After the bullpen cost them a crucial game on Thursday night that would have helped their chances in the playoff race, the New York Yankees needed to rebound from that loss and get a win over the Boston Red Sox in Friday night's game at Yankee Stadium.
With the Yankees looking to rebound from an ugly loss like the one on Thursday, they were turning to an old reliable in Andy Pettitte to get the team back on track; and he was on his game for the Yankees against Boston in his latest outing.
The Yankees gave Pettitte some early run support when Alfonso Soriano crushed a two-run home run off starter Felix Doubront to give the Bombers an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
The Red Sox got one of the runs back in the top of the second inning when David Ross' RBI single made it 2-1. The Yankees continued their strong effort against Doubront in the bottom of the second inning when Eduardo Nunez's RBI triple made it 3-1 and then Chris Stewart's sacrifice fly scored Nunez to make it 4-1.
In the top of the fourth inning, Stephen Drew's RBI groundout cut into the Yankees lead at 4-2, but the Yankees continued to hammer Boston and Doubront when Brett Gardner's two-run triple gave the Yankees a 6-2 lead.
In the top of the fifth inning, Will Middlebrooks' solo home run off Pettitte made it 6-3, but that was all of the offense the Red Sox offense could muster against Pettitte, who was keeping the Red Sox lineup in check.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Vernon Wells' RBI single made it 7-3 and then Mark Reynolds' RBI single made it 8-3. Pettitte continued to keep the Boston's offense off the board and his strikeout of Ross was a milestone, as he recorded his 2,000th career strikeout, the first ever Yankees pitcher to hold that accomplishment. Pettitte left the game going six strong innings, allowing three runs on five hits, walked three and struck out eight and left the game with the lead in tact.
However, Joe Girardi's biggest mistake was who he decided to use in the bullpen, which started with starter-turned-reliever Phil Hughes, who only recorded one out and allowed Dustin Pedroia's RBI single to make it 8-4. Girardi then brought in Boone Logan to face David Ortiz, who strick him out with the bases loaded for the second out, but face off against Mike Napoli, who proceeded to hit a grand slam into the right field seats and tied the game at 8-8. With one inning, Pettitte's great start was wasted due to the bullpen's ineffectiveness.
In the top of the eighth inning and now facing a struggling Preston Claiborne, Shane Victorino continues to kill the Yankees in 2013 by hitting a two-run home run to give Boston a 10-8 lead
Later in the inning, Daniel Nava worked a bases loaded walk against Joba Chamberlain to make it 11-8 and then Drew's RBI single made it 12-8, which was enough for Boston to get the win and take the second game of the series over the Yankees in their own building.
For the second night in a row, the Yankees bullpen was ineffective and cost them a second straight game where they could have won the first two games of the series. Brandon Workman got the win for the Red Sox and improved to 5-2 while Claiborne took the loss, which dropped him to 0-2.
The Yankees offense had been doing the job, scoring eight runs in each of the two games, but the bullpen has been what has killed the Yankees in each game. On Saturday, David Huff (2-0, 3.32 ERA) will try to get the Yankees off the two-game skid as he will oppose Red Sox veteran John Lackey (8-11, 3.22 ERA.)
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