The Red Sox wrapped up their second straight sweep of the Yankees in New Yankee Stadium Thursday, scoring seven runs in the seventh inning en route to an 8-3 win.
After waiting out a three-and-a-half hour rain delay, the Sox' bats seemed to have fallen asleep, allowing CC Sabathia to get on an early roll. While he would allow scattered baserunners in the first, second, and fourth innings, the Red Sox seemed entirely incapable of mounting a sustained attack. Only once in the first six frames did Sabathia allow more than one man to reach base in an inning--and even then it was the result of hitting David Ortiz, likely as retaliation for a series full of hit batters and one controversial bat flip back in the first game.
Much to Josh Beckett's dismay, the New York batters were not quite so tired. After plunking Derek Jeter with his second pitch of the game, Beckett fell behind 3-0 to Curtis Granderson and then offered up a 3-1 meatball to the center fielder. The ball left the park, and the Sox found themselves facing an early deficit for the first time in the series.
Fortunately for Josh Beckett--and unfortunately for CC Sabathia--it wasn't starting strong that mattered Thursday, but finishing strong.
While Beckett never quite found his command--he would hit two more batters in the game--he did manage to record outs, and brought down a high pitch count by the middle innings. He would not allow another run in his seven innings of work, striking out six men and giving up just three more hits in his outing.
CC Sabathia seemed ready to outdo him as David Ortiz stepped to the plate to start the seventh, but found himself quickly derailed. On the second pitch of the inning, Ortiz picked up the rare ground ball hit to the right side. Sabathia's next pitch, a sinker to Jed Lowrie, wasn't far down enough and was rocketed past first and down the right field line. Nick Swisher ran over to field it, playing the ball to bounce off the wall, and fell to the ground as he tried to alter his course when it was clearly headed for the corner. Ortiz came all the way around to score, and Lowrie stood at third as the tying run.
While Swisher's fielding gaffe was certainly embarrassing, it's hard to blame much on the Yankees right fielder. Mike Cameron hooked a double hard into right field to tie the game, and was followed up by a well-hit line drive single from Jason Varitek moving him to third. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a seeing-eye single into right, and the Red Sox had the lead with just one out in the seventh.
Still, there was more to come. While Marco Scutaro was robbed of a hit on a smashed drive to left by Brett Gardner, Adrian Gonzalez bounced one up the middle for a single, Kevin Youkilis lined a base hit to left, and then David Ortiz brought them both home to score by planting one off the wall in dead center. By the time the inning was over, seven Red Sox had come around to score, giving Boston a commanding 7-2 lead. From there, the two sides would only exchange runs in the ninth, leaving the Red Sox the victors.