Closing Time: Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz propel Red Sox to series win over Yankees

June 29, 2014 - 7:45 pm
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NEW YORK -- As much as Mookie Betts represented a focal point for the Red Sox entering Sunday, it was the team's established stars who took center stage in an 8-5 win over the Yankees -- and a series win -- on Sunday night. Ortiz crushed a three-run homer deep into the right field bleachers, while Pedroia amassed his second straight three-hit night, going 3-for-3 and driving in three runs to help pace a Sox offensive breakout. By winning two out of three in the Bronx, the Sox snapped a streak of five straight road series losses. The team is also now within six games of the Blue Jays in the American League East, while also six behind the Mariners for the second wild card. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX -- While the offense took center stage in the win, the Red Sox also enjoyed a number of game-changing defensive plays. After John Lackey gave up a triple and double to open the fifth inning, Pedroia reined in the rally with a diving play to his left against Derek Jeter that helped limit the Yankees' inning to two runs. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, Daniel Nava made a tremendous running catch, ranging about a mile on a fly ball to the wall in left-center for the first out of the inning. After a one-out double, Jackie Bradley Jr. then came up firing with a fantastic one-hop bullet on a single to shallow center, easily gunning down Carlos Beltran at the plate. It was Bradley's ninth outfield assist this year, most among big league center fielders. -- On a team that otherwise has been power-starved, Ortiz continues to give the Sox a power hitting threat in the middle of the order. He's hit seven of the team's 20 homers in June, and 19 of their 62 longballs on the season -- singlehandedly accounting for 30.6 percent of the team's home runs for the season, the largest percentage of a team's home runs by any one player in the big leagues this year. -- Pedroia had his second straight three-hit game and his sixth of the year, going 3-for-3 with three singles and a sac fly while driving in three runs (his second-highest total of the year). In the course of those two games, the second baseman has seen his average rise from .262 to .275 (89/324) while boosting his OBP from .334 to .345 (125/365). He also contributed with his glove (on the aforementioned diving play) and on the bases, getting into a rundown after being picked off of first base to permit Daniel Nava to score from third. -- Mookie Betts, after grounding into a 5-4-3 double play in his first career plate appearance, rebounded in his second at-bat to ground a 90 mph fastball against Yankees starter Chase Whitley up the middle for a single, his first big league hit. He then recorded a first of a different sort, getting thrown out trying to steal. Betts would later walk and ground out to short. The 21-year-old had an eventful day -- or at least an eventful fifth inning -- in right field. He was unsuccessful in a diving attempt at Ichiro Suzuki's leadoff liner to right, with the ball getting to the fence for a triple. He then had to chase Brett Gardner's double to the wall. Finally, with two outs, he tracked down Mark Teixeira's warning track fly ball in right-center. -- Stephen Drew drove in the Sox' first run of the game, lining a single to right with a runner on third. The hit snapped a 13-game stretch without an RBI for the shortstop. -- The Red Sox bullpen delivered four scoreless innings of work behind Lackey, dropping the group's ERA to 2.96, third best in the American League. Burke Badenhop, Andrew Miller, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara all delivered scoreless innings. -- The Sox walked eight times, with free passes accepted by Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. contributing to a night where the Sox made the Yankees staff labor. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- Though he earned a win, Lackey had his second straight rough start, getting tagged for five runs (four earned) on six hits in five innings. He gave up a pair of homers -- just his second multi-homer yield of the season, with both of those contests coming in Yankee Stadium. Lackey now has given up six homers in 10 2/3 innings at Yankee Stadium this year, and five in 101 1/3 innings everywhere else. Still, while it would thus be easy to pin his struggles Sunday on Yankee Stadium, the five-run yield followed a seven-run allowance over 3 2/3 inning against the Mariners in his prior start. Those two starts are his only ones of the year in which he's failed to record an out in the sixth inning.