McCann homers twice as Yankees power past Red Sox
NEW YORK — Brian McCann was far from panic mode. He was hitting the ball well, and figured positive results would follow.
Still, he enjoyed seeing his drives wind up in the seats instead of someone’s glove.
McCann put an emphatic end to his season-opening slump, hitting his first two home runs for the New York Yankees to help beat John Lackey and the Boston Red Sox 7-4 Saturday.
"I was pleased about my at-bats today," McCann said.
Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano and Kelly Johnson also connected as the Yankees scored all their runs on homers. Lackey was tagged for a career-high four home runs in 5 2-3 innings.
New York has won two of three in a series that wraps up Sunday night.
A.J. Pierzynski hit his first home run for the Red Sox.
After striking out in the first inning and dropping his batting average to .158, McCann quickly reversed his fortunes. The seven-time All-Star who left Atlanta to sign an $85 million, five-year deal with the Yankees led off the fourth with a liner into the first row of the second deck in right field.
McCann hurried around the bases, and fans were still cheering when Soriano followed with his third home run of the week.
Beltran opened the sixth with a double and McCann homered to right-center. It was the catcher’s 10th career multihomer game.
"I’ve been seeing the ball pretty well to be hitting in the hundreds," McCann said.
As for any concerns about a slow start, he said, "I don’t look at it that way."
The Red Sox have been shifting on McCann during this series, moving an extra infielder onto the right side once they get a strike on him. Facing Lackey for the first time, McCann made moot any shift.
"He’s hit the ball better than his numbers indicated," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
"I was not really concerned about it. I know he’s going to hit," he said.
Girardi said he assumed the short right-field fence and the jet stream that carries the ball in that direction would benefit the lefty-hitting McCann.
"It showed up today," Girardi said.
Hiroki Kuroda (2-1) pitched into the seventh, and reliever Matt Thornton gave up Mike Carp’s two-run single that made it 6-4. With runners at the corners, Carp was caught stealing for the third out.
Shawn Kelley pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.
Lackey (2-1) threw plenty of strikes, but gave up 10 hits. He walked none, fanned six and missed a chance to get off to a 3-0 start for the first time in his career.
Jacoby Ellsbury bunted for a two-out single in the first and Beltran homered on an 0-2 pitch right down the middle. Lackey was already stalking toward the plate to get a new ball from the umpire before Beltran reached second base.
"I just left it over the plate. It wasn’t a very good pitch, up in the zone. One of those I’d like to have back, for sure," Lackey said.
Johnson hit his third homer in the eighth.
NOTES: Soriano had played only one inning in right field during his career — in the 2003 World Series, in fact — before starting there in this game. He made an error on the first chance he got, dropping a soft fly by Xander Bogaerts. … David Ortiz has reached safely in 25 straight games against the Yankees, the longest active streak vs. New York. He got one hit, and is 11 for 20 lifetime facing Kuroda. … The Yankees hit back-to-back homers for the first time since last June 6. … Red Sox CF Grady Sizemore didn’t start, a day after his big three-run homer beat the Yankees. He missed the last two seasons because of injuries, and manager John Farrell doesn’t want to overuse him. … Yankees SS Derek Jeter got a day off. … Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira (strained right hamstring) said his recovery is going well. He’s eligible to come off the DL next weekend and Girardi said he’d be surprised if Teixeira isn’t back on time. … Red Sox LHP Felix Doubront (1-1, 9.00 ERA) is set to face RHP Ivan Nova (1-1, 8.68) in the series finale.