For much of the first half of the season, the Yankees’ pitching staff has received lackluster support from the offense, but on Sunday night, the roles were reversed.
The Yanks got contributions from up-and-down the lineup, but starter Chase Whitley couldn’t record an out in the fifth inning, and neither Shawn Kelley nor David Huff was particularly effective out of the bullpen. The result was an 8-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox, as the Yankees dropped two of three in the weekend series with their struggling rival.
Whitley put the Yanks in an early hole, allowing an RBI single to Stephen Drew in the second inning and then a three-run homer to David Ortiz in the third. Ortiz saluted the home fans as he rounded the bases following his 450th career home run, much to the dismay of the sellout crowd.
The Yankees would rally, as Derek Jeter hit an RBI single in the bottom of the third and then Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran each hit solo shots in the fourth to cut the deficit to 4-3. But as soon as they grabbed some momentum, the Red Sox (38-44) swiped it right back.
Whitley issued a leadoff walk to Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fifth, which prompted manager Joe Girardi to call on Kelley. It was the second straight start poor start for Whitley, who has come back down to earth after a strong first month in his rookie season.
A key reliever for the Yankees (41-39) in the beginning of the season, Kelley has struggled since returning from the disabled list. He walked the next two batters to load the bases before Dustin Pedroia’s two-run single made it 6-3. Later in the inning, Daniel Nava would come home when Pedroia got caught in a rundown between first and second base.
Once again, the Yankees would rally in the bottom half of the fifth, as Ichiro Suzuki led off with a triple and came home on Brett Gardner’s RBI double. Gardner scored later in the inning on Jacoby Ellsbury’s RBI groundout to cut Boston’s lead to 7-5.
Huff proceeded to load the bases in the top of the sixth, but Dellin Betances kept the game from getting out of hand by recording six straight outs, with one run scoring on Pedroia’s sac fly to make it 8-5.
The Yankees had a chance to get something going in the sixth, but Beltran was thrown out at the plate following Kelly Johnson’s single. They finished with a total of eight hits, with Jeter and Beltran each having multi-hit games. Jeter now has a six-game hitting streak.
As expected, there was no retaliation from the Yankees after Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli was caught on camera referring to Masahiro Tanaka an “idiot” following his go-ahead homer in Boston’s 2-1 win on Saturday.
Associated Press photo