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Monday’s game featured a matchup of two hot pitchers, with Daisuke Matsuzaka coming off his best outing of the season to face Phil Hughes, who entered the game at 5-0 with a 1.38 ERA. The two starters were anything but hot, however, as both struggled to keep their pitch counts down against the patient ball clubs.
In the end, Dice-K struggled through 4.2 innings, as he allowed seven runs (all earned) on nine hits and three walks. He faced a world of trouble in the first inning, putting the Red Sox in an early 5-0 hole.
The Red Sox battled back with five homers overall, including a three-run blast by J.D. Drew off Phil Hughes (an inning after David Ortiz went deep) to cut the Yankee lead to 6-5. Hughes had by far his worst outing of the year, fininshing with five runs allowed on six hits and a walk in five innings pitched.
After home runs in the eighth inning from Kevin Youkilis and Victor Martinez (who had 1 HR from each side of the plate), the Red Sox carried a 9-7 lead into the ninth. With bad pitching the theme, Jonathan Papelbon chose a horrible time to have one of the worst games of his career.
Paps allowed a tying two-run blast on the first pitch to Alex Rodriguez, and a game-winning two-run home run to Marcus Thames later in the inning to give NY an improbable 11-9 victory. The Yankees were walking off winners again, and A.J. Burnett kept up his stupid tradition by smothering Thames’s face with shaving cream during a post-game interview.
It was Papelbon’s first blown save in the regular season since last July, and the first time he allowed two home runs in one game since his major league debut in 2005, when he allowed blasts to Minnesota’s Justin Morneau and Jacque Jones.
Any time a player hits home runs from both sides from the plate in the same game, he deserves his props. Congrats Victor!
Remarkably, the Yankees scored nine of their 11 runs in the first and ninth innings…which points the blame squarely on the shoulders of Dice-K and Paps. Dice-K gave the Sox no realistic chance to win the game, even though they had a two-run lead in the ninth inning (that was eventually blown, too).
W: Javier Vazquez (2-4)
L: Jonathan Papelbon (1-3)