Red Sox come up short against Yankees, 4-2


Red Sox come up short against Yankees, 4-2

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

Alfredo Aceves almost never loses. Daniel Bard seldom fails to protect a late-inning lead.

But when both pitchers slipped up in the seventh inning Thursday night, it proved highly costly for the Red Sox, who lost to the New York Yankees, 4-2.

They were almost bailed out in the bottom of the ninth when the Red Sox loaded the bases, but Mariano Rivera got Adrian Gonzalez looking for the final out.

The setback moved the Yankees back to within a half-game of the first-place Sox, as the Yanks posted their first series win in five tries against Boston this season.

Dustin Pedroia's two-run homer into the center field bleachers had given the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth, a lead they maintained with nine outs to go.

But Aceves, a former Yankee, issued a one-out walk, then hit rookie Jesus Montero, leaving two baserunnes for Bard. Russell Martin shot a line double to the bullpen wall in right, scoring both baserunners and Eduardo Nunez followed with a run-scoring single.

The loss was just the third in 26 career decisions for Aceves. Meanwhile, Bard, who entered the game with the most holds in the American League (31) had a rare stumble.

A.J. Burnett, in danger of pitching himself out of the Yankees' rotation, turned in his best start in weeks, allowing just two runs on five hits in 5 13 innings. Five New York relievers, capped by closer Mariano Rivera, held the Sox scoreless over the final 3 23 innings.

Jon Lester endured a brutal first inning in which he threw 43 pitches, though he allowed just one run. Lester didn't allow another, but because of his inflated pitch count early, was done after five innings.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the spring and Rusney Castillo had three hits to lead a Red Sox split squad to a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla. 

Sandoval, who has won back his third base job after missing nearly all of last season following surgery on his left shoulder, connected for a three-run shot, batting right-handed, against Rays starter Ian Snell in the fifth inning. The switch-hitting Sandoval had abandoned hitting right-handed in 2015, his last full season with the Red Sox.

He's hitting .353 this spring with a 1.051 OPS and 19 RBI.

Castillo, the Cuban outfielder signed to a seven-year, $72 million deal late in 2014 but again likely headed for Triple-A Pawtucket, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .368 this spring. Catcher Blake Swihart, also probably Pawtucket-bound, had two hits and is hitting .325.


Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Kyle Kendrick strengthened his bid for a spot in the rotation by allowing two runs in six innings and striking out six and Jackie Bradley homered as a Red Sox split squad played to a 3-3 tie with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Kendrick, 32, a non-roster invitee to spring training, allowed eight hits and a walk in his sixth start this spring. He's been the Red Sox best starter with an ERA of 2.17. 

With David Price out until May and lefty Drew Pomeranz still a question mark, Kendrick could find his way into the rotation behind Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Bradley went 2-for-3 with his third homer of the spring. He's hitting .244 in spring training games. 

The Phillies pushed across the tying run in the ninth off lefty reliever Robby Scott, the first run he's allowed this spring in 10 innings. 

The Minnesota Twins host the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:05 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.