Things started badly for the Red Sox last night, as Daisuke Matsuzaka surrendered five runs in the first inning.
They ended even worse.
Jonathan Papelbon couldn’t hold a two-run lead going into the bottom of the ninth, giving up a pair of home runs in an 11-9 loss to the Yankees.
Boston (19-20) fell behind 5-0 as Matsuzaka struggled in the early going, but took a 9-7 lead in the eighth on home runs by Kevin Youkilis and Victor Martinez — the second of the game for the latter.
That’s when it all fell apart.
Papelbon gave up a leadoff double to Brett Gardner, and Alex Rodriguez tied the game with a two-run homer after a Mark Teixeira flyout.
After getting Robinson Cano to fly out, the Boston closer hit Francisco Cervelli with a pitch. A batter later, Marcus Thames blasted the game-winning home run over the left field wall.
Bullpen woes aside, a reshuffled batting lineup performed admirably for the Sox. J.D. Drew, Youkilis, Martinez and David Ortiz all collected two hits and homered in the heart of the order.
Meanwhile, Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron aren’t far from coming back to the big club.
Ellsbury felt hesitant during his first two at-bats for Pawtucket but slid into home plate following his third at-bat yesterday. After going 1-for-3, Ellsbury is expected to play in the outfield today before a decision is made on his return to the big club.
Cameron is close to returning from a core injury, but some soreness will likely force him to make another rehab appearance.