Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis homer as BoSox take Yankees

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The Red Sox moved to 3-1 against the Yankees this year behind a strong effort from Clay Buchholz and homers from Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis in a 5-4 win.

Buchholz, who carried in a 6.25 ERA in six career starts against the Bombers and who took the loss in Boston’s lone defeat at Fenway Park in the rivals’ first series last month, allowed two runs over seven innings and struck out seven.  Russell Martin’s homer in the fifth over the outstretched glove of a leaping Jacoby Ellsbury accounted for the only damage.

It was a 2-2 game after six when Yankees manager Joe Girardi made the surprising call to bring Bartolo Colon back out for the seventh.  Colon was effective, having allowed just four hits, but he had already matched his season-high 99 pitches.

As it turned out, he threw just four more.    Girardi let him give up a line-drive single to Jarrod Saltalamacchia to start the frame and then pulled him in favor of Joba Chamberlain.  After a fielder’s choice exchanged Salty for Jacoby Ellsbury at first base, the Red Sox put on the hit and run and Dustin Pedroia singled past a covering Robinson Cano.  Gonzalez followed with a long sac fly to break the tie and then Youkilis homered to give Boston a 5-2 lead.

The Yankees came back against a wild Daniel Bard in the eighth, scoring one run on a wild pitch and putting the tying run on second with one out.  However, Nick Swisher struck out and Jorge Posada grounded out to end the threat.

In the ninth, singles from Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson against Jonathan Papelbon, with a defensive indifference thrown in, brought the Bombers to within one run before Mark Teixeira popped out to end it.

Girardi will take some fire in this one for leaving Colon in.  It always looks bad when a manager pulls his starter one batter into an inning.  The Yankees were on the opposite end of one of those Sunday, when the Rangers sent Dave Bush out for the fifth, watched Derek Jeter homer and then removed him.  If the pitcher is just one mistake away from exiting the game, why send him back out to make the mistake?

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.