings, and one game behind Tampa Bay for the AL East Division lead.
In Friday night’s game, New York received a near flawless pitching performance by rookie Joba Chamberlain. In seven innings of work, Chamberlin allowed only 3 hits while striking out nine Red Sox batters and surrendered no runs. Mariano Rivera worked the final five outs to preserve New York’s 1-0 win. Their lone run off of Josh Beckett came in the 4th inning on an RBI infield single from Jason Giambi.
“I’ve had quality starts against everybody,” Chamberlain said. “You understand it’s going to be a tough game. He (Beckett) is an unbelievable pitcher. He battles and claws.”
Saturday in a pitching match up between two veterans it was Andy Pettitte and the Yankees who got the upper hand of Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball in New York’s 10-3 win. Boston jumped out early and grabbed a pair of runs in the first inning on an RBI single by David Ortiz followed by a Manny Ramirez RBI ground out. After that, it was pretty much all New York.
The Yankees connected for 13 hits total, eight off of Wakefield in his 5 1/3 innings of work. Heading into the 6th inning and the score still close at 3-2 NY, Wakefield struggled to get outs, the Yanks put four more runs on the board and knocked him out of the game. The win was Pettitte’s 12th on the season and the Yankees were 8-0 in eight games after the All Star break.
“Our pitching has been really good all year,” manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s what’s kept us afloat. And now we’re starting to hit better. We’re starting to score runs. It’s a good combination to have.”
After falling twice, the Sox sent Jon Lester to the mound to try and stop the bleeding and that he did. Once again, the young southpaw was able to pick up a victory by tossing seven innings and allowing only two earned runs on nine hits while striking out eight batters along the way.
“Luckily, we get some runs early and I held it.” Lester said. “It definitely felt like a different atmosphere in the dugout tonight. Guys were laughing, having fun, seemed like they were going up to the plate more relaxed.”
The Sox were able to score three runs in the first, a run in the second and third inning and then two more runs in the fourth which came on Ortiz’s first homerun since returning from his wrist injury. On the series, Ortiz went 5-12 with a HR and four RBI’s.
Manny Ramirez also had a stellar game going 3-5 at the plate with two RBI’s and two runs scored. This came after he made a few typical Manny-esk remarks before the game began that created a little buzz in the media room, but did not really surprise anyone. In the past, the eight year Sox veteran has demanded trades during the 2005 and 2006 off-season. Ramirez originally told ESPNdeportes.com on Sunday that he wouldn’t object to a trade if the Red Sox are better without him.
Later, in the clubhouse, he said, “What I said was, if the Red Sox think they can find a trade that’s going to make their team better and both sides are going to be happy, I’m going to agree. But they cannot find a trade. It’s something simple. It’s no big deal.”
Mike Lowell may have put it best when after the game he said, “Manny says a lot of things. Some of them are entertaining. Some of them make you roll your eyes and spin your head. But it seems like every time after he says something he goes 3-for-4 so maybe we should encourage him to say something like that.”
Ramirez’s RBI double in the first inning gave him 1,668 on his career and puts him in the 23rd spot for all-time, surpassing Sammy Sosa whom he had been tied with prior to the game.
Tonight, the Red Sox welcome the Los Angeles Angels to town. The Sox whom boast the best home record in baseball at 37-13 know that the Angels will be another tough test because they come in with the best road record in baseball at 33-19. Back in April the Angels took two of three from Boston so the Sox look to turn the tables on their West Coast foes.
Dice-K Matsuzaka (11-1, 2.85 ERA) looks to pick up his 12th victory on the season and will have to do so against the Angels Jered Weaver (8-8, 4.08 ERA). Weaver is 0-2 lifetime against Boston and in his only outing against them this season pitched five innings and allowed five runs on 10 hits in a game on April 22nd at Fenway.
Matsuzaka has only faced LA once in his short MLB career and allowed three earned runs in only 4 2/3 innings of work last season in Game 2 of the ALDS Playoff series, a game the Sox would win 6-3.
Tickets are still available for the remainder of the Angels series!