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Steven Wright, Boston Red Sox knuckle down, dump New York Yankees

By Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange
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Steven Wright, Boston Red Sox knuckle down, dump New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Steven Wright throws a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York City on August 5, 2015. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- To stop a lineup that scored 90 runs over the previous 10 games, the Boston Red Sox needed a little bit of violence.

As in a knuckleballs from Steven Wright that were described as violent for their movement and a violent swing from designated hitter David Ortiz.

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The Red Sox received both, as Wright confounded the New York Yankees for eight innings and Ortiz hit another home run at Yankee Stadium in Boston's 2-1 victory Wednesday.

Wright set career highs with nine strikeouts and eight innings, marking the second consecutive outing he established career bests in both categories. The previous instance was last week against the Chicago White Sox, but this outing came against a team that scored nine runs in the seventh inning Tuesday and 10 times in that game off a struggling bullpen.

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"Outstanding effort," Boston manager John Farrell said. "He had the feel for his knuckleball much earlier tonight than he did six days ago. He kept guys off-stride obviously with some variations to the speed of his knuckleball, but he threw a number of them with good violence to them and a lot of strikes."

Wright held the Yankees hitless until the fifth inning and gave up four hits overall, including a solo home run by Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran to open the seventh.

"I don't know (why it moved so much)," Wright said of his knuckleball. "It's a knuckleball. I just kind of throw it the same every time. Today it was just moving a little bit more than it has in the past."

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said, "That's about as good as you can throw a knuckleball. You don't see many of them, but he had a good one."

After allowing singles to shortstop Didi Gregorius and catcher John-Ryan Murphy in the fifth, Wright struck out center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury for the third time. After giving up Beltran's ninth home run, Wright finished the seventh quickly and helped himself by having Ellsbury's double-play grounder carom off his leg in the eighth.

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"He was good his last time out, but given this lineup in this ballpark, obviously a short porch in right, he was outstanding from start to finish," Farrell said.

Wright, the winning pitcher in Boston's 19-inning victory in New York on April 10, threw 108 pitches. Besides striking out Ellsbury three times, he also twice fanned Teixeira, whose first strikeout came with left fielder Brett Gardner on second in the first inning.

"After the first inning, I think it feels like we're going to have a good night," Ortiz said.

The Red Sox snapped an eight-game road losing streak by getting just enough runs off New York rookie right-hander Luis Severino (0-1). Right fielder Alejandro De Aza hit an RBI double in the second following an error by New York third baseman Chase Headley for Boston's first run.

Two innings later, Ortiz turned on a 2-0 fastball and sent it well into the right field bleachers for his 21st home run, making Severino the 34th Yankee pitcher he has connected against.

"That young kid, he's got good stuff, man," Ortiz said. "I think he's going to be pretty good."

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Boston Red Sox David Ortiz hits a solo home run in the 4th inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York City on August 5, 2015. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Although he threw first-pitch strikes to only five of 18 hitters, Severino held the Red Sox to two runs (one earned) and two hits in five innings. He took the mound to a loud standing ovation and became the first American League pitcher to permit two hits or fewer, strike out at least seven and not issue a walk in his major league debut.

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"He's got poise," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I didn't think his surroundings would affect him a whole lot. We saw that in spring training. I definitely think it's a positive for him and what he could mean for us moving forward."

Even without being able to do much against Wright, the Yankees almost pulled off their 13th win in 19 games, putting two on in the ninth against Koji Uehara. The Boston closer finished off his 24th save in 26 opportunities by retiring pinch hitter Brian McCann on a fly ball to center field.

NOTES: New York C Brian McCann (sore left knee) was held out of the starting lineup and an MRI revealed some inflammation around the MCL area. He flied out as a pinch hitter to end the game. ... Boston manager John Farrell did not have any updates on LHP Brian Johnson, who was placed on Triple-A Pawtucket's disabled list with left elbow tightness. ... The Red Sox announced OF Daniel Nava was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Rays. Nava was activated from the disabled list July 21 and designated for assignment nine days later. ... The Yankees re-signed OF/INF Garrett Jones, who was designated for assignment Friday. ... New York optioned RHP Caleb Cotham to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, clearing a spot for RHP Luis Severino. To add Severino to the 40-man roster, RHP Danny Burawa was designated for assignment.

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