More column inches have been devoted to the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox than the other 28 teams combined. This is a slight exaggeration, but not far off the mark.
Then again, the Yankees have been baseball’s most-famous and decorated team with 27 World Series titles, and the Red Sox are much-beloved throughout New England, and have a national following.
At ancient Fenway Park this past weekend, the pair faced off for three American League East skirmishes with Boston (70-43) taking two of three including Sunday’s 10-inning 3-2 thriller claimed on Josh Reddick’s game-clinching single.
The Yankees (69-44) were in front 2-1 on homers by Eduardo Nunez in the fifth and Brett Gardner in the seventh.
Boston tied it at 2-2 in the ninth when light-hitting Marco Scutaro (four hits) doubled off closer Mariano Rivera and scored on Dustin Pedroia’s sacrifice fly. Scutaro’s hit in the second made it 1-0.
In addition to beat writers and columnists, noted non-fiction author Gay Talese was on hand to profile Yankees Manager Joe Girardi for an upcoming magazine piece.
Saturday’s contest belonged to Jacoby Ellsbury, who drove in six runs as the Red Sox pounded out a 10-4 victory, snapping New York’s eight-game winning streak.
Ellsbury, a super-fast center fielder with surprising power, lined a three-run homer (19th) down the right-field line in the fourth inning.
Ellsbury also had a run-scoring fly in the third, and a two-run single up the middle in the eighth. Ellsbury’s six runs batted in was a career-high, and he now has 72.
Nick Swisher doubled and singled with the latter driving in the go-ahead run in Friday’s 3-2 victory by the Yanks.
Swisher’s hit came in the sixth and helped New York overcome a 2-0 deficit when David Ortiz rocked a solo homer (21st), and Ellsbury added an RBI.
C.C. Sabathia (16-6) started for the Yankees on Saturday, and was pushed around by the Red Sox, who garnered nine hits, seven runs (earned), and beat him for the fourth time this season.
The big left-hander worked a perfect first and second before Carl Crawford led off the third with a double. Crawford scurried home on Ellsbury’s sacrifice fly that made it 1-0. It became 2-0 when Pedroia doubled off Sabathia, who struck out six with one walk.
New York responded with a two-run fourth after Curtis Granderson singled, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. Mark Teixeira walked and Robinson Cano was hit by a John Lackey pitch.
A one-time Angels hurler who won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series, Lackey (10-8) gritted out six innings, allowing six hits, three runs (earned), striking out five and walking two.
Swisher rapped into a double play that made it 2-1, and Eric Chavez added an RBI single that tied it at 2-2.
Ellsbury’s three-run shot was part of a five-run fourth that also saw Crawford and Scutaro add run-scoring singles.
Derek Jeter’s hit in the fifth made it 7-3, and Teixeira’s homer (32nd) in the eighth to right field sliced the lead to 7-4.
It was that kind of weekend. There will likely be more.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, and is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.