By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, August 19- The Red Sox evened the weekend series at Yankee Stadium by taking Game #2 on Saturday afternoon, 4-1. Home runs were, of course, hit by each team and again determined the outcome of the contest.
Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-out, two-run homer in the first inning to put the first two runs on the scoreboard. After the conclusion of the game, Boston skipper Bobby Valentine remarked, “He’s been hitting the ball to the warning track here. I think he put a little more pump in his swing.”
The two runs batted in raised his Major League leading total to 39 since the All-Star break. Gonzalez, with two hits in three official at bats and an intentional walk, continued his torrid offensive production during the second half of the 2012 season.
Gonzalez began the game 2nd in batting average, 4th in slugging percentage, and 7th in on base percentage in the American League since July 13. The first baseman has hit safely in 26 of his last 33 games.
A new Yankee killer on the Sox, Pedro Ciriaco, went 4 for 4 in the game. His only previous four hit game came on July 7, his first game on the Red Sox, and was also against the Yankees. The shortstop is batting .517 (15 for 29) in seven games against the Yankees. His “cousins” have helped him raise his batting average this year to .343.
Of the 26-year old who has only played 31 games in the big leagues before joining the Red Sox in July, valentine stated, “It amazes me that with that kind of talent, he hasn’t been utilized before.”
Nick Swisher has become the Yankees biggest offensive weapon against Boston. He went 3 for 4 which raised his batting average against the Red Sox to .480 (16 for 33) this year.
Dustin Pedroia’s double in the eighth increased his consecutive game hitting streak to 13. On the other hand, Derek Jeter’s 13- game hitting streak ended as he went 0 fo3 at the plate.
The only Yankee run in the game was scored in the fourth on Curtis Granderson’s 32nd homer of the season.
Pitching was really the focus of the game as starters Jon Lester and David Phelps hooked up in a pitching duel. Lester gave up five hits and one run in seven innings to earn the win. Valentine said of the starter, “Another fine performance by a good looking pitcher, confident, aggressive.” Lester is 5-1 in his last six starts in Yankee Stadium.
Boston reliever Craig Breslow got Robinson Cano to hit into a double play to end the eight. Breslow and catcher Ryan Lavarnway ate the first big league battery of Yale graduates.
Former Yankees, Alfredo Aceves pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 25th save of the season.
Hiroki Kuroda (11-8) and Josh Beckett (5-10) will start the rubber game on Sunday night.