The Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox, 5-1, in the second game of the series on Wednesday night. With their win and the loss by the Detroit Tigers they are now four games behind them for the second wild card.
A key reason that they won the game was that Hiroki Kuroda was able to pitch seven innings and allow allow one run. He had eight strikeouts, which included striking out the side in the second, only allowed four hits and didn’t walk a batter. It was his 10th win of the season, third win in his last four starts and the first time he has won a game this season when pitching seven innings and allowing two runs or less. He had previously done so five times without a win.
This was the second straight start that the veteran had pitched seven innings and allowed two runs or less. 16 of his outs that he recorded didn’t reach the outfield as had had eight strikeouts and eight ground ball outs. The only extra-base hit that he allowed was in the sixth-inning, when Brock Holt slugged a double to left that scored Jemile Weeks, for Boston’s only run.
“The split and my sinker were OK, and the slider wasn’t as good, but I think I was able to pitch well today,” Kuroda said. “Looking at the Boston hitters last night, they were swinging really well, so I tried to make sure that I pounded the zone from early in the game. Every game we play from now on is going to be a must win game for us, so I just wanted to shift the momentum for our team.”
Offensively, the Yankees had not scored more than four runs since their last win on August 29 against the Toronto Blue Jays. They struggled with runners in scoring position during their three-game losing streak. In Wednesday’s win, they were an improved 4-7 with runners in scoring position and didn’t hit into any double plays. Brian McCann led the Yankees on offense as he was 4-4 with three RBIs and a homer. This comes after Tuesday’s game when he was 2-4 with a homer and two runs scored.
“I just found the holes when I hit them,” McCann said. “I felt good tonight, have been feeling good for a while now and just want to build off this. As a team we just want to keep winning. It’s about getting the win, this last month it is about getting as many wins as we possibly can.”
Brett Gardner hit the first of his two hits in the first inning after being thrown out of Tuesday’s game, but was caught stealing on a base running mistake. McCann’s homer to right off of Anthony Renaudo that scored Mark Teixeira in the second gave the Yankees all the runs that they would need.
In the fifth inning, after Ichiro Suzuki singled to load the bases, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a sacrifice fly to score Chase Headley. Derek Jeter lined out to right to end the inning, and luckily not getting a hit with the bases loaded and one out did not end up costing the Yankees in this game.
They scored their fourth and fifth runs in the seventh inning as Ellsbury hit a triple and then was sent home on a Gardner single, and then McCann’s single to right scored Jeter with the bases loaded.
Dellin Betances recorded two swinging strikeouts in the eighth lowering his ERA to 1.44. He has only allowed one run in his last nine appearances and his 122 strikeouts are second on the team. McCann 17th homer put him in second place on the team to Teixeira’s 20.
Martin Prado, who suffered a mildly strained left hamstring during Tuesday’s game and didn’t play on Wednesday, hopes to be cleared to play on Thursday. He is a key part of the offense since in his last 16 game he has hit .381 with four homers and 11 RBIs.
The rubber game of the series will be at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday. Chris Capuano will start his eighth game for the Yankees after previously pitching for the Red Sox, and Brandon Workman, who allowed seven runs in 3.1 innings on August 23, will get pitch for the Red Sox.