Yankees beat up Sox in Ellsbury's return, 9-3

Yankees beat up Sox in Ellsbury's return, 9-3
April 22, 2014, 10:30 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

Jacoby Ellsbury returned to Fenway and Masahiro Tanaka visited for the first time. Both made themselves right at home Tuesday night.

Ellsbury, who left the Red Sox last winter to sign as a free agent with the Yankees, had two hits, two RBI and two runs scored while Tanaka tamed the Sox into the eighth inning, leading to a one-sided 9-3 victory for the New York Yankees.

Ellsbury, booed roundly, nearly homered in his first at-bat before settling for an fan-interference triple. He later added a two-run double in the fifth.

Tanaka, making his fourth major league start, fanned seven and didn't walk a single hitter.

Jon Lester, who had been superb in his first four outings, gave up 11 hits and eight runs, though, thanks to some shoddy defense behind him, only three of those were earned.

The Sox committed two errors, the most damaging of which was an error by usually sure-handed Mike Napoli, whose failure to glove a liner hit by Brian Roberts led to four unearned runs.

Thought he wasn't helped much by his defense, Lester was hardly blameless, with four walks in 4 2/3 innings. Coming into Tuesday's start, he had walked
just four hitters in his previous starts combined.

Until the ninth, the only two runs for the Red Sox came in consecutive at-bats in the fourth when David Ortiz and Mike Napoli belted back-to-back homers. Ortiz's was one of hardest-hit and longest in recent memory, traveling well over the home bullpen, just to the right of the Triangle.

The game marked the third straight game in which the Red Sox allowed the opponent a minimum of four runs before they managed one of their own.

STAR OF THE GAME: Masahiro Tanaka

The Yankees had worried some about having Tanaka face the Red Sox this early in the sesson, but their fears were unfounded. The rookie lasted 7 1/3 innings and allowed just two runs while striking out seven and walking none. If this was his first true test in the big leagues, he passed it with ease.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jacoby Ellsbury

Ellsbury was in the middle of everything, from his first at-bat when he was awarded a triple after his ball hit off the center field wall was touched by a fan in the bleachers, to a diving catch he made in the bottom of the inning to rob Grady Sizemore of a hit, to a two-run double in the fifth.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Jon Lester

Lester wasn't given much support from his defense, which failed to make some plays in the outfield and made errors that led to five unearned runs. But he didn't help himself much, either, walking four and allowing some hard-hit shots in what was, by far, his worst start of the young season. 

TURNING POINT: After homers by David Ortiz and Mike Napoli had sliced the New York lead in half, an error by Mike Napoli led directly to four unearned runs in the fifth, putting the game well out of reach. 

BY THE NUMBERS: According to ESPN, Ortiz's homer in the fourth inning was the longest - estimated at 482 feet -- was the longest he's hit since at least 2006.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was a key situation in that game....(T)hat would have been the final out. It let them have a big inning. I just didn't make the play.'' - Mike Napoli on his costly fifth-inning error