The Yankees don’t have a particularly dynamic defense, but they do have a reliable defense. It’s a defense that’s easy to take for granted because it’s greatest strength seems to be that it makes the routine plays. You never notice it until it has a night like tonight.
“You can’t give good teams extra outs,” Derek Jeter said. “We gave them way too many outs today. They capitalized on it, which was good on their part, but we gave them way too many outs. … We didn’t play well. I thought Phil did a great job. We can’t keep giving teams extra outs, and that’s what we did, especially when we were playing a team like that. They have some guys that can swing the bats. We gave them way too many outs and they capitalized on it.”
Until the Curtis Granderson and Darnell McDonald let that fly ball fall in the fifth inning, the Yankees seemed to be one their way to a doubleheader sweep. Phil Hughes has looked better, but he was getting through a Red Sox lineup depleted by injuries. Then the fly ball dropped. Then Jeter bobbled a grounder that would have been an easy out in the sixth. Then Russell Martin threw a ball into center field in the seventh (not long after Jayson Nix missed a ball that was initially ruled an error but later changed to a hit).
The Yankees came into this game with the third fewest errors in baseball, and they were actually playing pretty good defense today — Andruw Jones especially — before everything fell apart.
“Sometimes it’s hard to explain,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought there were some tough hops. There was some miscommunication. That, and giving up some two-strike hits, was probably our downfall tonight.”
• The ball that dropped in right-center was ruled an error on Darnell McDonald. Curtis Granderson said that was the wrong call, and said McDonald didn’t actually cause him to miss the ball. It certainly looked like McDonald made a difference, but Granderson said the error was his and his alone. “I just missed,” Granderson said. “It hit off the end of my glove. … I should have caught it.”
• Jeter on whether he could have turned two on the ball he bobbled in the sixth: “There’s a possibility, but we at least get one out.”
• Andruw Jones hit three home runs today, but he popped out with the bases loaded in the eighth. He and Girardi both actually said he took a good swing, just missed a four-seam fastball that stayed up a little more than Jones was expecting. “I just caught the bottom of the ball,” Jones said.
• Which did Jones like more, his catch at the wall to start a double play in the first game or the diving catch to end an inning in the second game? “The double play was better because we won,” Jones said.
• Jeter was bunting on his own when he tried to bunt for a hit in the seventh. He said the decision was based on where the third baseman was playing. Apparently the television showed Matt Albers say something to Jeter after the play, but Jeter said he didn’t hear it.
• Errors hurt Hughes, but he wasn’t at his best tonight. “My command within the zone was probably a little shaky,” he said. “Breaking ball wasn’t as good as it’s been. I didn’t really have my changeup going like I wanted to. Everything was kind of a tick off. … It was a grind today. I tried to get around some base runners. It seemed like there were guys on all the time, and they finally broke through with that bases-clearing double. It was really tough. I was just trying to make the best pitches I could, and it didn’t happen.”
• Girardi said it’s hard to tell how much the errors played into Hughes’ outing. “In the fifth, we gave them an extra out,” Girardi said. “In the sixth, we gave them an extra out, too. You don’t know if it makes a difference. He gave up an 0-2 hit, so he was probably getting near the end of his rope. We gave them some extra outs, which maybe cost us and cost him a little bit.”
• The 10 hits were the most Hughes has allowed since May 28 in Anaheim. He’s 1-3 with a 9.41 ERA in his five career starts at Fenway. “When I didn’t have my best stuff, it was tough,” he said. “Just going to go into the break, refresh my mind, forget about this one and think back to the starts when I was throwing well and get back on track.”
• Girardi on why he pinch hit Raul Ibanez over Alex Rodriguez in the eighth: “Ibanez has pinch-hit more. He’s been a DH more this year. That way I didn’t have to put A-Rod in the field, as well. Ibanez has seen him more than A-Rod has, so there were a couple different things. A-Rod was going to hit next, so my hope is that I’m going to hit both of them that inning.”
• Girardi on hitting Rodriguez for Russell Martin in the ninth: “I thought (Martin) had some pretty good at-bats tonight. He had a walk, as well. No one ever wants to be pinch-hit for, I don’t care who you are. I didn’t ever want to be pinch-hit for, so I understand that frustration. But Al’s a guy that has historically gotten on base more and that’s what you’re trying to do; trying to get baserunners.”
• Martin did snap his 0-for-30 stretch with a second-inning single.
• Cory Wade was packing his bags at the end of the game. His return to the Yankees bullpen brought more of what he showed in the last few weeks. “You look at the fastball that Sweeney hit, he was trying to go in and it drifted back across the plate,” Girardi said. “At times his location was good, but at times he made some mistakes.”
• All of the Yankees runs today, in both games, came on home runs.
Associated Press photos