5 Losses in a row
From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez winced as he paced near third base, staring into his glove with an expression of disbelief, as though he might suddenly find a huge hole about the size of a baseball.
In a week filled with team lowlights, an easy ground ball shooting between Rodriguez’s legs was the capper. The Yankees wrapped up an awful homestand with a 7-5 loss to the Red Sox, their season-high fifth straight.
“Not good,” Rodriguez said. “We can talk about it over and over again; the bottom line is, we’ve got to play better. We’ve got to play winning baseball.”
Rodriguez evoked memories of Bill Buckner’s iconic miscue in the 1986 World Series with his misplay of a Kevin Youkilis grounder that gave the Red Sox an all-important seventh-inning insurance run.
“It seems like when things are going bad, they’re going bad,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s going to turn around.”
Boston rolled to a three-game sweep of the Bombers, powered by David Ortiz’s fifth-inning broken-bat homer off Freddy Garcia, a low line drive that just cleared the right-field wall.
Yankee Stadium has been good to the home team since opening its doors in 2009, but Garcia wasn’t writing a love letter tonight. It was the first time the Yankees were swept at home in a series of at least three games.
“This ballpark, that’s the way it plays,” Garcia said. “Nothing you can do about it — 314 [feet]. What can you do?”
The Yankees were doing plenty of shrugging, especially during a weekend that saw Jorge Posada revive memories of the George Steinbrenner era, removing himself from Saturday’s lineup and engaging management in a dispute.
Posada apologized to Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman before Sunday’s game, and the Yankees — taking cues from Hal and Hank Steinbrenner — announced they would consider the matter closed.
The right-field Bleacher Creatures included Posada in their roll call, even though he was not in the lineup, and there was a standing ovation when Posada pinch-hit in the eighth inning against Daniel Bard.
Posada worked a full-count walk but would be stranded, and that wasn’t uncommon on this lost weekend. Left-hander Jon Lester limited the Yankees to four runs and entrusted his bullpen to hang onto the lead.
“That’s what people expect us to do,” Ortiz said of the sweep. “When you combine good hitting with good pitching, that’s what you’re supposed to get, right?”
One of the five runs charged to Garcia was of the unearned variety, as Youkilis reached on a second-inning Russell Martin passed ball and scored on a Jed Lowrie sacrifice fly.
“I think we’re much better than what we’ve played defensively,” Girardi said.
Youkilis tied the game in more traditional fashion in the third, connecting with a full-count offering for a three-run homer, his seventh.
“That inning, I’m really disappointed,” said Garcia, who has lost three of four starts. “I gave up the lead. [It’s] 4-1, and I can’t hold them. … This week has been bad for us.”
Andruw Jones and Curtis Granderson homered to lead the attack against Lester, who scattered five hits in six innings.
Mark Teixeira lined a run-scoring single in the first inning and Jones led off the second by turning on an offering and powering it into the left-field seats.
With Martin aboard, Granderson slugged a two-run blast, his 13th.
It was also Granderson’s sixth home run off a left-handed pitcher this season, pushing the center fielder past his previous career high of five homers off southpaws, set in 2008.
“Lester’s one of the top pitchers in the game,” Granderson said. “Any runs you can score against him is always a good thing. But it’s definitely not over.”
Lester settled in and kept the Yankees off the board for the next four innings, including ending the fourth by picking Brett Gardner off first base.
“Any time you don’t play well against a rival or a team in your division, it’s a missed opportunity,” said Gardner, who was going first-move on Lester.
New York closed the gap to a run in the seventh off Alfredo Aceves, as Rodriguez ripped a double down the left-field line that was misplayed by Carl Crawford, allowing Granderson to score on the error.
But Bard came on and — after intentionally walking Robinson Cano — struck out Nick Swisher swinging, stranding the potential tying and go-ahead runs aboard.
“It’s kind of been a situation where all of us have been going through [a slump] together,” Swisher said. “I’ve just got to keep fighting, keep battling. When it does turn, it’s going to get good. Really, really good.”
Jarrod Saltalamacchia padded Boston’s lead by taking Joba Chamberlain deep for a solo homer in the eighth, his first with the Red Sox.
A-Rod bounced out for the final out, ending a homestand that saw the Yankees notch just seven hits in 44 at-bats with runners in scoring position over their last five games.
“It seemed like Boston came in here and did exactly what we do to other teams — keep at-bats alive, fouling off pitches, battling and getting big hits,” Rodriguez said. “And we’re not doing it.”
|Rodriguez, A, 3B||5||0||1||0||0||2||2||.250|
|Jones, An, DH||3||1||1||1||0||1||1||.237|
|Garcia, F(L, 2-3)||5.1||6||5||4||2||4||2||3.22|