The Yankees defeated the Red Sox 10-8 last night without hitting a home run, just their second win this season without a homer, but they put on another power display this afternoon.
Franklin Morales was knocked around for six runs over just 3 1/3 innings as a Bombers cruised to a 6-1 win in the first game of a doubleheader.
Morales gave up four runs in the first inning, including a three-run home run by Nick Swisher and a solo shot by Andruw Jones. He served up back-to-back homers to Jones and Jayson Nix to begin the fourth inning and was pulled two batters later. The 25-year-old southpaw had allowed just four earned runs over 18 innings in his previous three starts and entered today’s action with a 2.51 ERA overall. It went up to 3.50 with the clunker, though he still has a good chance to keep a rotation spot even after Clay Buchholz returns from the disabled list.
Freddy Garcia was excellent against a weak Boston lineup, allowing one run on six hits over 6 2/3 innings while striking out five and walking a pair. The only run scored when Mauro Gomez, who was filling in for third baseman Will Middlebrooks, delivered an RBI single in the fourth. CC Sabathia is expected to return from the disabled list after the All-Star break, so the Yankees will have to decide whether Garcia or David Phelps will remain in the rotation. Phelps gave up one run over 4 1/3 innings against the Rays on Wednesday while striking out eight.
The Yankees have won each of their first four games against the Red Sox this season. They’ll look to stay undefeated when Phil Hughes squares off against Felix Doubront in the nightcap.
CC Sabathia‘s contract with the Yankees expires after the 2017 season but the lefty feels that he has enough left in the tank to pitch in 2018 and beyond, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports.
Sabathia said, “I just know myself. I know I feel like it’s not my time yet. Barring any crazy injuries I know I can pitch past next year. I feel like this is just the beginning of what I’m trying to do. I feel like there’s a lot more still to learn and a lot better to get. It’s exciting.”
The 36-year-old lefty currently holds a 4.02 ERA and a 144/63 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings. It’s his best and healthiest season since 2012. He battled a knee injury last season and checked into rehab for alcohol addiction last October. Sabathia said that being treated for his addiction put him “in a good spot.”
Sabathia is owed $25 million through a vesting option for the 2017 season.
The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.
A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.
For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.
This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.