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After waiting five hours and 33 minutes we finally saw some offense. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, it was off the bat of Alex Rodriguez as Boston continues to get burned by third basemen via the walk off home run in extra innings. You might remember Evan Longoria hitting a home run to beat the Red Sox just three nights ago.
In probably the most important game of the season-to-date, the Red Sox failed to score a run and fell to the Yankees 2-0 to fall 4 ½ games behind in the AL East division race, and now only lead the Rangers by one game in the Wild Card standings.
Both teams struggled offensively as they combined for 13 hits in the 15 innings, ultimately ending when Rodriguez blasted a two-run home run over the left field wall off rookie pitcher Junichi Tazawa to give the Yankees the win. Tazawa was pitching in his major league debut after being called up to replace recently demoted starter John Smoltz.
Starting pitchers Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett set the tone early as both pitched brilliant baseball. The emotionally charged Beckett let up four hits and two walks while striking out seven batters in seven innings while Burnett let up one hit and six walks with six strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. The closest any team came to scoring in regulation was in the bottom of the 5th when Derek Jeter softly grounded out to Kevin Youkilis with the bases loaded. Rookie reliever Daniel Bard had a big strikeout against Jorge Posada in the bottom on the ninth with runners on the second and third with two outs.
Both bullpens came up big in extras as they allowed just six combined hits. Boston’s bullpen was helped by its defense in the bottom of the 14th inning as J.D. Drew made a spectacular catch off the bat of Eric Hinske with runners on first and second.
The entire pitching staff came up big in clutch situations, but the offense could not put anything on the board. Red Sox pitchers held the Yankees to just nine hits in 15 innings while striking out 14 batters. Any time you hold that offense to a .176 batting average, you’ve done your job.
Minus Ellsbury, no one showed up to play today. The Red Sox could only collect four hits over five and a half hours of baseball. Talk about struggling. They managed to draw eight walks, but only once did a base runner reach third. It was not Tazawa’s fault that the Red Sox lost this game.
“As far as making my major league debut, I’m very happy. I was honored to be in such an important situation,” Tazawa said through a translator. “I wish I could have done a little better.”
WP: Phil Coke (3-3)
LP: Junichi Tazawa (0-1)