The Boston Red Sox took advantage of their mastery of Yankee pitcher Jose Contreras last night for a 9-6 win in legendary Fenway Park. The victory gave the Sox a 2-1 series win but still left them 7.5 games behind the Yankees in the standings.
The Yanks gave Contreras a 2-0 lead in the first but the beleaguered pitcher could not take advantage. "He wasn't good from the get go," Joe Torre said of the Cuban righty. "We gave him a two-run lead and he wasn't aggressive enough. . . . I am concerned. He certainly wasn't the pitcher we've been watching."
Contreras (8-4), who was riding a four-game winning streak and had dominated in his last three outings, gave up eight runs and nine hits in 51/3 innings. He is 0-3 with a 17.25 ERA in four games (three starts) at Fenway and is 0-3 overall versus the Red Sox with a 16.44 ERA in five games (four starts).
It was Saturday's game, however, that had all the fireworks. Bronson Arroyo beaned Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez in the 3rd inning which ignited a bench clearing brawl between the clubs that resulted in Rodriguez and Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek getting ejected. Kenny Lofton and Gabe Kapler were later ejected for their parts in the brawl. Expect more suspensions handed down by the league office when it convenes on Wednesday.
This was the second brawl between the two clubs in less than a year. Who can forget the brawl in last year's playoffs that led to Pedro v. Zim.
The Yanks lost Saturday's game 11-10 despite having a five run lead in the top of the 6th inning. The Sox scored four in the bottom half of the inning and Bill Muellar slammed a home run off of Yankee closer Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the comeback win.
ARod's surreal weekend got off to a good start on Friday when he drove in the winning run at Fenway to give the Yankees a 9-8 victory despite three home runs by the Sox Kevin Millar. Millar went 10-for-13 with four homers and eight RBIs in the three games.
This series may prove that the Sox aren't finished yet, but the Yankees still have a huge lead in the division, the second best record in the majors and a pretty easy schedule down the homestretch.
The teams don't meet again until September, when they will each host a three game series in the last two weeks of the season. Stay tuned!