Yankees 6, Red Sox 2
In baseball, a half-game lead in the standings when a team has played one fewer game than their closest competition only really counts when they're actually expected to win. So when the wild card race shows the Sox a half-game up on the Rays, make no mistake--they're pretty much tied.
The most recent September loss--number 18 for those keeping track--came thanks to Tim Wakefield being Tim Wakefield, and the rest of the team turning the woeful A.J. Burnett into a Cy Young contender as they are so often wont to do.
The scoring started quickly off of Wakefield, as the Yankees set about testing the weaknesses of the aged pitcher and his defensively challenged batterymate by dropping down a pair of bunts to begin the game. Both Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter would reach, and then quickly come around to score thanks to a combination of steals, passed balls, and wild pitches.
The fun didn't stop there. A two-run homer for Jorge Posada in the third increased the Yankees' lead to 4-0, and after two leadoff hits in the fifth, Wakefield was yanked from the game with five earned runs to his name.
The Red Sox would have all of one man actually producing for them offensively: Jacoby Ellsbury. A pair of homers from the center fielder unfortunately came with not a man on base--the Sox only had five other baserunners all day, and two of them had been eliminated by Adrian Gonzalez' two GIDPs. Certainly not enough to catch up to the early hole dug by Tim Wakefield.
Three For The Road
While it was a terrible team effort, Jacoby Ellsbury's two homers punched his ticket into the exclusive 30-30 club. Now the team's leading longball hitter, Ellsubry stands at 30 homers, 38 steals, 206 hits, and an even 100 RBI.
The Red Sox will likely not have Scott Atchison for a bit. One of the only semi-reliable relievers on the team this month, Atchison had to leave the game with what's being called a "mild groin strain."
J.D. Drew Returns
J.D. Drew will make his return to the starting lineup in the second half of Sunday's doubleheader, starting in right field. It's been a long time since the outfielder has made an appearance with the Sox, and he wasn't doing particularly well before his injury and numerous setbacks during rehab. But right now, just about anyone could be an improvement over the status quo.
Up Next -- Sunday, 6:30 p.m. | John Lackey (12-12, 6.49 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (16-4, 3.62 ERA)
With their backs against the wall, the Red Sox will be forced to turn to arguably the league's worst starting pitcher. They're in need of nothing shy of a miracle.