April 9, 2011: Yankees 9, Red Sox 4


April 9, 2011: Yankees 9, Red Sox 4

By ArtMartone

BOSTON -- TheRed Sox' Era of Good Feeling lasted a little less than 24hours.

Instead of being able to build on theirOpening Day win over the Yankees, the Sox on Saturday got yet anotherhorrific performance from their starting pitcher -- Clay Buchholz(right) wasthe culprit this time -- along with less-than-airtight relief fromFelix Doubront and Alfredo Aceves. In addition, they returned to theirwasteful ways at the plate (1-for-15 with runners in scoring position).

The result? A 9-4 loss that dropped their recordfor the season to 1-7.

As bad asthe hitting numbers may seem, it was Buchholz who dug the hole. Heallowed 11 baserunners (eight hits, three walks) in 3 23 innings, andleft the game trailing 5-2.

The horse had long sinceleft the barn, but TimWakefield worked two perfect innings at the end, and -- consideringBoston's pitching woes so far -- raised questions as to whether or nothis role will be enhanced going forward.

Player of the Game: RussellMartin

Rebuffed by Cliff Lee and never in the hunt for CarlCrawford, the Yankees' signing of the ex-Dodger star was regarded asone of their consolation prizes (Rafael Soriano was the other) in lastwinter's free-agent market. But he was no consolation to the Red SoxSaturday, as he had the second two-homer game of his career and tiedhis career high with four RBI.

His first homer, inthe third inning, was a three-run shot off Clay Buchholz that increasedthe Yankee lead from 2-1 to 5-1. And he provided the baseballequivalent of spiking the ball in the end zone with a solo blast offAlfredo Aceves in the seventh for the game's final run.

Honorable Mention:

Hard to find much honor in aloss as lopsided as Saturday's, but Pedroia continues to sparkle inwhat has been a dim Red Sox season to this point. He cracked threedoubles Saturday (lifting his average to .355), scored a run, drove intwo, and turned in defensive gems like the one at left on MarkTeixeira's sixth-inning grounder.

Pedroia got hisfirst double leading off the third and came around to score ongroundouts by Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis, cutting the Yankees'lead to 2-1. In the next inning, he ripped a two-out, two-run doubleoff the center-field wall -- the Sox' only hit with runners in scoringposition all afternoon -- that again brought Boston to within one run,this time at 5-4. The Sox bullpen couldn't hold it there, so by thetime Pedroia got his next double, leading off the ninth, the outcomehad long since been decided. But nothing bad that happened Saturdaycould be blamed on him.

The Goat: ClayBuchholz

Red Sox starters have thrown a grand total of 21 scorelessinnings in eight games so far this season -- 9 by Jon Lester, 5 byBuchholz, 3 each by Josh Beckett and Daisuke Masuzaka, and 1 by JohnLackey -- and Buchholz continued that disturbing trend Saturday. (Statcourtesy of Bill Chuck of billy-ball.com.)

He held the Yankees scoreless in order in thefirst, thanks in large part to a laser throw by Jarrod Saltalamacchiathat nailed Derek Jeter on a steal attempt. But he gave up two runs inthe second on an RBI grounder to Nick Swisher and run-scoring double byEric Chavez. Then, after the Sox had cut the Yankees' lead to 2-1, hestarted the fourth by walking Curtis Granderson, allowing anotherdouble to Chavez and surrendering the first of Russell Martin's twohome runs, making it 5-1.

Buchholz' final pitchingline: 3 23 innings, 8 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 3 walks, 2 strikeoutsand 92 pitches thrown.

The Turning Point

Despite their generalinability to get hits with men in scoring position, the Red Sox werehanging with the Yankees through three innings. When the Yanks wentahead, 2-0, they cut it to 2-1. When New York made it 5-1, they cameback and cut it 5-4.

But after Nick Swisher led off the top of the fourth with asingle, Curtis Grandersonwrapped a two-run homer around Pesky's Pole (left), putting the Yanksright back in front by three at 7-4. And that seemed totake the wind out of Boston's sails. The Sox didn't score another runthe rest of the way, and the Yankees got solo home runs from RobinsonCano in the sixth and Russell Martin in the seventh for the 9-4 final.

