It is always a bit of circus when the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox get together, but Friday night’s festivities held more fireworks than even a typical battle between the rivals.
The Yankees led by what seemed to be a comfortable 8-3 margin after 6 innings, but then, the flood gates opened in a big way. Boston tied the game at 8-8 on the back of a 7th-inning grand slam from Mike Napoli, and in the subsequent inning, broke the game wide open thanks to a 4-run inning highlighted by another home run from Shane Victorino.
For New York, it was an epic bullpen meltdown, as four pitchers combined to allow all 9 runs over a 2-inning period. Phil Hughes was charged with 4 earned runs over just one-third of an inning, Boone Logan was given a “blown save” while allowing another run while recording one out, and the Joba Chamberlain-Preston Claiborne duo gave up the damage in the 8th inning.
The more positive end, obviously, comes from the Red Sox, who saw their offense utterly explode. The aforementioned grand slam from Napoli was the single biggest play of the night, but it simply highlighted a perfect 3-for-3 night from the Boston first baseman. In addition, Dustin Pedroia, David Ross, Will Middlebrooks, and Victorino each had multi-hit games, and the music didn’t stop until Boston amassed 15 hits and 12 runs.
When these two teams get together, nothing is surprising, but the meltdown by the Yankee bullpen could have long-lasting ramifications. New York now trails by 3 games in the race for the final Wild Card spot, and with the bullpen questions lingering, the outlook isn’t necessarily positive. It’s going to be an eventful September in the AL East.