Punchless Sox go quietly to Yankees, 4-1

Punchless Sox go quietly to Yankees, 4-1
April 10, 2014, 10:15 pm
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NEW YORK -- For the second straight night, the Red Sox were limited to just four hits. This time, however, one of them wasn't a three-run homer by David Ortiz.

A punchless offense managed just one run, as the Red Sox dropped their first meeting of the season with the New York Yankees, 4-1.

New York starter Michael Pineda allowed one run over six-plus innings. Pineda appeared to be pitching with an excessive amount of pine tar on his right hand, though the Red Sox apparently never lodged a complaint with the umpiring crew.

Clay Buchholz, coming off a horrid first start last Saturday at Fenway, pitched far better, allowing two earned runs over six innings. But thanks to some sloppiness behind him, he was also reached for two unearned runs.

Shutout over the first six innings, the Sox started to stir in the seventh when Daniel Nava, who had struck out in each of first two at-bats and was just 4-for-34 at the time, lined a homer to right, his first of the season.

When Xander Bogaerts followed with a single, that was it for Pineda. But lefty Cesar Cabral struck out both A.J. Pierzynski and Jackie Bradley Jr. and David Phelps finished the inning by retiring pinch-hitter Ryan Roberts on a groundout to short.

New York doubled its lead in the fifth on a solo homer from Dean Anna -- the first of his career -- and a single to left by Jacoby Ellsbury, which scored Derek Jeter (double) from second.

The Yankees took advantage of an error by third baseman Jonathan Herrera in the bottom of the fourth to take a 2-0 lead.

Leading off, Ellsbury sliced a slow roller that Herrera couldn't field cleanly, opening the way for the inning. Back-to-back singles from Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann and a double play from Alfonso Soriano produced the two runs, both unearned.

The Red Sox were held hitless by Pineda through the first four innings, with their first hit coming from Xander Bogaerts, who singled to open the fifth.

STAR OF THE GAME: Michael Pineda
After missing all of the last two seasons since being traded from Seattle, Pineda made his Yankee Stadium debut for New York -- and it was a good one. Pineda allowed just one run in six-plus innings, though he found himself at the center of controversy thanks to what seemed like a smear of pine tar on his right palm.

HONORABLE MENTION: David Phelps
With closer David Robertson down, the Yankees are shorthanded in the bullpen. Phelps helped out as closer du jour, facing seven hitters and retiring each one of them.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Jonathan Herrera
Herrera doesn't have a lot of experience at third and it's starting to show. Herrera muffed a routine chopper by Jacoby Ellsbury to open the fourth, leading to two unearned runs.

TURNING POINT: The Sox seemed to be building some momentum finally in the seventh when Daniel Nava homered and Xander Bogaerts singled off Pineda. But Cesar Cabral and David Phelps combined to retire the next three hitters and the Sox were turned back for good.

BY THE NUMBERS: David Ortiz (double) has reached base safely in his past 23 games against the Yankees since the start of the 2012 season.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "I became aware of it in the fourth inning and when he came out for the fifth inning, it looked like the palm of his right hand was clean. So that's the extent of it.'' John Farrell on allegations that Pineda was using pine tar.