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Heading into this season, as the Red Sox reigned supreme in free agency and seemingly had the rest of the A.L. East in a headlock, the one thing the Yankees still had was a better bullpen. And not-so-ironically, it served it’s purpose tonight.
Reliever Boone Logan struck out Adrian Gonzalez with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning, and the New York Yankees came back to beat the Boston Red Sox 3-2 on Friday. The win gave the Yankees their eighth straight win and the lead in the division.
The Red Sox had taken 8 of their 9 meetings with their arch-rivals this year, but the Yankees arrived in Fenway ready to reclaim the A.L. East.
Bartolo Colon did his part to set the Yankees back in the bottom of the 3rd. Emerging fan favorite Josh Reddick singled to right field, only to subsequently get tagged out at 2nd on a Marco Scutaro fielder’s choice single. Jacoby Ellsbury knocked a double to deep centerfield allowing Scutaro to score, and putting the Sox up 1-0.
Lester followed up with a 1-2-3 inning at the top of the 4th; Mark Texiera grounded out and Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher both struck out swinging. The bottom of the inning was looking to go the same way for the Red Sox after Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis scooped up consecutive outs, but David Ortiz cleaned up nicely with a rare homerun off of Colon that put the Sox up 2-0.
At the top of the 5th inning, Josh Reddick again singled to right field, advancing to 2nd when Ellsbury was walked. Ductin Pedroia followed with an infield reach to shortstop that would load the bases. That’s when Logan came into to relieve Colon, and he struck out Gonzalez swinging for the critical third out.
The Yankees spotted their chance as Lester began the 6th inning by walking Nunez. Jeter then singled, giving Curtis Granderson enough to bat in Nunez on a single to center. Yankees went on to earn two more runs in the inning, batted in by Cano and Swisher, and taking the lead permanently at 3-2.
Both teams’ bullpens stepped up big and proved vital. The Yankees got a solid scoreless inning each from Logan, Rafael Soriano, Dave Robertson, and Mariano Rivera. The Red Sox countered with two stable innings from Matt Albers. Randy Williams went to the mound in the 9th, only to allow 2 men on base and be relieved by Alfredo Aceves who managed the last out to end the game.
Blame–> Terry Francona- for not relieving Lester after he started off an inning with a walk, a single and a Curtis Granderson RBI. He had pitched close to 100 already. Tito should have taken him out.
Blame–> Adrian Gonzalez- for going 0-4 at home against the Yankees, and striking out with the bases loaded. I know, I know…I shouldn’t be hopping all over A-Gon for a rare bad night, but it always rubs me the wrong way when someone’s rare bad night is so badly timed.
Don’t Blame–> Jon Lester- he had 7 strikeouts, and although he had a brutal 6th inning, he gave his team a chance to win the game.
Don’t Blame–> Saltalamacchia- although he also went 0-4, which is more the rule for him than the exception, he did catch both Jeter and Nunez stealing. Woo! I’ll take what I can get defensively from this catching staff.
The Sox play the second of three games against the Yankees on Saturday at 4:15pm at Fenway Park. Pitchers: C.C. Sabathia vs. John Lackey. (Try not to roll your eyes.)
Follow Tanya on Twitter: @TanyaRay18