NEW YORK (AP) — Manager Terry Francona took input from his players in writing a revamped lineup and sent his ace to the mound. Yet the Boston Red Sox lost yet again.
David Ortiz has another idea.
“What you got to do right now is laugh, just see if you can fool somebody,” the big designated hitter said.
Derek Jeter capped a six-run second inning with a three-run homer, rookie Jesus Montero had four RBIs in finishing a triple shy of the cycle and the New York Yankees stunned the reeling Red Sox early in a 9-1 victory Saturday.
Boston dropped to 4-15 since holding a nine-game lead over the Rays in the AL wild-card race heading into play Sept. 4. Tampa Bay closed within 1 1-2 games of Boston with a 6-2 win over Toronto.
The Red Sox and Yankees play a day-night doubleheader Sunday before Boston travels to Baltimore for a season-ending three-game series. Francona is done with of all the talk of fixing the Red Sox.
“Now it’s up to us to go win,” he said. “We know what’s in front of us, we just have to play better.”
Freddy Garcia (12-8) pitched six innings of six-hit ball, making his case for the No. 3 spot in the Yankees’ postseason rotation. Before a regular-season record crowd of 49,556 at the new Yankee Stadium, the AL East champions used their “A” lineup for the opener of a series pushed back by a rainout Friday. They quickly roughed up Jon Lester (15-9).
By the ninth, all the starting position players except Nick Swisher were out of the game. After the game, they clinched homefield advantage throughout the AL playoffs when Detroit lost to Baltimore.
Montero hit the fourth homer of his brief big league career, doubled in two runs in the third and had an RBI single in four at-bats. Russell Martin backed his declaration of dislike for the rival Red Sox with a two-run single.
Heading in, the numbers added up for Boston: 6-0 at Yankee Stadium this year and 11-4 against New York overall. Lester had beaten Garcia twice this season and had won each of his last four starts in the Bronx.
Francona sought input from his players and coaches after Friday’s rainout and shook up his lineup, moving Carl Crawford to the second spot and dropping Adrian Gonzalez to fifth with Dustin Pedroia hitting third.
But it all unraveled in a span of six batters in the second.
“A disappointing game,” Francona said. “We didn’t finish a couple of plays, and they made us pay.”
With runners on first and second, shortstop Marco Scutaro went deep into the hole to field Andruw Jones’ grounder. He seemed to have a chance to get the lead runner at third base but stumbled slightly and had to throw across his body to second. His throw was late, leaving the bases loaded.
Montero then hit a sharp grounder out of Scutaro’s reach for the first run. Martin followed with a sinking liner to left field that hit off the glove of a sliding Crawford for two more runs.
“I just tried to make a play at it. Didn’t make it,” Crawford said.
Jeter, whose batting average is up to .297 after a first-half slump, followed with a drive into the right-field seats to make it 6-0. Before the game, the Yankees captain carried the bat Roger Maris used to hit his 61st homer onto the field as part of 50th anniversary ceremony.
Lester gave up a two-out, two-run double to Montero in the third and was done, having given up eight runs. After Lester retired his first four batters, the Yankees were 8 for 12 against him.
The short outing — 55 pitches 2 2-3 innings — might make it easier for Francona to use Lester on short rest in Wednesday’s regular-season finale.
Boston’s starters fell to 3-10 with a 7.34 ERA in the last 19 games.
Garcia allowed 15 runs in his last three outings but kept Boston at bay with a mixture slow breaking pitches. On his final batter, Garcia fielded Scutaro’s comebacker and nonchalantly pounded the ball in his glove before tossing to first.
“His stuff was really good today,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He used all his pitches. That’s what Freddy does. What he did today is what he’s been doing most of the year for us.”
Girardi wouldn’t commit to giving Garcia a spot in a postseason rotation that will include CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova.
“He’s definitely one of the guys that we’re considering. Freddy is a guy who’s been there and done all that,” Girardi said. “So, as we move forward, we
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)