Red Sox 8, Yankees 5: Bats wake up against Whitley, Sox take series

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

John Lackey was not at his best, but Boston's bats were up to the task of staying ahead of the Yankees Sunday night in New York.

The Red Sox bats were awake Sunday night, with Dustin Pedroia staying hot, David Ortiz going deep, and Mookie Betts collecting his first major league hit in an 8-5 victory over the Yankees.

After being shut down by Masahiro Tanaka for most of Saturday's game, the Red Sox welcomed the opportunity for some easier competition in the form of Chase Whitley. Still, it took them a while to actually start firing on all cylinders. David Ortiz was to blame for a wasted opportunity to open the scoring in the first, grounding into a double play on a 3-0 pitch after singles from Daniel Nava and Dustin Pedroia left New York's starter in danger in the first. And while the second inning did bring a run, it came thanks to a Mike Napoli double that was more of a pop-up than anything else, dropping in down the left field line after hanging in the air for quite some time. Stephen Drew did the honors of bringing him home with a single before Mookie Betts' first career at bat ended in an anticlimactic double play, albeit a well-hit one.

If the scoring in the second inning was uninspiring, the third brought some real legitimate fireworks. Or at least one nice volley. With Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia on base, David Ortiz absolutely crushed a 0-1 fastball to right. Any ball hit that way has a chance to get out, but this shot was not cheap, finding its way past the first full section of seats and earning a classic Ortiz bat flip to boot.

John Lackey hadn't had much trouble the first time through the lineup, making the 4-0 lead feel pretty significant. The second time through, however, brought quite a bit of trouble. As with the Red Sox, New York's first run was not impressive, the baserunner coming from Brock Holt's high throw to first on an Ichiro Suzuki ground ball, and the RBI being a Derek Jeter ground ball single through the right side. Lackey wasn't exactly falling apart.

The fourth inning was a different story. After Betts picked up both his first base hit and his first caught stealing to end the top half of the frame, Lackey got into serious homer trouble in the bottom half. Mark Teixeira provided the first of the inning, wrapping a long ball just fair around the right field foul pole, and Carlos Beltran made it two just a couple at bats later. Boston's lead had quickly gone from four runs to one.

Luckily for the Red Sox, that was when the Yankees forgot how to throw strikes. Whitley found himself out of the game after starting the top of the fifth off with a walk to Jackie Bradley Jr., but his replacement in Shawn Kelly was no better, producing just two strikes in ten pitches to Brock Holt and Daniel Nava. The red-hot Dustin Pedroia proved slightly less patient, swinging at a 1-1 pitch, but also slightly more productive, flipping the ball into right field for a two-run single.

The attack largely died out there, with Daniel Nava only managing to score when Pedroia got picked off and caught in a rundown, but the lead was back up to four. John Lackey wasn't exactly up to the task of keeping it there, giving up a couple of line drives to right to give two back in the bottom of the fifth, but Mookie Betts led off the sixth by drawing a walk, moving to third on singles from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt, then scoring on a Pedroia sacrifice fly.

Dellin Betances managed to limit the damage from the bases loaded, zero outs situation to just that one run, but it was already more than enough. Boston's bullpen showed its usual quality in support of the shaky John Lackey, with Burke Badenhop, Andrew Miller, and Junichi Tazawa bridging the gap to Koji Uehara, who snapped off three outs to give the Sox the series win over the Yankees.

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