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April 29, 2007
Gabbard sharp despite PawSox loss to Buffalo
PAWTUCKET _ It’s been 10 days since Pawtucket Red Sox pitcher Kason Gabbard worked in a regulation game. With his performance Sunday you would never have guess the left-hander had that much time off.
His last start was suspended with two outs in the bottom of the first inning with the PawSox holding a three-run lead at Buffalo on April 23. Yesterday, he worked six shutout innings, allowing just four hits with one walk and five strikeouts in his fifth start of the year.
Because of his layoff, Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson said he was keeping Gabbard to 90 pitches or six innings. He finished with 89 pitches (52 strikes) and left with a scoreless game. The Bisons scored four runs of Pawtucket reliever Bryan Corey in the top of the seventh and added two more off Mike Burns in the top of the ninth en route to a 6-0 victory at McCoy Stadium.
Despite the team’s loss, Gabbard was sharp.
“I’m just trying to go out there and get a feel for all my pitches and go from there,” said Gabbard. “I made the pitches when I needed to and the end result was good.”
Johnson called Gabbard’s outing outstanding.
For the second game in a row, the PawSox had plenty of opportunity to score, but couldn’t drive in the timely runs. Pawtucket 11 base runners yesterday and left the bases loaded in the eighth inning.
“I try not to get concerned with it,” said Johnson. “Because like I said earlier in the season, we’re a club that is going to get better. We’re going to have streaks and hot spurts. We’ve swung the bats very well the last couple of days and today we didn’t.”
The PawSox have faced some impressive pitching the last couple of games against Buffalo, and the Bisons’ Brian Slocum, yesterday’s starter, was on his game. The right-hander improved to 2-1 after throwing a three-hit shutout in six innings of work with one walk and seven strikeouts. He was a much different pitcher than the last time Pawtucket faced when he allowed five runs on seven hits in five innings and suffered the loss last week in Buffalo.
“That kid threw the ball really good today,” said Johnson. “We got to him pretty good in Buffalo, but today he pretty good.”
The PawSox and Bisons close out this four-game set at 6:15 tomorrow night at McCoy. Pawtucket will send Devern Hansack (1-2, 3.22) to the mound against Buffalo’s Jeff Harris (1-1, 3.27).
Posted by Chris Venditto at 6:47 PM to PawSox
Sunday final: Red Sox 7, Yankees 4
After a one-day reprieve, the Yankees' run of substandard pitching resumed today.
David Ortiz, Alex Cora and Manny Ramirez all homered as the Red Sox blasted their way to a 7-4 victory at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks -- who hoped they had stemmed the bleeding with a 3-1 win over Boston on Saturday afternoon -- have lost eight of their last nine and surrendered 62 runs over that span.
The first-place Red Sox (16-8) lead the last-place Yankees (9-14) by 6 1/2 games.
The Yankees were counting on Chien-Ming Wang, their No. 1 pitcher, to outduel Julian Tavarez, the Sox' No. 5 starter, today. But by the time both pitchers were gone at the end of the sixth, the Red Sox had a 4-3 lead. They then resumed their shelling of the Yankee bullpen, getting a run off Scott Proctor in the seventh and two more off Sean Henn in the eighth.
Cora -- playing in place of Dustin Pedroia, who was given the day off -- was the big offensive gun with a homer and a triple, two runs scored and three RBI. Ramirez' two-run homer to right off Henn in the top of the eighth, following a single by David Ortiz, broke open a close game and gave the Sox a four-run lead.
Cora drove in Boston's second run with an infield grounder in the third inning. He erased a 3-2 deficit with a two-run homer in the fifth. Then, in the seventh, he gave the Sox an insurance run when he tripled off the right-field fence with one out and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Julio Lugo.
Cora is now hitting .375 for the season.
Tavarez gave the Sox five credible innings. He was lifted only after Jeter, the Yankee leadoff hitter in the sixth, reached on an error by Lugo.
Hideki Okajima came on and struck out the gasping-for-air Bobby Abreu -- 0-for-19 and 1-for-29 after that strikeout -- gave up a single to Alex Rodriguez, struck out Jason Giambi and got Hideki Matsui on a grounder to the mound.
Okajima pitched a 1-2-3 seventh with two strikeouts.
Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a one-out homer off Mike Timlin in the bottom of the eighth. Abreu broke his slump with a single after Jeter's homer and the Yankee Stadium crowd raised the noise level to airport-runway levels as Rodriguez came to the plate. But Timlin got A-Rod to ground into a 5-4-3 double play, ending the inning.
Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth. He surrendered a leadoff double to Giambi before striking out Matsui, retiring Jorge Posada on a grounder to second and Robinson Cano on a grounder to first, ending the game. He now has eight saves.
The Sox jumped on Wang early. One pitch after Kevin Youkilis had driven Matsui to the left-field fence with a long drive to left field, Ortiz deposted a Wang offering into the third deck in right field at Yankee Stadium, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
Then, in the third inning, Coco Crisp led off with a triple up the gap in right-center field and scored on a grounder to short by Cora, giving the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.
