Sadly enough, you could call this a return to form. A starting pitcher failing to escape the fourth inning, four home runs allowed, mediocre bullpen outings, and a 1-for-17 performance with runners in scoring position. All the things that sent the Red Sox to six straight losses to start the season came together once again to stop their winning streak before it even started, as the Yankees cruised to a 9-4 victory.
Coming into the year, the question for Clay Buchholz was whether he'd be able to back up his lucky 2010 season with a strong performance in 2011. So far, no good: Clay hasn't brought his peripherals up to match his production, but through two starts isn't even managing the peripherals he did last year. The Yankees took advantage of Buchholz' shaky fastball control, getting into good counts and picking up eight hits including a home run off of him, striking out only twice while drawing three walks. Clay had his changeup on for the most part, and even dropped some impressive curves in, but a few hangers and the difficulties with the fastball just proved too much to overcome.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, were not much kinder to Ivan Nova. While the Yankees starter did make his way into the fifth inning, he couldn't keep the Sox from always closing in on New York. With a 2-0 lead in the third, a leadoff double from Dustin Pedroia led to the first run for the Sox. And after the Yankees scored three more in the fourth, it was again Pedroia with a double-this time with two outs and two on-to cap off a three-run inning and get the Sox within one again.
It was when the bullpens got into the game that everything changed. Leading off the fifth inning, Nick Swisher lined a single into left field, and then scored on a Curtis Granderson home run to right. In the sixth, it was Robinson Cano going deep against Alfredo Aceves-a feat matched by Russell Martin in the seventh (his second homer of the game). The Sox could not match the four run attack from the Yankees, stranding two runners in each of the fifth, eighth, and ninth innings.
The Red Sox move to four back of the Yankees with the loss, and find themselves up against an early-season wall in tomorrow's game. A five game deficit against a contender is far from desirable in April.