BOSTON -- The anticipated beanball from John Lackey to Alex Rodriguez never came -- instead, the Yankees third baseman was brushed back by his own team's president -- and the Yankees offense, which exploded for 39 runs in its previous four games, never fired today against the Boston Red Sox as the Yankees went down 6-1 to revert to 8½ games back of the AL East leaders. This was an especially disappointing loss with the Yankees' best starter on the mound.
Anti-Hiro: Hiroki Kuroda turned in shortest workday in more than a month, after being chased in the sixth inning when Jacoby Ellsbury lined a double over Ichiro Suzuki's head to drive in the Red Sox's fifth run of the game. Kuroda got little help from his field (see below), as two of the runs were unearned, but he was hit hard throughout his 5⅔ innings, allowing a season-high 11 hits.
Gilligan's Island: The Yankees were stranding baserunners like castaways on a desert island through the first five innings. In the second, they loaded the bases on two walks and a single but came up empty when Chris Stewart flied out to center; they started the inning with runners on first and second and none out but planted the seeds of their RISP failure when Sox shortstop Stephen Drew made a running, over-the-shoulder grab of Curtis Granderson's pop fly to short left-center and then fired behind Alfonso Soriano to double him off at second. Then, in the fifth, the Yankees got runners to second and third with none out after a single by Lyle Overbay and a ground-rule double by Stewart but came up with just one run when Brett Gardner, Suzuki (RBI) and Robinson Cano all failed to hit the ball out of the infield to make three straight groundouts.
Nun-E: Eduardo Nunez's throwing error led to three Boston runs -- two of them unearned -- in the fourth inning. With runners on first and third --courtesy of a leadoff double by David Ortiz and a single by Mike Carp off Kuroda -- Nunez's wild throw on Drew's grounder, allowing Ortiz to score and Carp to go to second. Singles by Will Middlebrooks and Ellsbury scored two more runs to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.
Worm-killers: Fourteen of the Yankees' first 18 outs came on infield grounders, six of which were handled -- at least two spectacularly -- by second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Four others were comebackers to Lackey, whose cutter was obviously behaving as instructed.
Big Pop: David Ortiz crushed a 3-2 pitch from Adam Warren into the batter's eye beyond the wall in dead center field for the Red Sox's sixth run of the game. It was homer No. 24 for Papi.
The boos be flowin': The Fenway Park crowd never seems to tire of booing Rodriguez, which they did through all four of his plate appearances (0-for-3 with a walk). There was one cheer, however -- when a Junichi Tazawa fastball buzzed A-Rod's chin in the ninth inning.