A wild win for Yankees, 4-3 over Red Sox to avoid sweep
NEW YORK (AP) -- After losing three straight slugfests, the New York Yankees scratched out a crucial win thanks to a stolen base and a wild pitch.
Ichiro Suzuki scored on Brandon Workman's wild pitch with two outs in the ninth inning Sunday, and New York overcame Mariano Rivera's blown save for a 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox that prevented a four-game sweep.
"Just really big," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We needed it, because we've had some pretty tough games the last couple days."
Robinson Cano hit a two-run double and the Yankees, fighting for a wild-card berth, finally quieted Boston's booming bats behind starter Hiroki Kuroda. They took a one-run lead into the ninth inning before Rivera, called on to start the eighth inning, gave up a wind-aided home run to streaking Will Middlebrooks.
Suzuki hit a one-out single off Workman (5-3) in the bottom half, stole second and advanced to third on Vernon Wells' fly to right.
Workman then fired a high pitch that deflected off the mitt of catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and caromed away off the backstop, allowing Suzuki to score easily.
"It just kind of got away from me," Workman said. "We were trying to work a little bit up on him."
Boston, which began the day with the best record in the majors and an 81 2-game cushion in the AL East, had its five-game winning streak snapped. The Red Sox simply outslugged New York in the first three games of the series, giving them a whopping 54 runs, 17 homers and 64 hits during a four-game span that ended Saturday.
Finally on Sunday, some pitching.
After getting big hits from Cano and Mark Reynolds off Boston starter Jon Lester, the Yankees clung to a 3-2 lead through seven innings.
With setup man David Robertson and left-hander Boone Logan sidelined by sore arms, the 43-year-old Rivera (5-2) was brought in to start the eighth for the first time since June 20, 2006, at Philadelphia.
"He's not saving anything for 2014," Girardi said about Rivera, who plans to retire after this season. "He told us that he could give us two, so it wasn't really too harsh."
Baseball's career saves leader got through his first inning with little difficulty, but Middlebrooks led off the ninth and lofted high fly to right field. Suzuki initially broke in on the ball, then scurried back as the wind caught hold of it and dropped it a few rows deep beyond the famous short porch at Yankee Stadium.
"I thought he was going to catch it on the track," Middlebrooks said. "I didn't crush it. I didn't think it was a homer."
But it was -- the fourth for Middlebrooks in five days. Rivera, hands on his hips, stood on the mound with a puzzled, exasperated look on his face and appeared to mouth the word "unbelievable."
It was Rivera's seventh blown save in 48 chances this year, and second of the series.
"If it wasn't for the wind, it would have been a popup," Suzuki said through a translator.
Rivera retired the next three batters, though, and the Yankees regrouped to finish a 6-4 homestand that keeps them in the wild-card hunt.
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