After two of the most frustrating losses of the year, Steven Wright gave the Red Sox exactly what they needed, and the lineup turned to the long ball to give him all the support he needed, and a good deal he didn't.
At this point, I think even Steven Wright's most ardent of supporters are kind of expecting a game to go badly. That's nothing against Wright, mind. At this point, even Clayton Kershaw has had a poor performance. Wright's worst to date? Six innings, two runs against the AL-leading White Sox.
His best? This is it. A complete game on 101 pitches, and one batter away from a shutout. The Yankees could just do nothing against the knuckleball. He allowed a single in the first, and then erased a second-inning walk by starting an inning-ending double play, and that was part of a start that looks sketchy compared to the rest of his outing. The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth would all see the Yankees go 1-2-3.
To Luis Severino's credit, he was having quite the night himself, striking out Red Sox batter after Red Sox batter in the early and middle innings. But his sketchy start was...quite a bit worse than Wright's. He walked Mookie Betts on four pitches to open the game, then missed up in the zone with a fastball to Dustin Pedroia. The second baseman sent a fly ball into right, and as can happen in this park, it just sailed right on over the wall for a two-run shot. And no matter how good Severino looked against seven-of-nine Red Sox, there's just no stopping David Ortiz right now. First in the fourth, and again in the seventh, Ortiz launched towering solo shots to make it 4-0 for Boston.
Wright wouldn't quite manage to escape the game untouched. The Yankees threatened seriously in the seventh, but had their small hope extinguished when Starlin Castro broke for home on a pitch that didn't bounce nearly far enough away from Ryan Hanigan. Castro realized he'd have no chance, tried to return, and was promptly thrown out by Hanigan. With two outs in the ninth, Brett Gardner would finally get New York on the board with a solo shot to right, but at that point it would only serve to make up for the fourth Boston homer of the night on an unassuming line drive from Xander Bogaerts that had enough deceptive power behind it to make its way into the bullpen in left.
So it's not the series the Red Sox were hoping for, but it's certainly the finale. More excellence from Ortiz, Pedroia showing once again what he can do while healthy, and Xander hinting at the one part of his game we're still waiting on. And of course, one more fantastic start from Steven Wright, who simply refuses to let this dream start to his season come to an end.