Bronx Bullies: Yankees Resembling Old Playoff Selves With Big Wins Over Boston

August 24, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

Sunday night’s game between the Yankees and Red Sox had the feeling of an important playoff game more than a regular season one at Fenway Park.

After the Yankees slaughtered the Red Sox 20-11 in Friday night’s game, the Red Sox returned the favor by pouncing the Yankees 14-1.

The series was tied. Both teams were sending up their best pitchers for the series finale, CC Sabathia and Josh Beckett.

However, this wasn’t the pitching duel everyone expected. It was a lopsided game favoring the Yankees from the first pitch.

Derek Jeter took Beckett’s very first pitch and sent it over the right field wall for a 1-0 lead. The home run was Jeter’s 2,700th career hit.

In the top of the second, Hideki Matsui continued his hot hitting by a solo home run off Beckett to make it 2-0.

In two innings, Beckett was not looking sharp. But early on, Sabathia was not either.

Rocco Baldelli’s RBI single and Jason Varitek’s RBI double tied the game at 2-2. This was as close the Red Sox were going to be in the game to getting a lead.

In the top of the third, the Yankees were able to manufacture runs. Mark Teixeira hit an RBI single to take a 3-2 lead and Alex Rodriguez hit an RBI ground out to short to make it 4-2. The Yankees were playing good, situational ball to go along with the home runs.

In the top of the fourth, Robinson Cano took a Beckett pitch and drove it out for a solo home run that made it 5-2 Yankees.

In the bottom of the fourth, Robinson Cano dropped a pop-up in which Cano was on the run and never gained his balance, which allowed Jason Bay to score all the way from first to make it 5-3. The Red Sox were not out of the game just yet.

That was until A-Rod stepped up in the top of the fifth inning and drilled a Beckett curveball over the Green Monster for a two-run home run and gave the Yankees a 7-3 lead.

Beckett was giving up home runs and his command was not there. Sabathia fought and battled Boston, but he did not allow a big hit to the Red Sox hitters.

In the bottom of the sixth, Baldelli hit a sacrifice fly to right to make it 7-4, but that’s all the Red Sox would get off Sabathia.

In the top of the eighth inning, Matsui hit his second home run of the game, another solo shot off Beckett to make the game 8-4.

Beckett (14-5) finished pitching eight innings, allowing nine hits and eight runs, struck out five and allowed five home runs, which is unheard of for Beckett.

Sabathia (15-7) was better on this night for the Yankees, going 6 2/3, allowing eight hits, four runs and struck out eight in a battle of the aces.

Phil Hughes relieved Sabathia by pitching 1 1/3 of scoreless balls and over-powered the Boston hitters and Mariano Rivera came into the ninth inning in a non-save situation. After allowing a walk to J.D. Drew, Rivera buzzed through the hitters to end the game for an 8-4 Yankees win.

The Yankees take two out of three games in Fenway Park to win the series and now move back to 7 1/2 games ahead over Boston in the A.L. East division chase.

Since August, the Yankees are now 6-1 against the Red Sox after starting out 0-8. The momentum has clearly shifted in favor of the Yankees and they are now rolling towards the A.L. East title.

This game had the feeling of a Game 1 ALCS atmosphere between Sabathia and Beckett and the Yankees answered the call to take down the Red Sox in their home park.

At 78-46, the Yankees have 38 games remaining on the schedule. If they were to finish 19-19 the rest of the season, that would still put the Yankees at 97-65 and a really good chance to win the division.

The Red Sox are at 70-53 with 39 more games. They still have to play three more games in September at the new Yankee Stadium where they were swept earlier in the month. By then, the Yankees will be looking to wrap the division up and a playoff spot, while Boston will be just trying to tread water in the playoff race with the Rangers and Rays.

If you look at the situation approximately one year ago, the Red Sox came into Yankee Stadium and took two of three against the Yankees and did serious damage to the Yankees playoff hopes.

In 2009, it is the Yankees who are now trying to push Boston away and out of the playoffs.

While things are looking good for the Yankees heading into the final month, it looks like the complete opposite for the Red Sox.

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