By HOWIE RUMBERG
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Manager Terry Francona took input from his
players in writing a revamped lineup and sent his ace to the mound.
Yet the Boston Red Sox lost yet again.
David Ortiz has another idea.
“What you got to do right now is laugh, just see if you can
fool somebody,” the big designated hitter said.
Derek Jeter capped a six-run second inning with a three-run
homer, rookie Jesus Montero had four RBIs in finishing a triple shy
of the cycle and the New York Yankees stunned the reeling Red Sox
early in a 9-1 victory Saturday.
Boston dropped to 4-15 since holding a nine-game lead over the
Rays in the AL wild-card race heading into play Sept. 4. Tampa Bay
closed within 1 1-2 games of Boston with a 6-2 win over Toronto.
The Red Sox and Yankees play a day-night doubleheader Sunday
before Boston travels to Baltimore for a season-ending three-game
series. Francona is done with of all the talk of fixing the Red
“Now it’s up to us to go win,” he said. “We know what’s in
front of us, we just have to play better.”
Freddy Garcia (12-8) pitched six innings of six-hit ball, making
his case for the No. 3 spot in the Yankees’ postseason rotation.
Before a regular-season record crowd of 49,556 at the new Yankee
Stadium, the AL East champions used their “A” lineup for the
opener of a series pushed back by a rainout Friday. They quickly
roughed up Jon Lester (15-9).
By the ninth, all the starting position players except Nick
Swisher were out of the game. After the game, they clinched
homefield advantage throughout the AL playoffs when Detroit lost to
Montero hit the fourth homer of his brief big league career,
doubled in two runs in the third and had an RBI single in four
at-bats. Russell Martin backed his declaration of dislike for the
rival Red Sox with a two-run single.
Heading in, the numbers added up for Boston: 6-0 at Yankee
Stadium this year and 11-4 against New York overall. Lester had
beaten Garcia twice this season and had won each of his last four
starts in the Bronx.
Francona sought input from his players and coaches after
Friday’s rainout and shook up his lineup, moving Carl Crawford to
the second spot and dropping Adrian Gonzalez to fifth with Dustin
Pedroia hitting third.
But it all unraveled in a span of six batters in the second.
“A disappointing game,” Francona said. “We didn’t finish a
couple of plays, and they made us pay.”
With runners on first and second, shortstop Marco Scutaro went
deep into the hole to field Andruw Jones’ grounder. He seemed to
have a chance to get the lead runner at third base but stumbled
slightly and had to throw across his body to second. His throw was
late, leaving the bases loaded.
Montero then hit a sharp grounder out of Scutaro’s reach for the
first run. Martin followed with a sinking liner to left field that
hit off the glove of a sliding Crawford for two more runs.
“I just tried to make a play at it. Didn’t make it,” Crawford
Jeter, whose batting average is up to .297 after a first-half
slump, followed with a drive into the right-field seats to make it
6-0. Before the game, the Yankees captain carried the bat Roger
Maris used to hit his 61st homer onto the field as part of 50th
Lester gave up a two-out, two-run double to Montero in the third
and was done, having given up eight runs. After Lester retired his
first four batters, the Yankees were 8 for 12 against him.
The short outing _ 55 pitches 2 2-3 innings _ might make it
easier for Francona to use Lester on short rest in Wednesday’s
Boston’s starters fell to 3-10 with a 7.34 ERA in the last 19
Garcia allowed 15 runs in his last three outings but kept Boston
at bay with a mixture slow breaking pitches. On his final batter,
Garcia fielded Scutaro’s comebacker and nonchalantly pounded the
ball in his glove before tossing to first.
“His stuff was really good today,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi
said. “He used all his pitches. That’s what Freddy does. What he
did today is what he’s been doing most of the year for us.”
Girardi wouldn’t commit to giving Garcia a spot in a postseason
rotation that will include CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova.
“He’s definitely one of the guys that we’re considering. Freddy
is a guy who’s been there and done all that,” Girardi said. “So,
as we move forward, we<ll continue to look at all these things. But
today, he pitched great.''
Montero, the Yankees' top prospect, connected off Junichi Tazawa
in the sixth for his fourth homer in 51 major league at-bats. All
his home runs have gone to the opposite field in right.
“I put really good swings on the ball today and made some
runs,'' Montero said.
NOTES: The game lasted 2 hours, 59 minutes _ speed baseball as
far as these two teams go. … Yankees RHP Phil Hughes (back) threw
35-40 pitches in a bullpen session. He said he felt no pain and
expects to pitch in Tampa Bay next week. He said he didn't object
to pitching out of the bullpen in the postseason if that's what
manager Joe Girardi decides. “Just being part of it is special,''
he said. … Francona said he's still unsure how Kevin Youkilis
(sports hernia) can help the team. “He's will to try to do
anything we ask him to do,'' Francona. The Red Sox are going to
give it a couple more days to see how he feels. … Michael Jordan
watched the game from a suite. … Boston's John Lackey and Tim
Wakefield face A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova in the split-doubleheader
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)