Jacoby Ellsbury picked up four hits on his birthday, including a ninth-inning single that lifted the Sox to a 4-3 walkoff victory over the Yankees.
The game got off to an all-too-familiar start for Red Sox fans in the first. After surrendering a leadoff walk to Derek Jeter, Lester saw Nick Swisher break an 0-for-28 slump on the very first pitch he saw, doubling to left to put two in scoring position in a hurry. While Lester was able to avoid a big inning, a Robinson Cano ground ball to the right side was all it took to give New York the 1-0 lead.
Walks would prove a problem for Lester all night. Two more would come before the first inning ended, and another pair opened the third. Andruw Jones led off the fourth by drawing a sixth free pass of of Lester, but somehow the southpaw was able to escape each and every time, making it into the sixth with no more damage done.
Meanwhile, the Boston lineup had done just enough to put the Sox in the unfamiliar position of having a lead. It was Pedro Ciriaco, professional Yankee killer who got the rally going in the third with a double down the left field line. Jacoby Ellsbury singled up the middle to bring him in, stole second, and then came around to take the lead for the Red Sox on a Dustin Pedroia base knock.
The lead would last until the sixth, when Lester's shaky pitching finally caught up to him. A leadoff walk to Curtis Granderson and Andruw Jones single put two men on, and Jayson Nix moved them both into scoring position with a bunt. Lester ran the count full against Derek Jeter, brought a fastball inside, and had Jeter punch it out into shallow right field, and then into the stands on a bounce, bringing both runs home to give the Yankees the 3-2 lead.
The response from Boston was almost instant. With one out in the bottom of the frame, Dustin Pedroia got a fastball belt-high and inside from Hiroki Kuroda and turned on it, launching a solo shot into the Monster seats to even things at 3-3.
The bullpens would settle in from there, with the Yankees surviving a bizarre inning that involved the bases being loaded on two bunts--one popped into the air--and a ground ball to the right side where Boone Logan didn't remember to cover the bag. The Sox were cleaner with their bullpen work, but the game stayed even into the ninth.
After a scoreless top of the ninth for Andrew Bailey, the Sox went to work in the bottom of the inning, and who else but Pedro Ciriaco got it started. Swinging at three straight off-speed pitches in the dirt, Ciriaco missed badly on two, and then poked an excuse-me ground ball through the left side of the infield. Mike Aviles worked a long at bat against David Robertson before finding the same part of the infield, just far enough away from Derek Jeter that the shortstop had to hold onto the ball, bringing Ciriaco into scoring position with one out. Up stepped Jacoby Ellsbury, and on the third pitch of the at bat, slapped a hit into right field. The throw to the plate was late, and the Red Sox walked off the field, winners.
|bottom of the 9th||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R|
|New York Yankees||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||3|
|Boston Red Sox||0||0||2||0||0||1||0||0||♦||3|