Spooked by thunder, scared by lightning and dominated by Clay Buchholz. It was a pretty uneasy night all around for the slumping New York Yankees.
Buchholz allowed two hits in an abbreviated shutout and the Boston Red Sox got home runs from David Ortiz and Jose Iglesias during a 3-0 victory over New York that was stopped after 5 1/2 innings because of rain Sunday.
During one of three weather delays at a soaked Yankee Stadium, a few players got jumpy in the New York dugout when thunder boomed and lightning crackled.
Of course, the video was making its way around the Internet. These days, there’s nowhere to hide.
”I heard guys buckled a bit during the storm,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ”I wasn’t there but the satellite TV in my office went out.”
Boston took two of three in the Bronx for the second time this season and left town with a 2 1/2-game lead in the AL East over Baltimore. The Yankees fell into a third-place tie with Tampa Bay, three games back.
New York has lost seven of eight and nine of 12.
Buchholz (8-0) outpitched Hiroki Kuroda, and both were pulled in the sixth after the second delay.
Heavy showers suddenly poured down in the top of the inning and fans scurried hastily up the aisles for cover. Plate umpire Vic Carapazza called for the tarp almost immediately, and most Yankees players jogged off the field.
But not Kuroda.
Wet, dejected and probably aware his outing was over, he walked slowly off the mound with his head down. Without even looking up, he underhanded the game ball into the third row of now-empty seats before descending into the dugout.
Boone Logan relieved after a 37-minute delay and got two quick outs.
Then it started pouring again, even harder this time, and the tarp went back on. After a 45-minute wait – and some of the loudest thunder and lightning imaginable – the game was called.
”Both home runs were bad pitches,” Kuroda said through a translator.
Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller was announced into the game and was warming up on the mound for the bottom of the sixth when play was abruptly halted for good. Buchholz will be credited with a complete game because Miller never faced a batter, according to official scorer Jordan Sprechman.
Just before that, the game resumed for all of 4 minutes before heavy rain returned. Hours earlier, the first pitch was pushed back 45 minutes because thunderstorms were expected to move through the area – though the rain held off until the sixth.
”Three rain delays — a fake one and two real ones,” Ortiz said. ”What else can you do? You just stick around and see how things end up.”
Including their season-opening visit, the Red Sox have won their first two series at Yankee Stadium for the second time in 25 years. They also did it in 2011.
Buchholz looked perfectly strong and healthy after missing a turn Monday because of irritation in his collarbone area. He yielded only groundball singles to Ichiro Suzuki and Austin Romine while lowering his major league-best ERA to 1.62. The right-hander is tied with Tampa Bay lefty Matt Moore for the best record in the AL.
”The location with all of his pitches was outstanding. We couldn’t do much with them,” Girardi said. ”He threw very well, but we aren’t the first team he’s done that against.”
Buchholz also beat Kuroda (6-4) at Yankee Stadium on April 3 and has given up one run over 12 innings in two starts against New York this year.
”His numbers speak for themselves,” Suzuki said through a translator.
Ortiz led off the sixth with his 10th home run, a high and long drive that landed in the raised bleachers in right field. He took his time trotting around the bases.
”What went further, the ball or your bat flip?” teammate Will Middlebrooks said, needling Ortiz as he walked by.
Consecutive singles to start the fourth by Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz put runners at the corners for Mike Napoli, who got his team-leading 45th RBI with a groundout.
Iglesias sent the first pitch of the fifth to left for his second major league home run in 127 at-bats. Ortiz later connected for No. 411 of his career.
The 23-year-old Iglesias is considered a defensive whiz at shortstop – with a much better glove than bat. But he’s been subbing at third base for the injured Middlebrooks and is 14 for 33 (.424) since he was recalled May 24 from Triple-A Pawtucket.
And while Ortiz has been a Yankees nemesis almost since the day he joined the Red Sox in 2003, the surprising Iglesias has quickly become a particular pest to them this season with a .545 average in 22 at-bats.
”I wanted to go up and in to him but I didn’t,” Kuroda said.
NOTES: New York LHP Andy Pettitte (4-3, 3.83 ERA) is set to come off the disabled list and start Monday night against Cleveland RHP Justin Masterson (8-3, 3.07). Pettitte has been out since May 17 with a strained muscle in his upper back. … Yankees C Chris Stewart was removed from the lineup before the game and taken to the hospital for further evaluation after experiencing lightheaded symptoms similar to the ones that caused him to leave Saturday night’s 11-1 loss due to dehydration. Stewart was replaced by Romine, who snapped a 0-for-19 slide with a third-inning single. … Kevin Youkilis played 3B for the first time since returning Friday from a lumbar spine sprain. He was the DH in the first two games of the series, when the Red Sox started left-handers. … Yankees LHP David Huff cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. … Boston CF Jacoby Ellsbury missed the entire series with tightness in his left groin.