Can every inning be the first inning at Fenway Park? The Yankees scored 14 runs in the four first innings of this series, including two last night to jump out to an early lead against Jon Lester and the Red Sox in Fenway. Derek Jeter, who ended up with three hits, led the game off with (what else?) a single to right off of a left-handed pitcher. Curtis Granderson followed with a single of his own, this one to center. With two on and still no one out, Mark Teixeira ripped a 1-0 pitch down the left field line for a double, scoring Jeter. After a weak fly out by Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano drew a walk. Nick Swisher came up with the bases loaded and it a ground ball to Boston third baseman Mauro Gomez, who stepped on third for the force out. At that moment, it looked like the Yankees were, once again, going to come up short with the bases loaded. Luckily, Gomez held on to the ball just a bit too tightly and the throw short hopped Adrian Gonzalez, allowing Swisher to reach and a run to score. Once again, the Yankees had a first inning lead. Unlike the lead on Friday night, this one would last an inning, despite an error on a pop-up that Jeter dropped. The Yankees were also able to get that run back in the top of the second thanks to a leadoff double by Jayson Nix. Nix moved to third on a passed all and scored on a sac-fly by Chris Stewart.
In the bottom of the third, the Red Sox were able to pull the game to one run as David Ortiz drove a double to center, scoring Pedro Ciriaco, who reached on an “infield single” (that should’ve been scored as an error to Jeter). The Sox would go scoreless again until the eighth when Mike Aviles drove a double off the Green Monster to plate Boston’s third run. At that point, though, the Yankees already had seven runs of their own, having scored four more after Stewart’s sac fly. One of those came on a triple by Alex Rodriguez, a ball that was absolutely tattooed to centerfield; it would’ve been a home run in just about any other park. Andruw Jones added a single two batters later to make it 5-2, chasing Jon Lester from the game. Jones hit yet another homer in the seventh to cap the Yankees’ scoring.
Despite the bats putting up more run, the story of the night for the Yankees has to be Ivan Nova. He went six innings, surrendering only six hits–many of which weren’t particularly hard hit–and two walks while fanning ten, including striking out the side in order in the second. Nova struck out a batter in every inning he threw last night and his curveball looked particularly great.
The Yanks now head into the All-Star Break with the best record in baseball and the largest division lead in baseball.
Every Yankee starter, except Chris Stewart, had a hit.
Five different Yankee batters drove in a run.
Every Yankee pitcher, except Cody Eppley, had a strikeout.
Last night was Ivan Nova’s second double-digit strikeout game of 2012; he had one in 2011 and none in 2010.
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