Stat of the Day: 385

That's how many homeruns the Red Sox are on pace to allow this year. (Stat courtesy of BillChuck of billy-ball.com.)

Impossible,you say? Do the math. They've allowed 19 in 8 games, a pace of 2.375homers per game. Multiply by 162, and you get 385. (Okay, okay, 384.75.Close enough.)

(The team record for most homerssurrendered in a year, incidentally, is 190, set in the juiced-ballseason of 1987.)

It would make scenes like the oneat right from yesterday -- fans in the Monster Seats reacting to a homerun -- pretty familiar.

Quote of Note

"Id probably have to say the RedSox. I would like towin a World Series in the National League, so the Phillies are inthere, too. But for the time Im going to be playing, I think Boston ismore suitable so that I can retire with the Boston Red Sox and go tothe Hall of Fame with the same hat."

-- Pedro Martinez, tellingthe New York Times he'd like to come back and pitch for a contender in2011. He says he'll be ready in "a month, amonth-and-a-half," and that the Red Sox are his firstchoice.

And, you know, the notion isn't asridiculous as it might have seemed eight gamesago.

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com.

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mitch Moreland knows he's likely the only new player in Boston's lineup since David Ortiz retired at the end of last season.

He's just not listening to those who say he needs to replace Big Papi's lofty production.

"I try not to hear it because there's no replacing that guy," said the 31-year-old first baseman, who signed a one-year, $5.5-million deal with the Red Sox during the offseason.

"I think it's going to be more of a team effort," he said. "Obviously we picked up two big arms as well, and it's a very balanced club."

After playing his first six-plus seasons in the majors with the Texas Rangers, Moreland is with a new organization for the first time in his career. So far, he said, the move has been smooth.

"They welcomed me from Day One," he said. "Handshakes and hugs right off the bat. It's going to be a lot of fun. You can see why they had so much success last year."

Coming off a subpar 2016 with a .233 batting average, 22 homers and 60 RBI, Moreland tested free agency. He wanted to go to a team that had a good chance at competing for a championship -- like he felt with the Rangers.

"Something that was at the top of my list as a player," he said. "If I was going to be on a team, I wanted a team that had a chance to win. It makes it that much more fun to come to the park every day when something's on the line and you're fighting for a chance to play in the playoffs, fighting to win the division and fighting to win a World Series."

A first-time Gold Glove winner last season, Moreland knows the defending A.L. East champion Red Sox wanted his defensive skills at first to allow Hanley Ramirez to shift to Ortiz's vacated DH spot.

"It gives you a little more confidence," Moreland said. "I take pride in that. That's going to be my main goal, to go out and show what they saw."

A left-handed batter like Ortiz, Moreland knows some people will expect him to fill the void offensively because of which side of the plate he bats from.

"I think it'll be a group effort picking up what will be missing," he said. "There's no replacing that guy."

Manager John Farrell also said the club needs to move on from Ortiz so Moreland and everyone else can relax and focus on their own game.

"David's effect on the lineup was felt by a number of people. We know opponents would game plan for David," Farrell said. "I think it's important for our guys - as we put David out of our mind, in a good way - that it's still a focus on what their strengths are in the strike zone."

The transition may be easy for Moreland so far, but one thing has certainly changed: spending spring training in Florida instead of Arizona.

"Fishing's a lot different than Arizona, so that's nice," he said.

NOTES: "We're getting a firsthand look to why he's been so successful and an elite pitcher," Farrell said after left-hander Chris Sale pitched batting practice. The Red Sox acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox in an offseason trade for four prospects. They also acquired right-handed, hard-throwing setup man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee . . . Farrell said righty Steven Wright, who missed the final two months of the season with a shoulder injury, "was unrestricted in his throwing." . . . The Red Sox will have a shorter workout Tuesday with the players association set to talk to the team and the organization's annual charity golf tournament in the afternoon.

Report from the Fort: Trenni and Lou discuss pitching

Report from the Fort: Trenni and Lou discuss pitching

Trenni Kusnierek and Lou Merloni comment on Tyler Thornburg's, Steven Wright's and Drew Pomeranz's work at Red Sox training camp on Monday.