Morales done in by homers as Sox fall in Game 1

Morales done in by homers as Sox fall in Game 1

Morales done in by homers as Sox fall in Game 1
BOSTON -- It was the series in which the Red Sox hoped they could climb right back into contention in the American League East. Instead, they are digging themselves in deeper.

In Game 1 of Saturday's day-night doubleheader, the Red Sox trailed from beginning to end, and suffered a 6-1 loss to the Yankees.

Franklin Morales had pitched so well in his first three starts in the rotation, but he plummeted badly in this one. The lefty was shelled for six hits -- including four home runs -- and six runs over 3 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out two.

"He had a tough time getting the grip on the ball," said Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach. "He was really hot and sweaty out there. You could see in between pitches, taking deep breaths. You know, he had a tough time getting in good pitcher's counts. Against a team like that, you get behind, they take advantage of mistakes."

Boston's season-high deficit in the American League East to the Yankees swelled to 9 1/2 games.

The Red Sox are 0-4 against their rivals this season while being outscored, 37-20.

"Nope, I'm not frustrated," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "I think we have a chance to win. We just have to keep them from scoring in the first inning and give the offense a chance, a feeling, that they can play their game. Catching up is tough."

After a strong climb to get five games over .500, the Red Sox have slipped back to the break-even point at 42-42.

For the second game in a row, the game got off to a demoralizing start for Boston. With two outs and Derek Jeter on first, Morales hit Robinson Cano. That wound up being very costly, as Nick Swisher hammered a three-run shot over the Green Monster, and Andruw Jones followed with a solo homer.

After giving up five in the first on Friday, the Sox gave up four this time. And this time, there was no furious comeback.

The Red Sox have a 6.21 ERA in the first inning this season.

"It's a little rough. They're trying as hard as they can, and maybe trying a little too much," said Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure. "It gets a little frustrating, but it's more frustrating for them. They're the ones out there. It's not a lack of effort. It's not a lack of preparation. It might be just trying too hard. It's a tough game at this level, and sometimes you have to be a little bit loosey-goosey, mix it up and go from there, and not put too much pressure on yourself."

The Yankees certainly didn't feel any pressure. They extended their lead in the fourth, when Jones led off by clearing the Monster again. And Jayson Nix gave the Yankees back-to-back homers for the second time in the game, launching one over the wall in left to make it 6-0.

"I tried to make my pitches, but today I missed," Morales said. "My two-seamer, I lost the command. That's going to happen. That's the game."

Freddy Garcia didn't give the Red Sox any momentum, instead mowing through them for most of the day.

The Red Sox didn't get their first hit until the fourth, when David Ortiz drilled a one-out single. Adrian Gonzalez and Mauro Gomez singled as well, with Gomez's knock plating Ortiz. But the promise of that rally dwindled to nothing with one swing, as Ryan Kalish -- who was optioned to Triple-A after the game -- hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

Another rally was snuffed out in the sixth on a questionable baserunning decision by Ortiz. After Big Papi opened the inning with a walk, Gonzalez lofted one toward the Monster. But Jones jumped up and snatched it before it hit the wall, and Ortiz, who was already around second base, couldn't get back to first in time and was doubled off. It looked like Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was nearly taken off the bag on the relay throw by Cano, and Ortiz objected to the call.

"He's seen a lot of balls go up in this ballpark," Valentine said. "You know, that was six inches away from being off the wall and it just came down in the glove. He almost got back."

The Red Sox had one bright spot from Game 1. Justin Germano, called up from the Minors earlier this week, tossed 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out seven.

"Yeah, I was just trying to eat as many innings as I can," Germano said. "I'm glad I was able to finish it and save the bullpen."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.