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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Red Sox Beat Yankees 2-1 in Classic Pitcher's Duel

We know that enjoyable nights like this have been few and far between in the 2014 season for the Red Sox and that will most likely continue the rest of the way. It's precisely why you have to take them for what they are, Boston (37-44 overall, 17-25 away) beat New York (41-38 overall, 18-19 home) 2-1 tonight at Yankee Stadium in the middle game of a three-game series.

Jon Lester (9-7) came out on top of Masahiro Tanaka (11-3) who is a lock for the AL Rookie of the Year but also the frontrunner for the Cy Young (up to this point at least). Both of Boston's runs came on homers, fittingly enough at that Little League park. David Ross took Tanaka deep to left center in the third for his fourth home run of the season. Then Mike Napoli came through with a 355-foot "homer" (his 10th of the season) that ESPN Stats and Info noted would only go out in Yankee Stadium (it reached the first row), no other stadium in MLB. Oh well!

Lester went eight innings, allowing one unearned run (thanks Stephen Drew) on five hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Lester earned his ninth win at the new Yankee Stadium, four more than any other opponent. Napoli's homer was his sixth there since 2013, again the most by a visitor. Tanaka had the rare complete game loss: allowing seven hits with eight strikeouts and one walk.

Almost all of his teammates have suffered major drop offs from their performance levels in 2013 but not Koji Uehara. He pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning with two strikeouts for his 17th save of the season. His ERA is 1.23 and with manager John Farrell in charge of the AL at the All-Star Game, you can bet he'll be making a trip to Minnesota in a few weeks.

It's been a pretty tough season at the plate for Dustin Pedroia (.268/.339/.377) but he had one of his better games going 3 for 4 plus he started a sweet double play in the eighth inning with Drew. Jacoby Ellsbury was the only Yankee with multiple hits, he was 2 for 4.

The series wraps up tomorrow night (8:05, ESPN) with another primetime game. John Lackey (8-5) takes on rookie Chase Whitley (3-1) in Sunday Night Baseball. Boston's top prospect Mookie Betts was called up earlier today and he's set to make his MLB debut tomorrow night, probably in right field. Rubby De La Rosa was the unfortunate casualty of this somewhat gutsy (and obvious) move by the Red Sox as he was sent back to Pawtucket. That's right, Jake Peavy is still in the rotation along with Brandon Workman.

A win would be nice for Boston, particularly because its the finale of this long and mostly painful (3-6) road trip. Tonight's victory made them 3-6 against the Yankees in 2014 with 10 meetings remaining.

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