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The nightmarish September of the Red Sox only got worse on Saturday as they were demolished by the New York Yankees 9-1.
The Yankees took control of the game early, knocking around Boston starter Jon Lester for 8 runs in 2 2/3 innings, and handed the Red Sox their 13th loss in their last 16 games.
The trouble started with one out in the second inning. Robinson Cano hit a bouncer just past the dive of shortstop Marco Scutaro for a single. Lester then walked Nick Swisher, bringing up Andruw Jones. Jones hit a grounder that Scutaro fielded to his right, but third baseman Mike Aviles was not near the bag, so Scutaro had to turn and fire to second, too late to get Swisher.
With the bases loaded, Lester fell behind the rookie Jesus Montero 3 balls and one strike. Montero belted the next pitch into left for an RBI singe.
Russell “I Hate the Red Sox” Martin followed with a soft liner to left. Carl Crawford raced over, slid, and had the ball clang off his glove for a two-run single.
Derek Jeter was next, and he smashed a 3-run home run to right center to make it 6-0.
Lester finished the inning, but he was chased in the third when Montero crushed a 2-run double to give the Yankees an 8-0 lead.
The Boston offense could do nothing against Yankee starter Freddy Garcia, who tossed 6 shutout innings and picked up the win. It was the first time in September that Garcia had allowed less than 3 runs, or pitched more than 5 innings in a game.
In Lester’s last three starts, all against Tampa and New York, with the team desperately needing a win each time, he’s gone 0-3 with a 10.53 ERA.
The Sox continued to follow their September blueprint of horrible starting pitching, abysmal defense, and untimely offense. Over the last 19 games, their starting pitchers have 3 wins and a 7.34 ERA. For the month, the team has an utterly ridiculous record of 1-17 when scoring 11 runs or less. Their lead over Tampa in the Wild Card race has shrunk from 9 games three weeks ago down to 1.5 games, after the Rays defeated Toronto on Saturday night.
On Sunday, the Sox send Tim Wakefield and John Lackey to the mound in a day-night doubleheader against the Yankees, desperately hoping that one of them will be able to come up with a win. But in his last 5 starts, Lackey is 0-3 with a 9.12 ERA; while Wakefield has one win in his last 9 starts, and has allowed 16 runs in his last 16 innings pitched.
Things are grim and look to only get grimmer as the Red Sox try to cling to what’s left of their once-once comfortable lead in the playoff race.