BOSTON -- In the words of Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), one of the celebrities sitting next to the Boston Red Sox dugout Thursday night, Felix Doubront was "pret-tay, pret-tay, pret-tay good."
But for the Red Sox, the outcome, not to mention the 2012 season, better reflected the words of David's seatmate, Jon Hamm ("Mad Men"): "Every day I tried not to think about what would happen if this happened."
Doubront allowed the New York Yankees just four hits and two runs in 6 1/3 innings, his fourth quality start against the Bombers this season, but came away a 2-0 loser as Phil Hughes and the Yankees' bullpen combined for a six-hit shutout.
The Yankees loaded the bases in the fourth on a single and two walks and scored their first run on a sacrifice fly by Andruw Jones.
Doubront was lifted in the sixth after a one-out walk, his fifth of the game, and a single by Eduardo Nunez. Bobby Valentine brought in Junichi Tazawa to face Derek Jeter, who fought off five fastballs from Tazawa before blooping an RBI single to center.
The hit drew Jeter even with Willie Mays for 10th place on the all-time hit list, at 3,283 hits. Only a third of those have been killer bloops against the Red Sox, or so a jaded Sox fan would contend.
The Yankees, despite being outhit by the Sox, 6-5, stayed even in the AL East with the Orioles with 19 games left to be played.
The Sox, meanwhile, are now 64-80 with 18 games to play, two games behind the Blue Jays in last place in the AL East, with three games scheduled in Toronto this weekend. They are 11-29 since Aug. 1, and have scored three runs or fewer in exactly half (20) of those games. That includes 10 of their past 14, 12 of those games losses.
Hughes threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of the 27 Sox hitters he faced before departing with one out in the eighth and Pedro Ciriaco aboard second on a double. The Sox were first-pitch swingers against Hughes eight times, in part because of his early command of the strike zone.