Yanks beat the Sawx, 6-4
The offense certainly played a big part in tonight’s win, as Robinson Cano, the team’s new five-hole hitter, led the charge. He went 2-for-3 (1 BB) with a big homer in the top of the 9th, giving Mariano Rivera a much needed insurance run against a potent Boston lineup. The rest of the Yankees, including Nick Swisher (2-for-4, 1 RBI), Curtis Granderson (1-for-4), Derek Jeter (1-for-5), Alex Rodriguez (1-for-5, 1 RBI), Mark Teixeira (0-for-5, 1 RBI), and Brett Gardner (1-for-2 after pinch-hitting for Marcus Thames), also chipped in of course, though it was Nick Johnson who seemed to have the most memorable RBI of the night. In the top of the eighth inning, Johnson coaxed a free pass out of Hideki Okajima with the bases loaded, plating the go-ahead run and breaking a 4-4 tie. He had no hits on the evening, yet he still managed to find his way to first base on three separate and critical occasions (2 BB, 1 HBP).
Now, with regards to pitching, the Yankees did the opposite of what they did on Sunday—that is, they prevented the Sox from scoring (for the most part). A.J. Burnett, working with Jorge Posada, pitched 5 innings, allowing 4 runs – 3 earned – on 7 hits. And, though he struck out 5 batters and walked just 1, I think most fans would agree that Burnett was somewhat shaky. He never seemed to have an easy inning and struggled to locate many of his pitches (conversely, Jon Lester allowed 4 earned runs over 5, walking 3 and striking out 4, yet he often seemed more in-control). Still, in the end, Burnett performed well, despite the noted issues, which is all that really matters, I guess.
The bullpen then backed Burnett once he exited the game. Alfredo Aceves, the first relief arm summoned, pitched a clean sixth and seventh. Dave Robertson was subsequently called upon in the eighth, but could not retire Kevin Youkilis. As usual, Joe Girardi was quick with his managerial hook, immediately replacing Robertson after just four pitches. With David Ortiz at the plate, Girardi opted for Damaso Marte, who succeed in setting down Big Papi. Joba Chamberlain was then brought in to face Adrian Beltre and J.D. Drew. He promptly struck out the two Sox, hitting 95-96 mph on the radar gun while brandishing a devastating slider. Mariano Rivera closed things out to end it.
Overall, great win for the Yankees, who, after losing with their bullpen on Sunday, won with it tonight.