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Tonight the Yankees took the first of many match-ups between the two rivals in the 2008 season as Yankee ace Chien-Ming Wang pitched a two-hit shutout and the Bronx Bombers defeated the defending World Champs, 4-1.
Wang allowed a fifth inning solo homer to J.D. Drew which tied the game at 1-1. Wang would retire every Red Sox hitter from there until Coco Crisp reached on a bunt with two out in the ninth, but he would be stranded and Wang scored his third win of the young season.
Jason Giambi would account for the winning run as he hit a solo homer to dead center field off Mike Timlin in the seventh to give the Yanks a 2-1 lead. Melky Cabrera would add a sac fly in the seventh and Bobby Abreu also had an RBI for the final scoreline.
Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz pitched well in a rain fall which was steady at times. The young righty pitched six innings, allowing one run on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Wang struck out just three batters and didn’t keep the ball on the ground as much as he usually does but he was able to keep his fastball consistently in the mid 90s and the Sox couldn’t catch up to it. The early season slump for David Ortiz continued as Big Papi went 0 for 3 and is now just 3 for 39 on the season, good for a .077 batting average.
The teams next square off tomorrow at 4pm on Fox.
My Take: Some nights it just doesn’t work for you. Wang really impressed at Fenway tonight as he was able to keep his velocity consistently in the low to mid 90s and the Sox hitters just couldn’t adjust. Despite the damn weather being pitcher friendly, Buchholz did look better than in his previous outing, though the walk total still needs to come down.
It was a tough return for Mike Timlin, who allowed Giambi’s homer to center and a hit to Jose Molina, who eventually scored the third run of the game.
Wang was just too good tonight, throwing just 93 pitches in nine innings and faced two batters over the minimum for his third win of the season. Yankee fans have to be pleased with his performance in 2008 yet it makes his abysmal performance in the 2007 playoffs a little more perplexing.
Tomorrow afternoon’s game (weather permitting) will see Josh Beckett square off against the ageless Mike Mussina.