By Ian Browne and Bryan Hoch
MLB.com |@BryanHoch |
BOSTON -- Facing the Yankees for the first time, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez exuded the same unflappable demeanor as in all of the other firsts of his rookie season. Backed by E-Rod, the Red Sox notched an important 5-3 victory over the Yankees on Saturday night at Fenway Park.
Over 6 1/3 innings, Rodriguez gave up five hits and two runs. He walked one and struck out two as Boston moved within 5 1/2 games of first-place New York in the American League East.
"Settings that he's not been in, we continue to learn a lot about him," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I think everyone in our clubhouse knows the importance of tonight, this stage, and he continues to grow each time he walks to the mound. He was in command tonight."
The Red Sox went ahead for good when Hanley Ramirez launched a two-run homer in the fourth.
Alex Rodriguez had staked the Yankees to a short-lived 1-0 lead in the first by belting a solo shot over the Monster. It was A-Rod's second first-inning homer in the series.Jacoby Ellsbury also connected for a sixth-inning homer, the first of his career against Boston.
Ivan Nova gave up eight hits and four runs over 6 2/3 innings for New York, taking the loss.
"If you look at the game, I think I only made one big mistake, the fastball away to Hanley," Nova said. "He put a good swing on it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Ramirez on power tear: Ramirez's rocket to right-center in the bottom of the fourth was his fourth homer over the past eight games. The left fielder has 19 on the season and is swinging the bat the way he was in April.
"It gives us a lot of balance. If he's swinging good and I'm swinging good, definitely the rest of the lineup is going to swing good," said David Ortiz, who added two hits. More >
Calling for relief: Yankees manager Joe Girardi called to the bullpen in the seventh inning with Nova at 86 pitches, reasoning that Betts had doubled his last time up. With a runner at second and two outs, Adam Warren couldn't put out the fire, surrendering Mookie Betts' run-scoring triple to right-center field that eluded Chris Young to put Boston up by two runs. Xander Bogaerts later legged out a run-scoring infield single to chase Warren.
"It's frustrating, because I felt like I made some decent pitches," Warren said. "I just didn't get the results I wanted. Betts' ball just carried more than I thought it was going to. I just didn't get the outs. You've got to keep going out there and trying to make pitches."
De Aza again a spark:Alejandro De Aza continues to make things happen nearly every time he plays. The outfielder helped the Red Sox to a run in the third when he led off with a single, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by catcher John Ryan Murphy. De Aza made a nice diving catch on a sinking liner by Rob Refsnyder in the sixth. De Aza got things started again in the seventh with a one-out single to left, and he wound up scoring on a clutch, two-run triple to right by Betts. More >
Welcome to 'The Show': Rob Refsnyder, rated the Yankees' No. 5 prospect by MLB.com, made his Major League debut at second base and went 0-for-3. Refsnyder grounded into a double play in the third, lined out hard to right field in the sixth and popped to first base in the eighth. Girardi said that he thought the 24-year-old handled himself well on both sides of the ball, and Refsnyder is expected to start Sunday afternoon's series finale.
"It was quite an experience," Refsnyder said. "It's a dream come true, obviously. Humbling. A lot of people have helped me get to this moment, so it's really special and obviously I would have like to have got a hit and helped the team win, but it's something I'll remember for the rest of my life." More >
"Two strikes, I came in a few steps. Playing a little more shallow trying to guard against the base hit. He put good wood on the ball. I tried to just turn my head and get to a spot as quick as possible because if you're running and trying to look at the same time, you just can't gain as much ground. Took off to my spot and when I looked back up, it faded a little more than I thought, and the ball beat me to the spot." -- Young, explaining his imperfect route on Betts' seventh-inning triple
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Since June 18, the Red Sox are 12-0 when they allow three runs or fewer.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (8-2, 4.45 ERA) will try to complete his first half on a strong note as the Yankees wrap up their three-game series with the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET. Eovaldi is coming off a 5 1/3-inning, two-run no-decision vs. Oakland on Tuesday. He's 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts vs. Boston this year.
Red Sox: Lefty Wade Miley (8-7, 4.50 ERA) draws the start Sunday in the final game before the All-Star break. Of late, Miley has pitched well, going 3-1 with a 3.26 ERA in his past five starts. Miley is 0-1 with a 3.65 ERA in two starts against the Yankees this season.