A dropped infield pop-up by Francisco Cervelli helped boost Clay Buchholz and the Boston Red Sox to victory in the opener a big four-game series against the New York Yankees.
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Cervelli’s botched grab of Mike Lowell’s routine pop led to three unearned runs that put the Red Sox ahead for good in the second inning, and Boston beat New York 6-3 Friday night.
David Ortiz hit his 24th home run of the season and rookie Ryan Kalish hit the first of his big league career. The Red Sox closed to 5-4 in the season series and pulled within five games of the AL East-leading Yankees, who remained a half-game ahead of second-place Tampa Bay.
Derek Jeter singled in the first for his 2,873rd hit, tying Babe Ruth for 39th on the career list.
The crowd of 49,555 was the largest regular-season attendance at new Yankee Stadium and the seventh sellout of the year, matching 2009’s regular-season total.
Buchholz (12-5) allowed Mark Teixeira’s two-run homer in the first, then settled down to win for only the second time in five starts since June 20. He gave up three runs and nine hits in 7 1/3 innings. Jonathan Papelbon got three outs for his 27th save in 32 chances. Jeter worked out a 12-pitch walk with two outs, and Nick Swisher followed with a flyout to left.
Javier Vazquez (9-8) was hurt by Cervelli but pitched poorly on his own, allowing six runs – three earned – six hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings.
Ortiz teed off on a knee-high fastball in the first inning, driving the pitch into Monument Park in center.
Teixeira pounced on a hanging breaking ball for his fourth hit in six career at-bats against Buchholz, giving the Yankees four straight games with two-run first-inning home runs.
Then came Cervelli’s Luis Castillo-like moment.
Playing because regular catcher Jorge Posada was being given a rest, Cervelli dropped Lowell’s one-out pop near the first-base line with a runner on in the second as Vazquez crowded the catcher a bit. Cervelli allowed the ball to kick off his glove and roll into foul territory for an error, and walks to Jed Lowrie and Jacoby Ellsbury forced in the tying run.
Marco Scutaro lined a two-run, two-out double to left for a 4-2 lead. An intentional walk to Ortiz loaded the bases for Victor Martinez, who flied out.
Alex Rodriguez’s RBI single in the fifth pulled the Yankees within a run. After striking out in his first two at-bats, Kalish lined a pitch into the right-field bullpen for a two-run homer in the sixth.
NOTES: New Yankees reliever Kerry Wood threw several Cleveland Indians caps into a clubhouse garbage can before the game. … With two on and no outs in the fourth after an error by Scutaro on an offline glove flip to second on Berkman’s grounder, Curtis Granderson grounded into a double play for the first time in 287 at-bats this season. … Ellsbury is hitless in 12 at-bats since he was activated from the DL. He had been sidelined from May 28 until Aug. 4 with broken ribs.