Big-spending Boston brought their new-look team to the Bronx for the first time to face archrivals New York on Friday and emerged with a 5-4 win over the Yankees after Adrian Gonzalez belted a home run and drove in two runs.
Boston, closing in on New York’s league-leading US$200 million payroll, spent nearly US$300 million on long-term deals for new players Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, but began this season with a six-game losing streak and dropped eight of their first 10.
However, Gonzalez is doing his part to get the Red Sox rolling in their first visit to New York this season, belting a home run in the fourth inning off Bartolo Colon, while Crawford’s ground out brought home another run in the same inning.
With the score tied 2-2 after Yankees catcher Russell Martin cleared the wall in center off Boston pitcher Clay Buchholz, Gonzalez struck again by stroking a long fly to left to score the go-ahead run in the seventh.
Kevin Youkilis followed with a two-run shot off reliever Joba Chamberlain to pad the lead.
Boston needed every run as New York scored in the eighth and ninth, thanks to Curtis Granderson, to keep the crowd of 48,000 on the edge of their seats.
The win for Buchholz (4-3), with a save from Jonathan Papelbon, improved Boston to 18-20 and dropped the Yankees to 20-16. Colon slipped to 2-2.
“This is the toughest place mentally to pitch because you have all the fans out there and they all hate us,” Buchholz said.
TIGERS 3, ROYALS 1
In Detroit, Michigan, Justin Verlander nearly became only the second pitcher to throw consecutive no-hitters, before allowing Melky Cabrera’s RBI triple in the sixth inning of the Detroit Tigers victory over the Kansas City Royals.
In his first start since throwing a no-hitter at Toronto on May 7, Verlander pitched 5-2/3 hitless innings, before Cabrera sent a line drive to the gap in the right-center field.
Verlander was attempting to equal Cincinnati’s Johnny Vander Meer, who threw two consecutive no-hitters in 1938.
Verlander (4-3) allowed a run on two hits and three walks in eight innings, while striking out seven.
Austin Jackson and Jhonny Peralta hit solo homers for the Tigers.
BLUE JAYS 2, TWINS 0
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ricky Romero pitched 8-2/3 innings to lead Toronto to victory over somber Minnesota.
The Twins learned earlier in the day that former star Harmon Killebrew no longer planned to fight his esophageal cancer. Killebrew’s No. 3 jersey hung in the dugout, where it will stay for the remainder of the season.
Romero (3-4) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, before Denard Span hit a single with two outs. He allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked three.
Jose Bautista hit his 12th home run of the season in the eighth. He has reached base in 29 of 30 games this year.
In other AL action, it was:
‧ Indians 5, Mariners 4
‧ Rays 3, Orioles 0
‧ Rangers 4, Angels 1
‧ White Sox 4, Athletics 3
Ryan Dempster struck out a season-high 11 batters to help lead the Chicago Cubs to an 11-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants in the National League on Friday.
Dempster (2-4) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings as the Cubs ended San Francisco’s six-game winning streak.
Reed Johnson drove in four runs, three on a bases-loaded triple in the seventh. Darwin Barney had three RBIs, while Starlin Castro also had three hits and drove in two runs.