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.

Dodgers upset with Héctor Neris after Thursday’s game

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July hasn’t treated Phillies closer Héctor Neris well. Entering Thursday, he had allowed runs in three of his last four appearances, blowing two saves in the process. His struggles continued as he allowed a two-out solo home run to Alex Verdugo in the bottom of the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon, closing the deficit to 7-6. Thankfully for the Phillies, he was able to get the final out, getting Justin Turner to fly out to right field. An excited Neris looked into the Dodgers’ dugout and yelled an expletive.

The four-game series between the Dodgers and Phillies had quite some drama. After Matt Beaty hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning on Tuesday, Neris threw a pitch at the next batter, David Freese, seemingly in frustration. Neris was suspended three games. He appealed his punishment, which is why he’s been allowed to pitch. In the fourth inning of Thursday’s game, Max Muncy and Beaty stepped on first baseman Rhys Hoskins‘ ankle on consecutive plays. That, along with his own struggles, explains why Neris might’ve been amped up after closing out the ballgame.

The Dodgers were, understandably, not happy about Neris yelling at them. Several players shouted back, including Clayton Kershaw and Russell Martin. An unamused Muncy glared at Neris. Martin suggested to Neris that they meet in the hallway.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the game, “I think we played this series the right way, played it straight. To look in our dugout and to taunt in any way, I think it’s unacceptable. Look in your own dugout.”

Muncy said, “He’s blown about eight saves against us over the last two years. I guess he was finally excited he got one. Whatever.”

Neris attributed his outburst to emotions, saying, “It’s a great win for my team and just I let my emotion get out.”

In baseball, everyone is pro-showing-emotion when it’s himself and his teammates, and against when it’s players on the other team. Muncy got into a back-and-forth with Giants starter Madison Bumgarner after flipping his bat and watching his long home run at Oracle Park last month. Bumgarner jawed at him and Muncy said, “I just told him if he doesn’t want me to watch the ball, go get it out of the ocean.”

Neris, however, is the last guy on the Phillies who should be antagonizing the Dodgers after his terrible decision to throw at Freese, not to mention his overall poor performance against them. The Phillies were pigs in mud who wanted to wrestle and the Dodgers jumped in with them for some reason. Thankfully, the two teams are done playing each other for the rest of the regular season.