Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sox Bats Prevail Over Yanks

There were more dizzying dramatics for the Red Sox against their rivals on Saturday, when the truest form of a slugfest unfolded.

Even after sustaining an early 6-0 deficit, the Red Sox found a way to outbash the Yankees, 16-11, in a wild contest at Fenway Park.

Red Sox-Yankees
Sat.: BOS 16, NYY 11
• Sox outslug Yanks
• Smoltz, Dice-K better
• Yanks restock roster
• A-Rod's next step
• Batboy enjoys series
Fri.: BOS 5, NYY 4
• Youk wins it for Sox
• Papi: No ill will
• Van Every fills void
• Lugo eyes Monday
• A-Rod improving
• Wang to DL
• Tex on the scene
• Ransom to DL
• Bruney examined

In a game billed as a pitchers' duel between Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett -- two right-handers who were phenoms on the same Marlins staff a few seasons ago -- neither power pitcher had much of anything.

This was a game dominated by the bats, as the American League East heavyweights traded haymakers all afternoon and into the early evening.

Mike Lowell's three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning was the one hit that stood up, giving the Red Sox their ninth straight win -- a franchise record for April -- and a chance to sweep the Yankees in this three-game series on Sunday night. The homer from Lowell, who finished with six RBIs, came against right-hander Jonathan Albaladejo.

Making the loss more painful for the Yankees was the fact they held a two-run lead with two outs in the ninth inning on Friday night, only to lose that game in 11 innings.

Aside from Lowell's game-winner, perhaps Boston's most clutch hit of the day came from Jason Varitek. The captain turned on Burnett's 96-mph heater and launched it into the visitors' bullpen with two outs in the fourth inning to cut New York's lead to a mere run at 6-5.

Burnett didn't settle down in the sixth, as the Red Sox went right back at him. Jacoby Ellsbury opened the inning with a game-tying homer, again into the Yankees' bullpen. Dustin Pedroia (single), David Ortiz (double) and Kevin Youkilis (hit by pitch) then combined to load the bases with nobody out. Though Burnett got a brief reprieve when J.D. Drew hit into a 3-2-3 double play, Bay lofted a two-run double off the Green Monster to give the Red Sox their first lead of the day, 8-6.

Improbably, Beckett had a chance to get the win. But the right-hander's misery continued when the Yankees jumped right back on him, getting a Derek Jeter walk and a two-run homer by Johnny Damon that tied the game.

Back and forth it went. In the bottom of the sixth, the Red Sox took the lead again on a sacrifice fly to right by Ortiz. The bad news of that go-ahead run was that Pedroia strangely tried to tag and go to second and was thrown out to end the inning.

That was just the first unfortunate event for Pedroia, who uncharacteristically let a routine grounder from Damon with two outs go through his legs in the top of the seventh for a two-run error that put the Yankees back ahead, 10-9.

Again, though, the Red Sox would have an answer.

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