The newest members of the Boston Red Sox just discovered something that long-suffering Sox fans already knew:
Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera are pretty good pitchers – and they were the only pitchers that the New York Yankees would need on a mild night in the Bronx.
Pettitte pitched 8 innings of eight hit ball, surrendering one earned run and Rivera came on in the 9th to record his first save in nearly a year as the Yankees salvaged one game on their season opening home stand, a 4-2 victory over Boston on Thursday night.
Seven of the eight hits that Boston touched Pettitte for were singles, the only extra base hit an RBI double by rookie phenom Jackie Bradley Jr. He threw 94 pitches and struck out three while walking one – while aces were wild for Rivera, giving up one run on one hit, with one strike out and one base on balls in one eventful inning.
By contrast, Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster never found his groove, giving up 3 runs in five innings while striking out 8 and walking four – Junichi Tazawa came on for Dempster in the 6th, piching one inning of one hit relief before giving way to Clayton Moretnson who served up a home run to Francisco Cervelli but otherwise gave the Red Sox a flawless two innings of work.
Lyle Overbay got to Dempster early, lacing a single to center and plating Eduardo Nunez and Travis Hafner for a quick 2-0 Yankee lead, then serving up a gopher ball to Brett Gardner, who deposited the ball into the people in right to extend the lead to three.
Boston got on the board in the 7th with Bradley’s double scoring Will Middlebrooks, but New York got the run right back, Cervelli parking a Mortenson offering over the left centerfield wall for a 4-1 Yankee lead.
The Red Sox have yet to hit a home run this season, going 0 for 3 against Yankee pitching. And if they don’t like that, they’re going to hate to see what’s coming next in Toronto…
Rivera came on in the ninth with the save opportunity, but got himself in a little jam by walking Dustin Pedroia then allowing a one out double to Jonny Gomes that advanced Pedroia to third. Middlebrooks drove in the Sox second baseman to get Boston within two runs, but Rivera found his happy place and blew a called third strike past potential tying run Bradley to end the game.
It was the 69th time Rivera has saved a regular-season win by Pettitte, a major league record.
“These two have been doing it a long time together,” New York Manager Joe Girardi said. “I’ve caught both of them and I’ve managed both of them, but as a fan it’s really kind of neat to see.”
The Yankees now hit the road for a weekend set in Detroit against the Tigers without their so-called “Sore Four”, the quartet of injured Yankee All Stars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson while the Red Sox fly to Toronto to take the American League East favorite Blue Jays before returning to Boston for their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.