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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

CC Sabathia Finally Solves The Red Sox In 2011

It's almost impossible to win at any level of baseball when you leave 16 runners on base. Even more so when you face CC Sabathia and your team counters with John Lackey.

Sabathia (18-7) finally got over his funk against Boston (0-4) coming into tonight as the Yankees (81-52) climbed within half a game of the Red Sox (82-52) with a 5-2 win at Fenway Park.

The series opening win gave New York some early momentum heading into the last series at Fenway in the regular season between the rivals while also cutting the season series to 10-3 in favor of Boston.

It made sense that after struggling so much against the Red Sox that Sabathia would eventually pitch as well against them as he does vs. the rest of MLB. It took a season-high 128 pitches just to get through six innings. He allowed two earned runs on 10 hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts (including Adrian Gonzalez three times) in a bizarre outing.

Lackey (12-10) threw nearly as many pitches (119) in one more inning of work. That amount of pitches from the starters alone is the main reason why this contest took place at the standard glacial pace for Red Sox-Yankees (3:59). Lackey allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits with four walks and three strikeouts.

Eric Chavez and Francisco Cervelli were unlikely heroes that turned in nice performances in the win. Chavez had RBI singles in the second and fourth (sandwiched around an RBI double by Robinson Cano) for a 3-0 Yankees lead.

Two equally unexpected guys cut it to 3-2 for the Red Sox in the fourth. Carl Crawford (2 hits, walk) hit a solo homer (his 10th of the season) and Marco Scutaro (2 hits) had an RBI double.

Cervelli hit a solo bomb in the fifth (his second career home run) and was going crazy around the bases which led to Lackey plunking him to start the seventh. Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild was tossed after the benches cleared (but nothing happened) and manager Joe Girardi was ejected in the ninth for arguing about Jarrod Saltalamacchia swinging when he got hit by a Mariano Rivera pitch.

It was a testy night as Jacoby Ellsbury was hit by Sabathia and Matt Albers plunked Jorge Posada.

Jed Lowrie had three hits and David Ortiz had two hits in the loss.

Cory Wade got an out in the seventh and Boone Logan had the last two outs in the frame, paving the way for Rafael Soriano (scoreless eighth) and Rivera who got his 35th save thanks in part to a bogus strikeout of Lowrie (two ultra shaky called strikes).

Albers was a bright spot as he got the last two outs of the eighth to keep Boston within three runs. He needed a positive outing like that since he's gone off a cliff in August. Alfredo Aceves also had a 1-2-3 ninth in four pitches.

Phil Hughes faces Josh Beckett tomorrow night in a matchup that clearly favors the Red Sox. Beckett has owned the Yankees this year although as Sabathia showed, things can change when you face a team so much.

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