A long night’s journey into day

Sunday turned out to be a grim day for the Yankees. They found out before the game that Alex Rodriguez will not be joining them in Texas after all because of a left quadriceps strain. Then after battling back from a 7-3 deficit to tie the score against the Red Sox, they ended up losing in extra innings in a 4-hour, 46-minute marathon that would likely result in their reaching Arlington not until sometime around dawn.

Losing two of three to the Red Sox this weekend shoved the Yankee seven games out of first place in the American League East and 3 ½ out of the second wild-card spot. All the positive vibrations that came out of Saturday’s well-played victory featuring the oddity of a Yankees player, Mariano Rivera, accorded a standing ovation from the Fenway Park crowd fell by the wayside.

The Yankees nearly overcame a poor outing by CC Sabathia (five innings plus one batter, nine hits, seven earned runs, two walks, five strikeouts, two hit batters, two home runs) by taking advantage of three Boston errors and banging out 12 hits, all singles, to fight themselves back into the game.

Before Adam Warren gave up the game-winning home run in the 11th inning to Mike Napoli, his second dinger of the night for his fourth RBI, the Yankees’ bullpen had been splendid. Preston Claiborne, Boone Logan, David Robertson and Shawn Kelley had combined for five scoreless, one-hit innings with one walk and 10 strikeouts.

On the plus side, Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano and Eduardo Nunez had three-hit games. Gardner reached base five times in all, adding a pair of walks, one of which was the culmination of a 15-pitch at-bat. Nunez had his second straight three-hit game, a very good sign considering that the Yankees will be without A-Rod and Derek Jeter for a while more. In two games, Nunez had raised his season batting average from .206 to .240.

Cano extended his hitting streak to a club season-best 12 games, during which he has batted .415 with three runs, two doubles, one home run and 12 RBI in 41 at-bats and raised his average from .292 to .306.

By losing the series, the Yankees failed to put a serious dent into the Red Sox, who maintained a 1 ½-game lead over the red-hot Rays, who come to Fenway for the next four nights. Meanwhile, the Yankees over the same period will contend with a Rangers club that has fallen three games behind the first-place Athletics in the AL West and two games back of the Orioles for the second wild-card berth.

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