May 15, 2011: Red Sox 7, Yankees 5

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May 15, 2011: Red Sox 7, Yankees 5

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

NEW YORK -- It took almost exactly one-quarter of their season, but, finally, the Red Sox are at .500.

Digging out from their 2-10 start, the Red Sox edged the New York Yankees, 7-5, Sunday night for a sweep of their three-game series and a 20-20 record. Boston is 5-1 against the Yankees this season.

The Red Sox got a three-run homer from Kevin Youkilis to tie the game at 4-4, then used solo homers from David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to go ahead. A costly error by Alex Rodriguez in the seventh also led to a run.

Jon Lester walked four and gave up two homers, but settled down after the first two innings and limited to just one singles over his final four innings, improving to 5-1.

Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon combined for the final three relief innings. The Yankees managed an unearned run off Aceves in the seventh on an error by Carl Crawford, but Bard fanned Nick Swisher with two on and two out to turn back the Yanks' best chance.

The sweep of the Yankees was just the third in Yankee Stadium for the Red Sox in the last 25 years.

Player of the Game: Kevin Youkilis

Youkilis had two hits, but the big one was a three-run homer off Freddy Garcia in the third inning that allowed the Red Sox to erase what had been a 4-1 Yankee lead.

Garcia had his way with Youkilis in two other at-bats, striking him out in the second and again in the fifth. But when Youkilis connected, it was the biggest hit of the game.

Honorable Mention: David Ortiz

The American League Player of the Month for May in 2010 is unlikely to win the honors again, given how hot teammate Adrian Gonzalez has been, to say nothing of Toronto's Jose Bautista.

But he's still having a big month and on Sunday night he added three hits -- a single in the second, a double in the third and a solo homer in the fifth.

The Goat: Alex Rodriguez

In addition to going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in his first three at-bats -- he later added a double -- Rodriguez made a critical error that led to an important insurance run for the Red Sox.

Turning Point: A-Rod's gaffe

The Sox had runners at first and second and one out when Kevin Youkilis hit a grounder to Alex Rodriguez at third.

It seemed like Rodriguez might be able to step on third for a force-out and go to second for an inning-ending double play.

Instead, Rodriguez allowed the ball to go under his glove and Dustin Pedroia rounded third to score the sixth run for the Red Sox.

By the Numbers: 9-4

After starting the season 0-7 on the road, the Red Sox are 9-4 in their last 13 games away from Fenway.

Quote of Note:

"We've come a long way since 0-6, but we've still got a lot of work to do.'' -- Kevin Youkilis on reaching .500.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

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Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

BOSTON — Matt Barnes has been coping with more than just a few bad outings on the mound, and he’s asking for help.

The Red Sox set-up man made some mechanical corrections that paid off in the eighth inning Monday night, when he struck out all three Twins he faced in a 4-1 Red Sox win at Fenway Park.

“I just simplified the mechanics,” Barnes said afterward. “Two days ago, I was trying to get with more of an up, down, and out approach. I felt better in that outing. I know I gave up a run and walked the one guy, but I felt better around the zone. And then just kind of went into a slide step, doing what Andrew Miller was doing.”

Barnes allowed four runs spanning his previous three outings, retiring just four batters while walking five. But Barnes has had a lot more to worry about than just a brief professional rut. 

He’s been devoted to helping his girlfriend, Chelsea, through the unexpected loss of her father, who was diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke

"Her father passed away [May 27]. That’s why I wasn’t in Baltimore for the two days [in early June], I was at his funeral,” Barnes said. "It’s tough, dealing with that, and she’s obviously having a hard time with it. She’s got her good days and her bad days. But it’s not easy. He was sick for a little while, and unexpectedly passed a lot faster than anybody ever expected him to. So, it’s been tough. She’s been alright, considering.”

There are a ton of medical bills still to be paid. A fundraising page has been set up to help the family with some large medical bills, and Barnes has asked on Twitter for people to spread the word if they’re able to.

“I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with her which is nice,” Barnes said of his girlfriend. “Everybody who’s helped out with donations and spreading the page, I couldn’t be more grateful, and she couldn’t be more grateful.”

Barnes is a big leaguer, but he’s still young and making the major league minimum. For every $1,000 total donated, Barnes plans to send a signed baseball to a random donor.

“I felt like it was a nice way, if they’re going to help me out, I can at least do that in return for them,” Barnes said.

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

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Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

BOSTON - The way Chris Sale and the Boston relievers were pitching, the Red Sox didn't need to score a lot.

Sale went 6 1/3 overpowering innings with nine strikeouts, Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the third straight game and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Monday in a matchup of two of the AL's top teams.

"When you've got him on the mound, all you need is a couple and he's going to do the rest," Moreland said. "Obviously, tonight was another example of that."

Dustin Pedroia had two hits and drove in a run and Moreland added a sacrifice fly for Boston, which kept pace with the New York Yankees atop the East.

The Red Sox started fast, grabbing a 2-0 lead just four batters into the first.

"When the guys score early for you, it's nice," Sale said. "It settles you down a little bit and allows you to throw strikes."

Coming off a three-game sweep in Cleveland that had jumped them over the Indians into first in the Central, the Twins' offense was stymied by Sale and three relievers. The loss coupled with Cleveland's win over Texas moved the Indians back a half-game ahead.

Sale (10-3) gave up one run and four hits, increasing his major-league strikeout total to 155. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 21st save after Matt Barnes struck out three in the eighth. Heath Hembree faced one batter, getting a double play.

The 6-foot-6 Sale relied on his usual sharp-breaking slider and fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s to fan eight over the first six innings, getting the initial half dozen with his breaking pitch.

"It's what we've seen many times. He had a nice mix," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think the biggest trouble we had was with that slider, especially down and in to righties."

Jose Berrios (7-2) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Chris Gimenez had a solo homer for Minnesota.

"When you go against a guy like Chris Sale, you try to give 110 percent," Berrios said through a translator.

Boston jumped ahead when Moreland homered into the first row of Green Monster seats after the first run scored on a double-play grounder.

Berrios had given up just two runs in each of his previous four starts, and six of eight since being promoted on May 7.

Gimenez's homer completely left Fenway Park over the Monster.