Up 8-3 through 6, the Yankees looked like they were cruising to a win. Wrong.
Alfonso Soriano hit his 30th homer of the year to put the bombers up 2-0 early. Eduardo Nunez and Brett Gardner both hit RBI triples to help cushion their lead, while Andy Pettitte rolled along 6 quality innings.
Everything was going right for the Yankees, but no lead is ever safe between these two bitter rivals. And on a night when the Yankees pen was short, Phil Hughes struggled in his first relief appearance of the year
With one run in, one out and the bases loaded, Boone Logan came in to clean up Hughes’ mess. The lefty struck out David Ortiz, and looked like he was going to get out if it without further trouble, but Mike Napoli had other plans. The righty first baseman has killed the Yankees all season, and he’d do it again, smacking a Yankee Stadium grand slam to right. Ichiro Suzuki looked like he had a beat on it , but he got turned around, and miss timed his jump, allowing the ball to hit off the top of the wall and go over for a game tying slam. It would’ve been a difficult catch, but a make-able one for Ichiro. Three of the runs were charged to Hughes, who ended up giving up 4 in just a third of an inning.
Preston Claiborne with another rough outing, allowing the go-ahead 2-run shot to Shane Victorino in the 8th.
The pitching, which carried the Yankees in the first half has really let down the bombers the last two. The pen was unable to hold a lead for the second straight night, and with so few games left on the schedule, this could be the nail in the coffin for a playoff run.
9 unanswered runs by Boston, and a 1-2-3 inning from closer Koji Uehara in the 9th, sealed the 12-8 comeback win for the Red Sox. Another win left on the table for Pettitte and the yankees, and it hurt.
With Cleveland and Baltimore both winning, it’s another crushing blow. They had put those two teams behind them in the wild card chase, but now they’ve fallen behind them again. They still have four with the orioles, and have to hope for help with the Indians. The yankees also need to hope the athletics and rays lose again, so they don’t lose even more ground.
Things don’t get much better for New York as they’ve got rookie David Huff going against John Lackey. A tired pen doesn’t get much of a blow with the day after a night game, and no days off until the 17th.