Yankees lose rain-shortened finale to Red Sox

 

There were more rain delays than hits for the Yankees in their attempt to end a hitting slump that has lasted nearly two weeks.

On a night which featured a 45-minute rain delay before a pitch was thrown, a 37-minute rain delay with one out in the top of the fifth and another delay of 45 minutes, the Yankees had just two hits in a 3-0 loss to the Red Sox that was called at 12:10 a.m.

The forecast called for rain through portions of the night and the game was delayed because of the threat of thunderstorms. However, nothing happened and the game started at 8:50 p.m.

In between the first and second delays, the Yankee hitting woes continued as their only hits against Clay Buchholz were a two-out infield single by Ichiro in the second and a leadoff base hit by Austin Romine in the third.

The Yankees lost for the ninth time in 12 games. They are batting just .219 since a 6-4 win at Baltimore on May 20. The Baltimore win gave them a 28-16 record, which was surprising considering who was missing, but since then a regression to the expectations of many has occurred.

The last three games have seen the Yankees get a little healthier as they added Kevin Youkilis off a 30-game stint on the disabled list following a back injury and Mark Teixeira from a nearly three-month absence following a torn tendon in his wrist.

So far neither has helped reverse course for an offense that has a team average of .245, a .308 on-base percentage and a .705 OPS.

“It’s kind of a team-wide thing that we’re going through but we ran into a pretty good pitcher tonight, that’s the bottom line,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He threw the ball very well against us and we’re not the first team he’s done that against this year.”

The Yankees have scored four runs or less in eight straight games, have gone 20 innings without an extra-base hit and were shut out for the fifth time.

“I think that’s part of baseball,” designated hitter Travis Hafner said. “You’ll have ups and down throughout the year but there’s too much talent here and it’s only a matter of things before things get rolling again.”

Teixeira struck out twice as he started the night as a left-handed hitter for the first time this season. He was called out looking on a fastball and swung through a split-fingered fastball.

Kevin Youkilis grounded out twice and has not gotten the ball out of the infield since getting an RBI single in Friday’s win. He started at third base for the first time since returning.

While the Yankees wait for the offensive slump to vanish, they will count on their pitching. But Hiroki Kuroda did not have his sharpest stuff Sunday night.

He allowed three runs and tied a season high by allowing eight hits in 5 1/3 innings during an outing that ended following a 37-minute rain delay. Before heavy rains he gave up a first-pitch home run to Jose Iglesias and a long home run to David Ortiz to start the sixth.

Play resumed for Boone Logan to get a pair of outs on a Mike Napoli caught stealing an a strikeout of Stephen Drew and then the rain returned just as Andrew Miller was about to enter for Buchholz.

“It’s in their hands,” Girardi said. “They called it. [Crew chief) Gary [Cederstrom] tried to get us back out there but he said it was building up behind and we were trying to go as quick as we could. That’s why we went out and played those two outs.”

About the only highlight from that point was a widely circulated video of players in both dugouts reacting to the loud claps of thunder.

“That was the loudest thing we’ve ever seen,” Romine said. “It was daytime for a second. Right after that we took off. We’re out of there, we don’t need to see that.”

“I heard it,” Girardi said. “The guys kind of buckled a little bit. I was inside and I didn’t hear it. All I know was that my TV went out and that was the clue that the weather was pretty bad. I guess it was kind of funny after they got through it but people almost went down.”

Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.


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