Going into Friday night’s Red Sox-Yankees matchup at Fenway Park one would have expected a pitcher’s duel between Boston’s Josh Beckett and New York’s Hiroki Kuroda.
Kuroda came into the game 5-1 with a 1.65 ERA in his last seven starts, while Beckett was 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA against the Yankees last season.
This was not the case, however, as both pitchers combined to allow 10 runs (five each) on nine hits in the first inning alone.
The Yankees eventually came from behind, scoring four runs in the seventh inning, to take the first of a four-game weekend series 10-8, in a wild game as the two teams combined to score 18 runs on 28 hits.
It was the fourth straight loss for Boston.
“It seems like it is the same story every time we come up here,” shortstop Derek Jeter said. “No lead ever feels like it is safe.”
Before fans even got settled into their seats the Yankees put five runs on the board prior to Beckett recording an out.
Mark Teixeira’s two-run single was the big blow in the inning. Robinson Cano had walked with the bases loaded the batter before.
“In the first inning the strike zone was very hard for [Beckett] to find,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “I’ve never seen him like that.”
Boston came storming back in the bottom half to tie the game at five capped off by a three-run home run by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
“When you start off in a hole like that, you usually don’t come back,” second baseman Nick Punto said. “It was nice because our offense was a little stale on the road trip, so it was nice to score five in the bottom of the first.”
Each team scored one run in the second inning before both Beckett and Kuroda settled down.
Beckett left the game after the fifth inning with a 7-6 lead, surprisingly, in line for the win.
After the second inning Beckett only allowed two hits and struck out four.
The Red Sox took the 7-6 lead in the bottom of the fifth on Mauro Gomez’s first career major league RBI. That was the only run Kuroda allowed after the second inning.
Kuroda finished the game going 5 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits.
Things fell apart for the Red Sox in the seventh inning as relievers Andrew Miller and Vicente Padilla combined to allow four runs, allowing the Yankees to regain the lead, 10-7.
Teixeira’s two-run triple to the triangle in deep center field gave the Yankees an 8-7 lead, and then Raul Ibanez came through with an RBI double followed by an RBI single from Eric Chavez.
New York’s bullpen pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings, while the Red Sox’ allowed four runs in four innings, which was the difference in the game.
Reliever Boone Logan earned the win, moving him to 4-0.
“Our entire bullpen has done a good job all year,” said Jeter. “One of the reasons we are where we are is because our bullpen has been pretty good. We have a lot of confidence in everyone out there and they did a good job again tonight.”
New York closer Rafael Soriano earned his 20th save of the season.
Cody Ross belted his 13th home run of the year in the seventh inning over the monster seats, but the Red Sox couldn’t get anymore than that.
Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz both led Boston with three hits, while Gomez added two.
New York now holds an 8.5 game lead on the Red Sox for first place in the AL East.