BOSTON (AP) — CC Sabathia snapped out of his Red Sox funk, striking out 10 in six innings to beat Boston for the first time in five tries this season and lead the New York Yankees to a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.
The win was the Yankees’ third in 13 games against their AL East rival this season. Boston still leads the division by one-half game.
Sabathia (18-7) had been dominant against the rest of baseball this year, but 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA against the Red Sox. He threw a season-high 128 pitches, allowing two runs on 10 hits and two walks.
John Lackey (12-10) allowed five runs — four earned — on seven hits and four walks, striking out three. Nick Swisher had three hits, and Francisco Cervelli hit a solo homer in the fifth.
Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his 35th save.
When Cervelli came up again in the seventh, Lackey hit him in the back, sparking a bench-clearing staredown. In the first inning, Curtis Granderson took one off the end of the bat — or the hand, depending on whom you believe — and then Sabathia plunked Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off the bottom half.
After getting hit, Cervelli moved toward the mound as the dugouts slowly emptied and home plate umpire Ed Rapuano tried to maintain order. There was nothing more than jawing back and forth, and in the end Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild was ejected.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi watched the final out from the clubhouse. He was tossed after Rivera hit Jarrod Saltalamacchia with two outs in the ninth.
The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the second and made it 3-0 in the fourth when Robinson Cano hit an RBI double and scored on Eric Chavez’s single. After Boston cut the lead to 3-2 on Carl Crawford’s homer and an RBI double by Marco Scutaro, New York added Cervelli’s solo homer in the fifth and Derek Jeter’s run-scoring double play in the seventh that made it 5-2.
The Red Sox had 13 hits in all, but Saltalamacchia stranded seven and Adrian Gonzalez stranded five; each struck out three times. It was also a rough day at the plate for Jorge Posada, who left five men on and grounded into a pair of double plays, and Jeter, who returned after missing two games with a bruised kneecap, grounded out five times.
Notes: Game 2 of the series will match Phil Hughes and Josh Beckett. Beckett is 3-0 vs. the Yankees this season in four starts. Hughes is coming off a rocky start against Oakland, when he allowed six earned runs in 2 2-3 innings of a 22-9 Yankees victory. … Keegan Bradley, a Vermont native who won the PGA Championship this month, threw out the ceremonial first pitch and gave a big fist pump afterwards. … Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield won’t pitch in the upcoming series against Texas. Instead he’ll make his start against Toronto. Andrew Miller, Erik Bedard and John Lackey will face the Rangers. … Manager Terry Francona said RHP Clay Buchholz, on the 60-day disabled list with a stress fracture on his back, threw 25 times from 60 feet and did well in the limited workout. Francona said Buchholz will continue to rehabilitate slowly. “Whether this turns into him pitching (this season) or not, we don’t know, but it’s still exciting in the fact that he’s done so well to this point.” … Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez was out of the lineup, one day after receiving a cortisone injection for his sprained left thumb. Rodriguez said he hoped to play in the three-game series at Boston, but felt this weekend at home against Toronto was more likely.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)