Honestly, the Yankees and Red Sox actually did a pretty good job going head-to-head for the first half of the game, thanks to an oddly paired match of starting pitchers. A longtime Red Sox veteran nearly matched rookie Luis Cessa to start for their respective teams. Cessa threw 64 pitches through 5 innings, gave up 6 hits, no walks, and 3 runs, and struck out just 1 batter.
The Red Sox and Yankee made things interesting right from the top of the game. In the 1st, the lead-off batter singled but then got thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. Cessa hit the next batter with a pitch, who then advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch and then scored on a single. Oddly, that batter also got thrown out trying to go to 2nd on that play. The first one made sense, as he was a speedy base runner, but the second guy is definitely not a runner in any sense of the word.
The next batter singled and then took off for 2nd. Initially, he was called out, but Boston challenged and the replay showed he was safe. He then scored on another single to give the Red Sox a nice lead. They added to this with a 1-out solo home run in the 4th inning.
The Yankees didn’t dent into the Boston starter until the 5th inning. Mark Teixeira led-off with a single and moved to 2nd on Mason Williams’ single. Two outs later, Gary Sanchez doubled and scored both Teixeira and Williams to get the Yankees on the board.
The Yankees went to their bullpen in the 6th inning, opting for James Pazos, who in 2 pitches gave up a double. It was Jonathan Holder’s turn on the mound, and he loaded up the bases with a single and a walk. A sacrifice fly scored a run before Holder got a nice strikeout. A ground-rule double scored one more run, and it was onto the next reliever.
During the next at-bat, Chasen Shreve threw a ball into the dirt, though it was not ruled as a passed ball or wild pitch as he and Sanchez worked together to get the guy trying to steal home. A rather beautiful out to end the inning. But when the Red Sox came up to bat again, Shreve’s first batter in the 7th (the same guy who he faced at the end of the last inning) hit a solo home run into the right field seats.
So it was onto Kirby Yates who loaded the bases with a single, a double, and an intentional walk. The next batter ground into a double play, but the guy from 3rd still scored a run. Ben Heller closed out the 8th, breezing through the Red Sox in 14 pitches.
The Yankees were stalled a bit offensively in the mean time, thanks in part to the good bullpen the Red Sox continue to show once again. But they managed to eke a bit through in the 9th inning. With 1 out, Teixeira worked a walk. Billy Butler came in to pinch-hit and hit a 2-run home run to the last row of the Green Monster. When the pitcher hit Gardner with a pitch, he was pulled for the Red Sox regular closer who then breezed through the next 2 Yankee batters in 9 pitches and 2 strikeouts.
Final score: 7-4 Red Sox.
Okay, I have to give a brief shout out to Mason Williams who was basically in the game to make some pretty amazing outfield plays. Like a running grab in the 5th, and nearly a run-saving leaping catch at the right field wall in the 8th. Williams has always been a rather reliable outfielder when he’s made the routine detours through the replacement roster for the past few years, so it’s nice to see him back once again.
In minor league news: the RailRiders won their International League championship. Next up they will travel to Memphis the winners of the Pacific Coast League on September 20. Many of the players on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team have made the Scranton Shuttle trip quite often this year, and many currently on the Yankee roster have contributed to the RailRiders success this year. They are, by the way, the best team in their league, with a record of 91 wins and 52 losses (a .636 average) during the regular season. Spring Training veteran Jake Cave was awarded the MVP award for his outstanding contributions offensively.