Steven Wright pitches Boston Red Sox past rival New York Yankees

Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Steven Wright. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Steven Wright. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- Steven Wright described his inability to make a play on Alex Rodriguez's fifth-inning slow grounder near the mound as "do or die".

The same description can be used for how the sixth unfolded for the knuckleballer.


Wright retired the first 14 hitters and gave up all three runs in the sixth but escaped trouble as the Boston Red Sox began the second half with a 5-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Entering his final inning, Wright (11-5) had a one-hitter and a five-run lead. The one hit was a ball that would have been an out if it traveled in a different direction towards Wright.

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Wright retired the first 14 hitters on 51 pitches before facing Rodriguez a second time.

On the second pitch of the at-bat, Rodriguez hit a weak grounder to the left of the mound. Wright ran off the mound, tried to make a barehanded play but was unable to grip the ball and make the throw.

"I thought if I maybe barehanded maybe I'd be able to make a play," Wright said. "I didn't know. It was kind of do or die."

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An inning later, Wright began losing some of his rhythm. He allowed a single to Starlin Castro and loaded the bases by hitting Chase Headley with a pitch and walking Jacoby Ellsbury.

Wright lost his shutout when Carlos Beltran singled down the right field line past diving Red Sox first baseman Hanley. He then surrendered a third run on Brian McCann's force out, but escaped the jam quickly as Mark Teixeira popped out to the left side of the infield on the next pitch.

"As he's done when he's had some trouble in some ballgames, he bends but he doesn't break," Boston manager John Farrell said. "That was the case again here tonight."

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"I thought we had some good swings, good approaches," Rodriguez said. "That one inning we scored three runs, but with a guy like that, you're probably going to get one crack at him and tonight, we just had one."

Wright had some breathing room in the sixth because the Red Sox had hit three home runs off Yankee right-hander Michael Pineda (3-9). Ryan Hanigan hit a solo home run in the third while Travis Shaw and Xander Bogaerts slugged long two-run shots in the fifth and sixth.


"The ball was moving, it was dancing around," Hanigan said. "(Wright) was throwing a lot of strikes, really in command there. Obviously a little rough spot in the sixth. ... But overall I thought he was real solid."

Wright improved to 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA in five career appearances against New York. He is 4-0 at Yankee Stadium, including a win in Boston's 19-inning victory here April 11, 2015.

"He pitched well," Beltran said. "He's a guy that has a violent knuckleball. Normally they get around 65 to 70 miles per hour and he's a guy that can go all the way to 77, 78. He was able to mix the knucklers in and we couldn't do much."

The Yankees also couldn't do much against Boston's bullpen trio of Brad Ziegler, Robbie Ross Jr. and Koji Uehera.

Ziegler needed seven pitches in a scoreless seventh, Ross stranded the leadoff runner at first in the eighth and Uehara recorded his fifth save by retiring Rodriguez for the final out.

"You feel that you have three more innings and a good shot to score more runs," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We've been coming from behind lately, and had some rallies late, and you figure it might happen in the 8th;


While the Red Sox (50-38) won for the eighth time in 10 games, the Yankees were unable to get over .500 (44-45) and fell 8 1/2 games behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles.

Pineda was lifted after allowing the home run to Bogaerts. He allowed five runs and five hits after retiring the first eight hitters.

NOTES: New York DH Alex Rodriguez fielded ground balls at first base Friday. Manager Joe Girardi did not commit to saying when and if Rodriguez would appear there in a game. ... Newly acquired LHP Drew Pomeranz is slated to make his debut for the Red Sox Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants. Pomeranz spoke with manager John Farrell late Thursday, is slated to arrive Saturday and throw his first bullpen session for the Red Sox on Sunday. ... Girardi said RHP Nathan Eovaldi will start Tuesday against Baltimore. Eovaldi was listed as a reliever on the team's lineup, pulled from the rotation to provide bullpen depth leading up the All-Star break and pitched 1 1/3 innings Friday. ... RHP Junichi Tazawa (right shoulder impingement) threw 25 pitches in an "aggressive" bullpen session, according to Farrell. Tazawa was placed on the disabled list Thursday but the move is retroactive to July 4 and Farrell said he expects him to return when eligible.


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