Red Sox - 001 000 001 - 2 7 1 Yankees - 001 000 000 - 1 5 0Mike Napoli's line-drive, opposite-field home run off Masahiro Tanaka (9-7-2-1-8, 116) with two outs in the ninth inning lifted the Red Sox to victory. Jon Lester (8-5-1-2-6, 118) was superb in outdueling Tanaka; he allowed only an unearned run. Koji Uehara threw a perfect ninth, striking out two.
David Ross got Boston on the board first, homering to left in the third. The Yankees immediately tied it, though they needed help from their opponents. Brian Roberts reached on Stephen Drew's fielding error and Lester plunked Yangervis Solarte. Brett Gardner bunted the runners to second and third, and Roberts scored on Derek Jeter's groundout to short.
Lester's only other sketchy inning was the sixth. Gardner singled - New York's first hit - but was thrown out attempting to steal. Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury followed with singles, but Mark Teixeira flied to right and Lester struck out Carlos Beltran.
The Red Sox had a golden opportunity to snap the 1-1 tie in the fourth. Dustin Pedroia singled and David Ortiz doubled. Second and third, no one out. But Tanaka struck out Napoli and Drew, and Xander Bogaerts grounded to shortstop.
Napoli's ninth-inning blast came one pitch after he had swung and missed an ugly offering in the dirt. The dong ball landed in the first row of the right-center field seats. The short porch giveth and (sometimes) the short porch taketh away!
At the halfway point in the season, Boston is 37-44, 7 GB the Blue Jays in the East.
Holt, RFThese two pitchers matched up on April 22 at Fenway Park:
Only three of the Lester's eight runs were earned. ... Tanaka allowed back-to-back home runs to David Ortiz and Mike Napoli. ... New York won the game, 9-3.Lester: 4.2-11-8-4-7, 118 Tanaka: 7.0- 7-2-0-7, 105
Tanaka leads the AL with a 2.11 ERA. ... In his last eight starts: 1.72. ... He has allowed more than two earned runs in only four of his 15 starts.
Tanaka has recorded a "quality start" (at least six innings pitched and three or fewer earned runs allowed) in each of his 15 starts. He is one of only two pitchers in MLB history [since earned runs became an official statistic (NL: 1912, AL: 1913)] to have such a streak at the start of a career. Montreal's Steve Rodgers did it for his first 16 career starts, in 1973.
Tanaka became only the fifth pitcher since 1900 to record 100+ strikeouts through his first 13 career games (103). The others: Hideo Nomo 119, Kerry Wood 118, Herb Score 107, and Jose DeLeon 106).
ESPN's David Schoenfield looked at the best rookie seasons of all time and how Tanaka measures up.