BOSTON (WFAN/AP) — The Yankees’ bats finally came to life against Josh Beckett.
Phil Hughes was looking fairly sharp, then suddenly a moth flies into one of his eyes and the Bombers again unravel against the Red Sox.
Yep, a moth.
Brings back memories of a Yankees’ playoff loss in Cleveland when a swarm of small bugs called midges unraveled reliever Joba Chamberlain against the Indians in 2007.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the sixth inning and Beckett improved to 4-0 against New York, sending the Yankees to their 11th loss in 14 games against the Red Sox this season with a 9-5 defeat on Wednesday night.
New York had just scored four runs against Beckett in the sixth to grab a 5-4 lead.
Then, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Phil Hughes (4-5) retired the first batter. He got ahead of Josh Reddick 0-2 before walking him on a 3-2 pitch as the moth flew into one of his eyes.
“From what I heard a moth flew into his eye when he made the 3-2 pitch,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “You can’t stop it and can’t get a redo.”
Reddick then scored the tying run on Jason Varitek’s double down the third-base line. After Marco Scutaro flied out, left-hander Boone Logan came in to face lefty Ellsbury. On a 3-and-1 count, Ellsbury hit his 24th homer into the left-field seats above the Green Monster.
“I really didn’t want to tell you guys that, because I can obviously see what is going to come from this,” said Hughes. “Yeah, yeah, a moth flew in my eye on the 3-2. That’s why I yanked it. That’s why I missed my location by eight-feet. It was the cherry on top of that inning. What are you going to do? That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
That was it. Three runs against the Yankees after one moth.
“A couple of mistakes that basically cost us,” Hughes said. “I made some mistakes that cost us the game.”
The Red Sox, who lost the series opener 5-2 on Tuesday night, extended their AL East lead over the Yankees to 1½ games and improved their record to 11-3 this season against their division rivals.
David Ortiz and Varitek also hit two-run homers for Boston.
The Yankees’ four runs in the sixth off Beckett (12-5) were the same amount they managed in his other 32 innings against them this season. Beckett allowed four earned runs and six hits through seven innings. He struck out eight and walked three.
Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon each pitched a scoreless inning and the Red Sox improved to 62-3 this season when leading after six.
The Yankees had taken a 1-0 lead in the third on Derek Jeter’s RBI single. The Red Sox went ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the inning, scoring on Dustin Pedroia’s groundout with runners at second and third and on Jed Lowrie’s RBI single.
Jeter got his second single in the top of the fifth, moving into 20th place all-time, ahead of Craig Biggio, with 3,061 career hits. He was left stranded.
Boston made it 4-1 in the fifth on Ortiz’s homer deep into the center field bleachers after Adrian Gonzalez singled. It was Ortiz’s 28th homer of the year and extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
The Yankees regained the lead in the sixth, helped by an error by right fielder Reddick.
Mark Teixeira was hit by a pitch leading off the inning, took second on a wild pitch by Beckett and scored on a double by Robinson Cano. Nick Swisher then walked and Eric Chavez followed with a liner down the right field line. It got by Reddick and Chavez was credited with a double. The error allowed him to take third and Swisher to score. Eduardo Nunez’s sacrifice fly put the Yankees on top 5-4.
Varitek gave the Red Sox a four-run cushion in the eighth with his 10th homer.
Notes: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left thumb. … Red Sox 3B Kevin Youkilis, on the DL since Aug. 18 with a low back strain, played his second straight rehab game for Triple-A Pawtucket and can be activated on Friday. … Boston RF J.D. Drew missed the second game of his scheduled two-day rehab assignment at Pawtucket on Wednesday night with a sprained middle finger. He was hurt Tuesday night when he went 3 for 3. Plans for the Red Sox to activate him on Thursday may change. He went on the disabled list on July 26, retroactive to July 20, with a shoulder injury. … Yankees C Russell Martin, with a sore left thumb, missed the game. Manager Joe Girardi said he planned to use him Thursday night in the finale of the three-game series. But he left the clubhouse with his left thumb wrapped after the game. … Struggling RHP A.J. Burnett (9-11) faces LHP Jon Lester (14-6) on Thursday night.
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