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Ciriaco Helps Red Sox Salvage Split Against Yankees in Doubleheader

Pedro Ciriaco

The Red Sox and Yankees are adding another chapter to their historic rivalry with a four-game weekend series at Fenway Park, highlighted by Saturday’s doubleheader. Despite a 6-1 loss in the first game that saw Boston fall further back in the standings, the night game ended a 9-5 victory for the Red Sox, who are hanging on in the American League East while New York tries to bury their rivals.

Game 1

The day began with a deflating 6-1 loss that included four Yankees home runs. Like the previous night in which the two teams exchanged five run first innings, New York struck early and often, plating four runs in the first and putting the game out of reach from the very start.

Freddy Garcia pitched very well for the visiting Yankees, pitching into the seventh inning while minimizing the Sox rally opportunities by working out of jams. On the other side, Sox starter Franklin Morales twice surrendered back-to-back home runs to the aptly named Bronx Bombers, including two home runs blasted by Andruw Jones.

In the first inning Nick Swisher launched a three-run home run with two outs after a Morales struck Robinson Cano with a pitch. Jones followed with a solo home run to give New York the early 4-0 lead. Beginning the fourth inning, Jones hit his ninth home run of the year and second of the game, followed by a solo shot from Jayson Nix to make it 6-0 Yankees.

The Sox got one run back on an RBI single by Mauro Gomez, playing third base for the injured Will Middlebrooks. But that was just about all the excitement the Fenway Faithful got to enjoy in the first game, as the Sox couldn’t manage much more offense against Garcia and the Yankees bullpen. One bright side to the loss was that the bullpen wasn’t taxed, as Justin Germano delivered 5.2 innings of work after Morales failed to get through the fourth. Momentarily, the Sox fell back to down to .500 on the year, but that changed with the nightcap.

Game 2

The teams went back in a game featuring Felix Doubront facing Phil Hughes. Again, New York scored via the long ball in the first inning, but this time the Boston bats rose to the occasion and gave the Red Sox their first win against the Yankees in 2012. It was charged by an unlikely hero, as Pedro Ciriaco delivered the go-ahead three-run double in the sixth.

Doubront wasn’t great by any means, but he pitched well enough against a strong Yankees lineup to give the Sox a chance to win despite the first inning three-run bomb surrendered to Mark Teixeira. He earned his ninth win of the season by going 6.1 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and a walk, while striking out six. He did allow a second home run as Jones went deep for the third time on the day.

The Sox tagged on four runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach for the Yankees, and Alfredo Aceves managed to close out the game despite allowing a solo shot to Eric Chavez.

The victory sets up the opportunity for the Sox to salvage the four-game series against New York Sunday night and head into the All-Star Break with some positive momentum. Ivan Nova goes for the Yankees looking for his tenth win of the year, while the Sox send Jon Lester to the hill. Lester will be attempting to pitch like an ace in his first 2012 start versus New York.

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