Jon Lester walked the first two Yankees he faced last night and, after a Bobby Abreu fielders choice, the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out and the heart of the order up in the first inning. Lester then struck out Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi to strand both runners. Lester didn't walk another batter in the game and allowed just a pair of singles over the next six innings. By the time the Yankees picked up their third hit, they were trailing 7-0 in the eighth.
A two-out ground-rule double by Melky Cabrera in the eighth gave the Yankees just their second runner in scoring position of the night. Cabrera was stranded on second when Johnny Damon struck out. Derek Jeter, who made a costly error in the first inning, singled to start the ninth, but was promptly erased by a double play off Abreu's bat. One pitch later, Rodriguez flew out to give Lester a five-hit shutout. Lester needed just 105 pitches to complete the game, 71 percent of which were strikes.
Immediately after the game, Joe Girardi held a 30-minute closed-door team meeting. Johnny Damon and Andy Pettitte, who described his performance as "terrible," called the loss "embarassing." Girardi wouldn't divulge any of the details of his meeting, but was clearly fed up in his post-game press conference.
As for Pettitte, he was Bad Andy last night. More from the man himself: "I couldn't throw anything where I wanted to. Couldn't throw my fastball to either side of the plate. Couldn't throw my offspeed stuff for strikes. It was just an absolute horrible game."
It wasn't quite that bad. Pettitte only walked three men, and only one of those three scored. He was also hurt by his defense in the first inning when, with one out and two on, he got Manny Ramirez to hit a double play ball that would have ended the inning without a run scoring, only to have Derek Jeter's pivot throw sail toward the Yankee dugout, plating one runner and putting Ramirez in position to score on Mike Lowell's subsequent single. The two-RBI double that doubled the Sox's lead in the second inning was a well-placed flare over first base by Jacoby Ellsbury. Still, there's no real way to shine up six runs (five earned) in 4 2/3 innings. LaTroy Hawkins added another run in his lone inning of work to make the final 7-0 Red Sox.
If there were any positives to come out of last night's game for the Yankees they rested in a quartet of individual performances. Dan Giese retired all seven Sox he faced in relief of Pettitte, striking out three of them, including J.D. Drew and Manny Ramirez to end his stint. David Robertson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth and didn't allow a ball out of the infield. Robinson Cano continued his recent resurgence with a 2-for-3 night, his two singles representing 40 percent of the Yankees' hits off Lester. Cano is hitting .393 since being omitted from the starting lineup against the Astros on June 14. Finally, Melky Cabrera, who entered the game on an 0-for-18 skid, also went 2 for 3 against Lester. Both of Melky's hits were hard shots pulled down the left field line. One hit the retaining wall before it turns parallel to the foul line and kicked right to left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury who held Cabrera to a single. The second skipped over the parallel portion of the wall for a ground-rule double. Melky got the day off on Wednesday. Here's hoping that brief respite starts him off on a kick similar to that of his comrade Cano.
The Yankees come off this embarrassing loss and have to face Josh Beckett in a Fourth of July day game. Didn't take long for this series to sour, did it?