Red Sox strike early, improve to 6-1 versus Yankees

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The Red Sox jumped all over Freddy Garcia on Tuesday, knocking him out in the second inning before holding on to win 6-4 over the Yankees.  They’ve taken six of seven games from the Bombers this season.

Jacoby Ellsbury started the contest with a leadoff homer to right.  After that, a Dustin Pedroia walk, an Adrian Gonzalez triple and a Kevin Youkilis sac fly made it 3-0 with just one out in the first.  When the Red Sox scored again in the second, Garcia was pulled in favor of Luis Ayala.

At 1 2/3 innings, it was tied for the second shortest start of Garcia’s career.  He gave up five runs in 1 1/3 innings for the White Sox in a loss to Oakland last year.

The Red Sox won despite another shaky outing from Jon Lester.  The southpaw gave up three runs and eight hits in his six innings of work.  He never had a one-two-three inning until the sixth, and he surrendered Jorge Posada’s first two hits against a left-handed pitcher this season.

Thanks to the quick sixth, Lester did manage a quality start in this one.  However, he has a 6.17 ERA in his last six outings.

The game also featured a couple of injuries.  Mark Teixeira had to be helped off with a knee contusion after getting hit by a Lester pitch in the first.  Bobby Jenks, who is just off the DL, left in the seventh with what appeared to be back spasms.

Obviously, not a whole lot went right for the Yankees in this one.  Hector Noesi’s performance was the exception.  Coming in as the team’s third pitcher of the game to start the fourth, he pitched six innings in relief, allowing two runs.  He retired 13 straight after David Ortiz’s two-run homer in the fifth.

That he was able to finish the contest and save the pen could play a big role in the remaining games in the series.

One can’t help but wonder if Ortiz might get buzzed up and in Wednesday’s rematch.  He pulled off quite the bat flip following his homer tonight, and he’s looking awfully comfortable at the plate anyway.  Joe Girardi certainly noticed.

And one more note: Derek Jeter went 2-for-5 in this one, leaving him 12 hits shy of 3,000.  His first hit should have been ruled an error on Boston shortstop Marco Scutaro, but we’ll give the official scorer a pass this time: hindering Jeter’s chances of reaching the 3,000-hit plateau at Yankee Stadium probably wouldn’t have been great for his health.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.