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The New York Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox Sunday night by a score of 7-3 to take three out of four games of the last series before the All-Star break. The loss drops the Red Sox back to the Mediocrity Line with a record of 43-43.
In proper Red Sox-Yankees fashion, the first inning lasted over half an hour. Boston starter Jon Lester gave up back-to-back singles to Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson to start the game, and Mark Teixeira made him pay with an RBI double. After Robinson Cano walked, Nick Swisher hit a ground ball to 3B Mauro Gomez. Gomez stepped on third base, but threw a three-hopper to 1B Adrian Gonzalez, allowing Swisher to reach base and Granderson to score from third.
The Sox got a run back in the bottom of the inning against New York starter Ivan Nova when Jeter dropped a routine popup with two outs and Pedro Ciriaco came around to score from second, but the Yankees expanded the lead back to two in the second on a Chris Stewart sacrifice fly that drove in Jayson Nix. In the top of the third, Nick Punto replaced Adrian Gonzalez. The Red Sox later announced that Gonzalez was feeling ill.
In the bottom of the third, the Red Sox once again closed the gap to one on an RBI double from David Ortiz that drove in Ciriaco. Alex Rodriguez hit a deep fly ball in the fifth on a ball that Sox CF Ryan Sweeney attempted to catch but instead dove head-first into the bullpen wall. Rodriguez ended up at third base with a triple. After a short delay, Sweeney stayed in the game. Three batters later, Andruw Jones singled to drive in Rodriguez and increase the Yankee lead to 5-2.
Lester’s night was done, and Scott Atchison was first out of the Boston ‘pen. Atchison completed the fifth and sixth innings without incident, but served up Jones’ fourth home run in three games in the seventh to widen Yankee lead to 7-2.
In the eighth, David Robertson walked Jarrod Saltalmacchia and Mauro Gomez to set up a Mike Aviles RBI double to bring the Red Sox to within four.
Yankee manager Joe Girardi brought in his closer in a non-save situation in the ninth, but Rafael Soriano created his own drama. Soriano walked Ciriaco and Punto, then threw a wild pitch with two outs to put the runners on second and third. Soriano got Saltalmacchia to strike out to end the game, the series, and likely the Red Sox’ playoff hopes.
The loss drops Lester to 5-6, and the win improves Nova’s record to 10-3. The Red Sox are now 9.5 games behind the first-place Yankees, and are tied with Toronto, who beat the White Sox, for fourth place in the AL East. Also, Boston is five games behind Los Angeles, who possesses the lead in the AL Wild Card race.
Most of the Red Sox will head home for the four-day All-Star break. DH David Ortiz will be the Red Sox’ lone representative in Kansas City in Wednesday night’s All Star Game. Detroit’s Justin Verlander will start for the American League. National League manager Tony LaRussa has not yet announced who will be the NL’s starter.