Sox stumble, Yankees take over first, 3-2

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Sox stumble, Yankees take over first, 3-2

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
For the first time since April 9 -- and just the second time this season -- the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox, 3-2, snapping a seven-game losing streak against the Sox.

The win moved the Yankees a game ahead of the Red Sox in the American League East standings, dropping the Sox out of first for the first time since July 6.

The Yanks erupted for three runs in the sixth off Jon Lester (11-5), who lost to New York for just the second time in 15 career starts.

Two walks that inning by Lester contributed to the rally. Eduardo Nunez worked a leadoff walk and scored two hitters later on an RBI-single from Curtis Granderson.

Derek Jeter crossed the plate on a double play ball and Granderson scored on Nick Swisher's double.

The Sox had taken a 1-0 lead in the third on a run-scoring double by Jacoby Ellsbury. The Sox added to their lead in the fourth when David Ortiz homered into the right field bleachers just behind the Red Sox bullpen.

Bartolo Colon was chased after 4 23 innings, but the Yankee bullpen pitched shutout ball for the final 4 13 innings, allowing just two hits in that span -- a two-out double by Carl Crawford in the sixth and an infield single by Crawford with one out in the ninth.
STAR OF THE GAME: Nick Swisher
Swisher was the only member of the Yankees' lineup to collect two hits. He had a single in the second and a double in the sixth.

The double, just inside the third base bag, came with two outs and scored Curtis Granderson with what proved to be the winning run.

HONORABLE MENTION: Boone Logan
After starter Bartolo Colon ran out of gas at 94 pitches, Logan inherited a bases-loaded situation with two outs in the fifth.

Facing Adrian Gonzalez, the major league leader in RBI, Logan struck out the first baseman on three pitches, then got two big outs in the sixth -- Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz -- before allowing a double to Carl Crawford.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Jon Lester
Lester shut out the Yankees for the first five innings, then seemed to lose the plate in the sixth when two walks led to a three-run inning for the visitors.
TURNING POINT: Lester walks Nunez
In the sixth, Lester quickly got ahead of Eduardo Nunez, the No. 9 hitter, 0-and-2. He then fell behind and walked him, setting in motion the three-run inning for New York.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5010
David Ortiz's solo homer in the fourth inning gave him 50 extra-base hits for 2011, marking the 10th straight year he's reached that milestone.
QUOTE OF NOTE:
"I have to do a better job of buckling down and getting that third out (in the sixth inning).'' Jon Lester, on the run-scoring double he allowed to Nick Swisher.

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

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As the annual winter meetings get underway today, the market for arguably the best free-agent hitter may be -- against all logic -- lessening.

Edwin Encarnacion, who has averaged 39 homers a year over the last five seasons, should be a player in demand.

But in quick succession, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, two teams thought to be in the market for Encarnacion, opted to go with older hitters who required shorter deals -- Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday.

Further, the Toronto Blue Jays' signing of Steve Pearce to a two-year deal Monday, coupled with their earlier acquisition of Kendrys Morales, closes the door on a potential return to Toronto for Encarnacion.

Seemingly, all of that would position the Red Sox, in search of a DH to replace the retired David Ortiz, to swoop in and land Encarnacion for far less than they could have imagined only weeks ago.

And yet, it appears as though things would have to change considerably for the Red Sox to reach agreement with Encarnacion.

While the first baseman-DH is known to be Ortiz's first choice as his replacement, for now, the economics don't work for the Sox -- even as Enacarnacion's leverage drops.

Encarnacion is expecting a deal of at least four years, with an average annual value around $20 million.

The Red Sox, industry sources indicate, are very much mindful of the luxury tax threshold. The Sox have, however modestly, gone over the threshold in each of the last two seasons, and even with a bump due to last week's new CBA, the Sox are dangerously close to the 2018 limit of $195 million.

Should the Sox go over for a third straight year, their tax would similarly ratchet up.

That, and the fact that Encarnacion would cost the Sox their first-round pick next June -- for this offseason, compensation for players given a qualifying offer comes under the old CBA rules -- represents two huge disincentives.

It's far more likely that the Sox will seek a cheaper option at DH from among a group that includes Pedro Alvarez and Mike Napoli. Neither is in Encarnacion's class, but then again, neither would cost a draft pick in return, or the long-term investment that Encarnacion is said to be seeking.

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason tells Toucher & Rich a story from his early days in Cincinnati when he witnessed Pete Rose overseeing five guys he paid to sign a stack of photographs for fans.