7-6: Boston wins an ugly one, 8-5

It was a strange sight, seeing David Ortiz on the bench. I guess even DHs need a day off now and then. The number 3 spot was filled by J.D. Drew, who went 0-3 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored. The Red Sox were able to take game 3 of this first series against the bad boys from New York, thanks to some timely offense by Manny Ramirez, Kevin Youkilis and Sean Casey.

After two very strong outings, Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-0) did not look sharp at all and struggled with control against the Yankees last night. He only lasted five innings, allowing four runs and five hits while walking six. He threw 116 pitches, only 62 for strikes. It’s not a complete excuse, but the cold, damp weather worked against all the pitchers last night, as did the miniature strike zone of home plate umpire Jerry Crawford.

It was not the start that Phil Hughes (0-2) and the Yankees hoped for, either. In the very first inning, Hughes and catcher Jose Molina appeared to have communications difficulty, resulting in a botched pitchout and a wild pitch; Hughes needed 39 pitches to finish that nightmare inning. The Sox took advantage, jumping to a 3-0 lead on an RBI-single by Manny and a sac fly by Youk. The Sox knocked Hughes out of the game for good with a 4-run third inning, again capped by hits from Ramirez, Youkilis and Casey.

Of course, even a 7-1 lead is not safe with this Yankees lineup; coming back is what they do, and come back the Yanks did. Dice-K yielded three runs in the 4th, and Jason Giambi blasted a solo home run off of Mike Timlin (his second of the series) in the 8th to bring it to within 7-5. Give credit to David Aardsma (and Jason Varitek), who pitched a gutsy two innings scoreless through this tough New York lineup.

Manny Delcarmen came on to finish off this one, showing a lot of confidence in addition to his 97 mph fastball. He threw 14 of those, 9 for strikes in an impressive performance. Because he only faced the last two hitters in the 9th, he was not credited with the save. However, to Delcarmen, who would love to close one day, it felt almost as good.

Dustin Pedroia had a rare two-strikeout game, and he showed his frustration, throwing his bat to the ground after he struck out to end the 2nd inning. He also got thrown out trying to stretch a hit into a double to lead off the 6th. On the defensive side, though, he converted a nice tag-and-throw double play on Melky Cabrera in the 8th inning.

Even though we took this series, it wasn’t totally satisfying, as Derek Jeter watched from the dugout the whole series, and Jorge Posada was forced to DH with a sore arm (a fact that Coco Crisp and Pedroia exploited in the 8th). Well, there’s always next Wednesday, when the two teams will face off again in New York.

Hey, another two-hit game for Crisp. He also had two steals in this one, and is now hitting .323 on the year. I wonder if there’s some trade value being built up here?


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