The Boston Red Sox earned a split with the New York Yankees on Saturday. After losing the afternoon game 6 – 5 in 10 innings, the Sox came back to win the nightcap 7 – 6. That assures the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays won’t decide the AL East until the final day of the regular season.
Game 1 – New York 6-5 (10 innings)
Andy Pettitte’s statistics in his last two starts before the playoffs were unimpressive. His confidence is just fine. The Yankees left-hander didn’t get out of the fifth inning for the second time in nine days — both against the Red Sox.
Pettitte allowed three runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts and two walks and left after Mike Lowell’s leadoff single in the fifth. In his previous start on Sept. 24 in New York, he allowed six earned runs on 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings of a 10-8 loss. He has made just three starts since spending two months on the disabled list with a strained left groin but is 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA for the season. “More than anything, it’s my command,” Pettitte said. “I threw a lot of good cutters. I threw some flat ones, but I threw some good ones. It’s just the command more than anything right now. I was missing with my breaking stuff today.”
Phil Hughes (18-8) struck out two batters in a perfect ninth in his second relief outing of the year, keeping the score tied at 5. Yankees pitchers tied a franchise record with 18 strikeouts. They also issued eight walks. Jonathan Papelbon (5-7) started the 10th by walking Brett Gardner, who went to second on a sacrifice by Ramiro Pena. Derek Jeter then topped a slow grounder to the right side, just beyond Papelbon’s reach, for an infield single. Second baseman Bill Hall l tried to field it with his bare hand, but it got by him and Gardner scored the go-ahead run. “Do or die. It was a tough play,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “It got behind him enough.” Mariano Rivera pitched the 10th for his 33rd save in 38 opportunities, ending a game that took 4 hours, 18 minutes.
Game 2 – Boston 7 – 6 (10 innings)
In the second game, lasting 4 hours, Bill Hall led off the 10th with a double against Ivan Nova (1-2), took third on Kevin Cash’s sacrifice and scored on Patterson’s single to center. Robert Manuel (1-0) got the win with two shutout innings. “You spend that much time at the ballpark, it’s nice to have a win,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. The split doubleheader was scheduled after Friday night’s game was postponed by rain following a delay of 3 hours, 23 minutes.
There were plenty of mistakes throughout the second game. Starting pitchers A.J. Burnett and Daisuke Matsuzaka each hit two batters. Burnett and Boston relievers Scott Atchison and Hideki Okajima each threw a wild pitch. The Yankees committed four errors, while the Red Sox had two. But Burnett, who was 1-7 with a 6.98 ERA in his previous 11 games, allowed just two earned runs and six hits in six innings. “I definitely felt a lot better,” he said. “I was just letting it go. … I wasn’t nitpicking. I was in attack mode.” The most glaring gaffe in the nightcap came with New York leading 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth. Daniel Nava led off the inning with a double before Josh Reddick hit a hard grounder to the right of first baseman Lance Berkman, who bobbled the ball. He picked it up and threw to Burnett, covering the base. Burnett caught the ball, then turned toward third, where Nava had run. But when first base umpire Brian Runge called Reddick safe, Burnett turned his back on Nava and began arguing. Nava then headed home and, with Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez pointing to the plate, Burnett finally threw the ball — past catcher Francisco Cervelli, allowing Nava to score and cut the lead to 4-3. Berkman and Burnett were charged with errors on the play. “I probably should have called time,” Burnett said.
Boston tied it at 4 with the help of another error in the sixth. Ryan Kalish singled, stole second and continued to third on Cervelli’s wild throw. He scored on Yamaico Navarro’s sacrifice fly. In the seventh, Cervelli singled in the go-ahead run and Berkman scored on Okajima’s wild pitch. But the Red Sox tied it at 6 in the eighth on an RBI single by Nava and a bases-loaded walk to Cash.