Shaky Defense Costs Red Sox In 5-2 Loss To Yankees

Leon Halip

The Red Sox got off to a strong start, particularly on the mound, but late defensive gaffes by substitutes cost them in a 5-2 loss to the Yankees.

The Red Sox defense faltered in the late innings, and the Yankees took full advantage, scoring five times in the last four frames to earn a 5-2 win in Jet Blue Park.

The good news for the Red Sox is that they led for most of the major league portion of the game. Ryan Dempster set the bar high early, throwing three impressive and remarkably efficient innings for the Red Sox. Coming in under 30 pitches for his outing, Dempster allowed an infield single to the first batter he faced in Brett Gardner, erased him with a double play, then retired the last seven batters he faced, striking out two. He kept the ball on the ground, and did so despite throwing almost exclusively strikes.

The offense was not quite as impressive, with the Sox going down in order on ground balls in the first. Mike Napoli changed that in a hurry, though, getting underneath a high fastball and hitting a towering shot out over the center field wall for a solo shot in the second.

That would give the Sox their only run of the first eight innings, but for a while it held. Koji Uehara and Andrew Miller would follow Dempster's example with clean innings in the fourth and fifth, with Miller striking out the side in his frame. Only when the minor leaguers and non-roster invitees started appearing on the field did things go south.

While Joel Hanrahan was the man on the mound when the Sox collapsed in the sixth, frankly he didn't deserve the three runs put up on him by the Yankees. After striking out Zoilo Almonte to get the inning started, Hanrahan had a flare to center fall in, and then could only watch as an easy ground ball found its way past a bumbling Drew Sutton and into left field, allowing Bobby Wilson to reach on an error. From there the Yankees started to carousel their way around the bases on weak ground balls, a couple of walks from Hanrahan, and even another error from Sutton. While the walks are on Hanrahan (and of some concern after 2012), there wasn't much he could do to save that inning.

Ultimately Junichi Tazawa would be called upon to end that particular crisis, striking out Melky Mesa to close out the inning with the Sox now trailing 3-1. He would strike out two more batters in a clean seventh as well, looking every bit like the dominant pitcher of 2012. Andrew Bailey, however, did not fare so well. Still, while Bailey twice allowed hard contact in giving up a run on two double in the eighth, he too can blame the defense some, as Pedro Ciriaco should have been able to turn the first one of those into an out. Unfortunately, though, Ciriaco was out in right field, and showed his inexperience out there by taking a terrible route and undercutting the ball. In the end, it likely cost Boston a run.

The final tally for New York would come off of Pete Ruiz, who allowed a home run to Thomas Neal. The Sox managed to get a run home in the ninth courtesy of some wild pitches, but in the end it wasn't close to enough.

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