The Yankees entered tonight's game with a chance to secure their first sweep at Fenway Park since the memorable five-game sweep in August 2006, and they did not disappoint. Jacoby Ellsbury continued his red-hot hitting with a perfect four-for-four performance at the plate while the offense dropped eight runs in the first six innings off nega-Cy Young winner Joe Kelly and Craig Breslow. Even though Boston made it interesting later, the Yankees stayed on top to sweep their division rivals on their own turf.
Ellsbury set the tone for the game with a leadoff single to right and two batters later, Mark Teixeira gave the Yanks the early edge with a two-run bomb over the Green Monster in left-center field. Two innings later, Ellsbury was at it again with another single to begin an inning. Brett Gardner struck out and Tex popped to second this time, but Alex Rodriguez smacked hit number 2,958 on a single to center. Moments after Curt Schilling mused that Brian McCann couldn't catch up to Joe Kelly's fastball, Brian McCann caught up to Joe Kelly's fastball on a two-run double to right, making it 4-0, Yankees.
Even Carlos Beltran got in on the fun against Kelly with a double of his own, bringing McCann home with the game's fifth run. Meanwhile, Adam Warren seemed to throw a lot of pitches, but Boston could not score against him and in fact went down in order through the first three innings. Going into the sixth, Warren had allowed just one hit while striking out a pair of batters. With Craig Breslow on in relief, the Yankees seemingly put the game out of reach thanks to back-to-back hits from Didi Gregorius and Ellsbury (of course) followed by a Gardner three-run homer into the bullpen in deep right. The score was now 8-0 and the game felt entirely in control.
Ellsbury added a fourth hit to his total later on and he reached base in all six of his plate appearances. He's now 19 for his last 40, a scalding .475 stretch that has bumped his triple slash from .263/.344/.281 on April 21st to .351/.432/.402 with a 140 wRC+ now in 111 total PA. This Ellsbury is awesome and I want him to stay around forever. The dude can even keep his Errol Flynn-esque mustache if that's what it takes!
Warren began to tire in the bottom of the sixth though. With two down, Dustin Pedroia singled and David Ortiz broke up the shutout with a double to left. Hanley Ramirez took one off the hip and seemed to take it personally even though it was a friggin' 8-1 game at the time and Warren had essentially zero incentive to hit him. After he moped around and trotted to first, Pablo Sandoval singled Ortiz home, ending Warren's day. Joe Girardi called on Esmil Rogers to provide some help. Unfortunately, while Rogers has been fairly good lately, he made a bad pitch to a slumping slugger who was unlikely to stay quiet forever. Mike Napoli belted a three-run homer of his own to suddenly make it an 8-5 ballgame.
The last couple innings were basically a game of chicken between the two bullpens. It started with Edward Mujica drilling Ellsbury, quite clearly in retaliation for the unintentional HanRam hit by pitch. Mujica seemingly tried to hit Ellsbury twice and succeeded the second time as the benches were warned. How delightful. Regrettably, the Yankees couldn't push across any insurance runs across. The one bright side was that Boston stopped successfully chipping away at the lead, as they blew every chance they had for the rest of the game.
Ramirez's leadoff single in the eighth against Justin Wilson was wasted when Wilson struck out Sandoval looking on a pretty much and David Carpenter, working for the first time since last Wednesday, induced a 6-4-3 double play from Napoli on his first pitch. An uncharacteristically wild Andrew Miller took the mound to close out the game, but the effects of this exhausting stretch of 30 games in 31 days seemed to get to him. Although he struck out Xander Bogaerts and Blake Swihart, he sandwiched the whiffs between walks to pinch-hitter Allan Craig and Mookie Betts. As the tying run, Pedroia hit a bouncer to Chase Headley that seemed sure to end it, but Headley picked a strange time to bond with Miller, as he bobbled it and threw it unusually poor to first base, pulling Tex off the bag.
That set up the scenario all Yankees fans feared: Bases loaded for Ortiz, whose long ledger of "apparent Yankee win fatalities" is just awful to consider. It was a lefty-on-lefty battle that pushed Miller to 32 pitches, but the fact that he quickly jumped ahead 0-2 certainly helped. In the end, Ortiz lifted a fly ball right to Ellsbury in center, thankfully not deep at all to scare anyone.
So the Yankees did, in fact, pull off the 8-5 victory, as Miller successfully notched his 10th straight save, albeit his scariest to date. He's certainly earned at least a day off and maybe two. No rest for the remainder of the team though, as the Yankees now head to Toronto to play three against the Blue Jays. First pitch is 7:05 on Monday night. Here's hoping for a blowout victory to further rest the bullpen.