The Yankees scored three in the bottom of the third to move ahead, 3-2. But in the fifth, Wang hit Crisp in the left shin, leading off, and Cora then homered over the fence in right-center field, putting Boston back in front, 4-3.
After retiring the first six batters he faced, Tavarez unraveled in the third. He got ahead of Posada 0-and-2, then threw four straight balls and walked him. Then he walked Cano on four pitches. Then, even though Doug Mientiekwicz was trying to bunt, Tavarez threw three straight balls to him . . . and the 1-and-0 pitch eluded catcher Jason Varitek, giving the Yankees runners on second and third.
Tavarez came back with two strikes, but Mientkiewicz dropped the 3-and-2 pitch just over the fence of the short porch in right, a three-run homer that put the Yankees ahead, 3-2.
The Yankees seemed poise to add to their lead in the fourth, when they opened the inning with back-to-back singles from Rodriguez and Giambi. But Tavarez regrouped and got out of the inning by inducing Matsui to ground into a double play and striking out Posada.
The Sox had run themselves out of a chance to increase their 2-0 advantage in the top of the third. Lugo and Youkilis had followed Cora's grounder with back-to-back singles, putting runners on first and third as Lugo challenged -- successfully -- the arm of Johnny Damon; Youkilis' single was fielded by Damon in shallow center field. The Yankees escaped further damage, however, because of some unsuccessful aggressiveness by Lugo. Ortiz hit a little chopper in front of the plate and was thrown out by Posada. Lugo broke for home when Posada released the ball, and was easily thrown out at the plate by Mientkiewicz, with Wang making the tag.
Posted by Art Martone at 4:25 PM | Permalink
PawSox stunned by death of former pitcher
The news this morning of the passing of Josh Hancock stunned Pawtucket Red Sox players and personnel.
ESPN's Peter Gammons interupted the network's NFL Draft coverage to report the news. Gammons reported Hancock, a right-handed relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, died in a car crash just outside the city limits in St. Louis early this morning. He was 29.
He was orginially selected by the Boston Red Sox as their fourth pick (fifth round) in the 1998 draft. Hancock spent four seasons in the organization, including here in Pawtucket in 2002, the same season he made his major-league debut in Boston.
Current PawSox manager Ron Johnson and pitching coach Mike Griffin had Hancock in Double-A Trenton in 2001. Both were taken aback by the news this morning, especially Griffin who was very close with Hancock.
"I'm stunned right now," said Griffin. "Oh, man. He was really talented, I'll tell you that right now. He had everything to be in the major leagues. Jeez, wow. He and I went through a lot. He was a tough kid. There are a lot of things I'm going to remember about him, but the toughness will stick out in my mind. He had all the stuff to pitch in the major leagues and I'm glad he got there, and he had some success there. For that I'm happy, but to hear this, wow!"
Johnson also had Hancock at Class-A Sarasota before both made the jump to Double-A.
"He had himself a nice career," said Johnson. "It's awful. He was one of the toughest guys I had ever seen. One month to the day after he broke his jaw he was back on the mound and pitched with no fear. I couldn't believe it. He didn't have any fear and it was amazing. It's just a shame.
"You get such a sick feeling in your stomach," added Johnson. "It's such a reminder that we all think we're bullet proof and we're just humans. I hope Josh rests in peace."
Boston traded Hancock to Philadelphia in exchange for Jeremy Giambi.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 12:04 PM | Permalink
Karstens Walking Wounded
Yankee pitcher Jeff Karstens suffered a non-displaced fracture of the right fibula when Julio Lugo lined his first pitch of Saturday's game off the right-hander's leg.
But this morning, Karstens was walking around the Yankee clubhouse without any cast on his leg. He was walking haltingly, but he had iced the leg and looked amazingly mobile considering the force of the blow and the injury.
Still, he will be out of action for quite a while. He was placed on the DL yesterday. Colter Bean was recalled to take his place.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 11:02 AM | Permalink
Drew gets a rest
J.D. Drew, who has been slumping after a hot start, is not in the starting lineup today against right-hander Chien-Ming Wang.
Eric Hinske is starting in his place in right field. Part of the reason for that is that Hinske is batting .625 (10 for 16) with two homers, three doubles and three RBI against Wang.
The other reason is that Drew is in a 4-for-31(.129) skid that has dropped his average from .375 to a season-low .278. In the first two games of the series in New York, Drew went 1 for 9 with two strikeouts.
While Drew is available for pinch-hitting duties, the fact that he can have today off from the starting lineup, coupled with tomorrow's off day, will give the oft-injured outfielder extra time to keep his body healthy.
"I asked J.D. how he felt about having two days (off) in a row, would it do him some good, and he said, 'They did that with the Dodgers a lot (last year) and it got my legs under me,' so it (Hinske for Drew) all made sense," said Francona.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 10:53 AM | Permalink
Starting Lineups -- April 29
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 10:50 AM | Permalink