TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees beat the stuffing out of the defending world champion Boston Red Sox -- or a reasonable facsimile thereof -- 8-1 Tuesday at The Hive, er, The Boss, in a game that will be remembered better for the return of the Killer Bees.
No, Andrew Brackman is not back and the Yankees have not changed their minds about having Manny Banuelos start the season in Class A ball. These were actual bees, the winged and stinging kind, that swarmed from beyond the left-field fence in the middle of the third inning, chased Red Sox left fielder Mike Carp into center field and sent Mark Teixeira into the Yankees' clubhouse for a jar of honey.
"What I thought was if you could just do a line of honey out to the parking lot the bees would maybe follow it and leave us alone," said Teixeira, whose idea was not adopted.
Instead, the grounds crew opted for more conventional methods of chemical warfare, repelling the swarm with streams of insecticide fired from spray bottles. The game was delayed for seven minutes until the threat was repelled.
And it did not help the Red sox, who trailed 5-0 after two innings, the big hit being Teixeira's two-run single in the second. That lead swelled to 8-0 when Alfonso Soriano lined one off the scoreboard beyond the left-field fence with two runners aboard, his first home run of the spring.
"Good sign for our team," Teixeira said. "We swung the bats really well today. When we have our full lineup together, we grind at-bats, we wear pitchers down, we make 'em throw a lot of pitches, and we score runs and that’s what we did today."
Teixeira said his surgically-repaired right wrist has passed all its tests so far, including swings-and-misses, checked swings, as well as solid contact. Well, almost all. "I still need to hit an inside-the-park home run and slide headfirst into home plate with my hands out," he said, laughing. It was that kind of game.
Ell, no, he won't go: Jacoby Ellsbury continues to feel "a little something" in his right calf, per Joe Girardi, who ruled him out for Wednesday's trip to Disney World for the game against the Braves, and probably for Thursday's 2-1/2-hour ride down to Fort Myers for the game against the Red Sox. Girardi wouldn't even commit to Friday night's home game against the Pirates.
"We'll see how the next two days go," Girardi said. "I think everyone involved thinks that the best thing is to be cautious and make sure that it’s healed. If you feel anything, we don’t want to run him out there. Once he tells me that he doesn’t feel anything, maybe a day or two after that.”
Hitting stars: Brett Gardner went 3-for-4 including a perfect bunt single in the second, and two runs scored; Soriano went 2-for-4 including the three-run HR and four RBIs; Francisco Cervelli went 2-for-3 including a double high off the left-field wall; and Brian Roberts went 2-for-3 and a run scored.
Capt. Clutch: Derek Jeter collected his first RBI of the spring on an infield single to deep short with the bases loaded that scored the Yankees' third run of the game. But Jeter, who went 1-for-4, is hitting just .147 (5-for-34) this spring.
Bullish: The pen performed well again. In relief of Michael Pineda, David Robertson allowed a leadoff single but struck out the next two hitters to strand runners at second and third in the fifth. Shawn Kelley pitched a 1-2-3 sixth and Fred Lewis and Matt Daley each pitched scoreless innings, allowing one hit apiece. Only David Herndon allowed a run, on two hits, in the seventh.
Jammed in: No surprise that a Yankees-Red Sox game drew a sellout crowd of 11,032, the largest of the spring so far at The Boss.