NEW YORK -- Boston Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford's season might soon be over, and his team might not be far behind.
But the rival New York Yankees seem to be just getting started after an impressive week, capped by a 4-1 win over the Sox on Sunday night that featured three hits, two home runs and one curtain call by Ichiro Suzuki.
The Yankees also got another gem from Hiroki Kuroda, three hits from Derek Jeter and a RBI double from Curtis Granderson in his first at-bat as a cleanup hitter for the Yankees.
"I was embarrassed," Ichiro said of taking the curtain call after his second homer in the sixth inning, when he emerged to wave his helmet. But he acknowledged that the reaction of Yankees fans to him has been one of the "special" moments of his career. "It felt so good, you know. Sometimes you just don't know how to react on the field, the timing of when to acknowledge it, but it definitely felt good."
Things are not feeling too good these days for the Red Sox, who dropped two of three to their rivals to fall 7 1/2 games back of the second wild card spot and cap a chaotic week featuring reports of team discord.
On top of that, Crawford reportedly will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on his left elbow Tuesday, though team officials have only said they will meet to discuss the possibility Monday. Crawford was not available in the post-game clubhouse, but amid an ESPN.com report the left fielder was worried about his teammates' reaction if he shut himself down early, David Ortiz said that should not be a concern.
"You got to take care of yourself," Oritz said. "If you are injured, you're injured. Nobody gets Tommy John because it's fun. Tommy John is a tough process and he needs one because he needs one. If I'm him, I would do exactly what he's doing, taking care of it."
The Yankees have had plenty of injuries but less drama, and they remained five games up on the Tampa Bay Rays thanks largely to Ichiro and Kuroda, who threw allowed just one run in eight innings.
"This is how good he's been," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Kuroda, who has not allowed more than three runs in his last six starts, going 4-1 in that span. "He has been on a tremendous roll for us, and the consistency of his sinker and slider is really the factor. ... He's been great."
New York finished its seven-game homestand against the Texas Rangers and Red Sox 5-2 and has won nine of 12.
Coming off a complete-game, two-hit shutout in his last outing, Kuroda (12-8) continued to lead the Yankees' pitching staff, while the Yankees touched Josh Beckett (5-11) for four runs in six innings. Beckett dropped his third straight decision and fifth in his last six.
"Some things were better today, but still the same ... results," Beckett said, using a colorful word to describe his latest defeat.
Rafael Soriano earned his 31st save of the season with a scoreless ninth. He started the ninth by giving up a leadoff single to Crawford in what could be his last at-bat of the season. But Soriano got Dustin Pedroia to hit into a double play and struck out Adrian Gonzalez to end the game.
Boston scored its only run on Gonzalez's seventh-inning home run, his second homer in two games.
By that point, the solo shot only trimmed the Yankees' lead to 4-1. Ichiro, who has hit safely in 21 of his 23 starts as a Yankee, gave the Yankees a 4-0 lead in the sixth with his second homer to right in as many at-bats. He drew a long, sustained ovation along with chants of "Ich-i-ro! Ich-i-ro!" before emerging from the dugout.
He reached on an infield single in his final at-bat after fouling off a ball on a mighty cut.
Asked if he was going for his third straight homer, Ichiro winked.
"I swung too hard," he said. "My neck hurts."
While Girardi said Ichiro might have more power after "hitting to the ballpark" at the more cavernous Safeco Field most of his career, Ichiro said he hadn't changed his approach. He laughed as he said that with his size, "it's still tough to get it out there, even in this ballpark."
The Yankees took a 3-0 lead off Beckett in the first four innings, scoring single runs in the first, third and fifth.
Granderson drove in the first run with a two-out double in the first, scoring Jeter, who led off with a double. Jeter helped create the Yankees' second run, hitting a one-out double before leading a double steal and eventually scoring on a wild pitch.
Ichiro's sixth home run of the season gave New York a 3-0 lead.
Before the game, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine and general manager Ben Cherington said they would talk Monday with Crawford about whether he should have Tommy John surgery and when to have it, but ESPN later reported Crawford would have the surgery Tuesday. Cherington responded by again referencing the fact there would be a meeting Monday. Valentine said after the game "I don't know about the decision. We're going to circle up tomorrow and (see) what that whole thing is going to be."
NOTES: Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira missed his third straight start, but said his injured left wrist was improving and he hoped to return to the lineup Monday. ... Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte underwent X-rays Sunday. Rodriguez was not cleared to start swinging a bat and Pettitte was not given the OK to throw off a mound, but said he hoped to do so by the next home stand. ... Cherington said he saw the report linking former catcher Kelly Shoppach to the infamous text message reportedly sent from Adrian Gonzalez's phone to management griping about manager Bobby Valentine, but "I can't add anything more to the story. The meeting (between players and ownership) happened, time has passed, we're trying to move on." ... Red Sox right-hander John Lackey, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, threw 45 pitches in a pre-game bullpen session, and Valentine said he was "very impressed with what I saw." Valentine said he "thinks" Lackey would like to pitch in a "game or two" before the end of the season, but wasn't sure.
Delivered to your inbox
|Best of Yardbarker||NFL News||MLB News||NBA News||NHL News|
Today's Best Stuff