Red Sox give up four homers in loss to Yankees
There were no flyovers yesterday or impassioned speeches from the general manager. The buzz of the home opener faded away and it was just another baseball game for the Red Sox.
The resurgence lasted a day, and some anger set in after a 9-4 loss against the Yankees played before a Fenway Park crowd of 37,488 that grew more restless as each frustrating inning passed.
The Sox are 1-7 and so far have been unable to hit or pitch with any degree of effectiveness or consistency. Terry Francona was asked if this stretch of games was the worst in his eight seasons as manager.
“Oh, boy. I don’t want to think that. I don’t want to feel like that ever,’’ he said. “That’s not healthy. It’s not been a very good week. I don’t want to sit down there and feel like that. That doesn’t help anybody.’’
Given the talent on the $161 million roster and the spotlight on the team at the start of the season, it’s hard to imagine much worse.
The Sox are hitting .215 and yesterday were 1 for 17 with runners in scoring position. After Clay Buchholz allowed four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings, the starting pitchers are 1-5 with a 7.46 ERA. Take Jon Lester out of the mix and that swells to 9.10.
Dustin Pedroia was 3 for 4 with three doubles and two RBIs but was clearly annoyed in the clubhouse after the game, offering a few pointed comments before asking to be excused.
“We’ve got to pitch better, man,’’ he said. “[The Yankees] have a great offense but we gave up a lot of runs. It’s tough to score 10, you know what I mean? We’ll figure it out. We’ll come out [tonight] and keep playing.
“That’s what we’ve got to do. There’s really nothing you can say. We’ve just to play better. That’s it.’’
After failing to beat Yankees rookie Ivan Nova yesterday, the Sox will have to deal with CC Sabathia tonight.
Josh Beckett, who allowed 29 earned runs in 26 innings against the Yankees last season, will oppose him. As days pass, the pressure builds.
“Once the starting pitching figures it out, we’ll start to win games,’’ David Ortiz said. “But some games, they have pitched and we haven’t scored runs. We need to get on the same page.
“I think we feel OK as a team. It’s going to happen. But it has been hard so far.’’
A day after they beat the Yankees, 9-6, the Sox fell behind, 5-1, in the fourth inning as Buchholz was rocked.
Eric Chavez got his first hit as a Yankee in the second inning, an RBI double off the wall as the Yankees went ahead, 2-0. In the fourth inning, Buchholz walked Curtis Granderson before Chavez doubled again. Russell Martin followed with the first of his two home runs.
The Sox, who gave up four home runs yesterday, have allowed 19 homers while hitting only five.
“Everybody’s a little bit surprised,’’ said Buchholz (0-2). “We’re battling now trying to find ways to win games and it’s going to start with us as starters going out there and giving some innings.’’
Trailing, 5-1, the Sox scored three runs in the fourth inning as Pedroia hit a two-run double to center. Nova was pulled in the fifth inning, but David Robertson (1-0), Joba Chamberlain, and Luis Ayala combined on 4 2/3 scoreless innings.
The Sox left 10 runners on base, six in scoring position.
“That’s the key to the game,’’ said Adrian Gonzalez, who left four runners on base while going 0 for 4. “Any team that struggles with runners in scoring position isn’t going to win many games. They made the pitches that they needed to when we had the guys out there. We have to do a better job.’’
Gonzalez remains confident, almost as though he knows something everybody else does not.
“We definitely didn’t think we’d be in this position,’’ he said. “But it’s so early in the season, we’re going to recover just fine.’’
As the Sox missed chances, the Yankees piled on. Granderson wrapped a two-run homer around the Pesky Pole off Felix Doubront in the fifth. Robinson Cano and Martin had solo shots off former Yankee Alfredo Aceves.
Cano was 3 for 5. He is 20 of 44 (.455) with six doubles, three home runs, and 10 RBIs in his last 11 games at Fenway and is a career .367 hitter at the old ballpark.
That’s the best by any Yankees player with a minimum of 200 at-bats, and fifth in history.
“I wish I knew what it was because I would try and do it everywhere,’’ Cano said. “I think I just like big games.’’
Francona is trying to maintain a consistent public demeanor in the face of what has to be gut-wrenching disappointment. His focus is looking ahead, not back.
“Yesterday we’re all happy and we lost today,’’ he said. “We don’t have the ability to go back to last week except now play good tomorrow.’’