Yanks End 5 Game Losing Streak with Win Over Red Sox
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 1- The pressure was on the Yankees on Friday night. After losing a season-high five straight contests, the last four to the crosstown rival New York Mets, the Yankees began a weekend series with the leaders of the American League East, the Boston Red Sox.
To add extra stress to their situation, Jon Lester was their mound opponent. The experienced left-hander had previously compiled a 10-4 mark against New York and an 8-2 record in the Bronx. Lester earned the win over Friday’s starter for the Yanks, C.C. Sabathia, on Opening Day.
The Yanks counted on Sabathia to stop the losing streak as he usually does. Contrary to his starts during the past month, the Yankees ace pitched superbly. In 7.1 innings, only one run was scored off him. Dustin Pedroia led off the seventh with a double, and was driven across the plate on a double by Mike Napoli. Other than those two doubles, Sabathia allowed only four scattered base hits. He did not walk a batter and tied his season high with 10 strikeouts.
In the past two seasons, 2012-2013, Sabathia recorded a 9-2 record in 13 starts following a Yankees loss. He pitched at least seven frames and allowed three earned runs or less in 12 of the 13 starts.
Yankees skipper Joe Girardi commented about Sabathia’s effectiveness on Friday, “[He had] good location of his fastball. [His] slider was really good. He stayed ahead of the hitters for the most part.” The manager attributed the change to the weather, “When it warms up, he’s usually on a roll.
Although the increased velocity of Sabathia’s fastball was noticeable, his catcher Chris Stewart said of the improved performance, “I think it was more location than velocity.”
Two of the stars of the regular lineup, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis, returned to action after long absences. Teixeira missed all 53 regular season games with a right arm torn ECU sheath and Youkilis did not see action in the last 23 contests after suffering a lumbar spine sprain. Each of the two contributed to the victory.
Teixeira led off the two run second inning by drawing a base on balls. He scored the first run of the game after his walk was followed by a double by Vernon Wells and a run scoring single by Jayson Nix. The second run of the inning was scored on a single by Ichiro Suzuki.
Youkilis drove in the third Yankees run with a two out single to left in the fifth.
Of their return, Girardi remarked, “I think their impact is big. It changes our lineup. It gives us a better balance.”
Stewart, like most players, praised the difference with them in the lineup, “Having them in the lineup is going to make the pitchers work harder.”
The New York win reduced Boston’s margin over them in the A.L. East to one game
Phil Hughes (2-3) will start game #2 on Saturday night against Felix Dubront (3-2) for Boston.