Yanks find out Red Sox have not quit on 2014

The change in the calendar should have given the Yankees a sense of urgency. The dog days of August are upon us with each game becoming more and more pivotal. Friday night at Fenway Park proved a major disappointment in the first game after the non-waiver trade deadline as the Yankees failed to do much damage against a rookie pitcher one season removed from Double A ball and fell to the Red Sox, 4-3.

Righthander Anthony Ranaudo, with scores of relatives and friends from New Jersey in the yard, held the Yankees to two runs and four hits and got away with four walks, three of them leading off innings, over six innings to earn a victory in his major-league debut. Another rookie, center fielder Mookie Betts, applied a rally-killing play in the eighth when the Yanks threatened to tie the score. After Derek Jeter homered leading off the inning against Junichi Tazawa, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a drive to his old center field stomping grounds where Betts now roams and made a diving, one-handed catch and slid across the warning track. That play was amplified when Mark Teixeira followed with a double to left field. Tex got to third base with two out but was stranded as Chase Headley grounded out.

Headley was 0-for-4 at the plate, but he made three dazzling plays at third base in Graig Nettles-like style. Newcomer Stephen Drew, shortstop by trade, did a nice job in his first big-league shot at second base and took part in a pair of double plays. Martin Prado arrived in Boston just before game time and entered as a pinch hitter in the seventh and remained in the game in right field where he is expected to play most often. He was 0-for-2.

Carlos Beltran continued his hot streak by driving in two runs. He homered leading off the fourth against Ranaudo and touched the rookie for an RBI single in the sixth that scored Ellsbury, who set it up with a key steal of second base. Since returning from the 7-day concussion list July 18, Beltran leads the Yankees with a .373 batting average in 51 at-bats. He is hitting .329 with five home runs over his past 21 games and 82 at-bats. Beltran has an eight-game hitting streak during which he has hit .448 with three home runs and eight RBI in 29 at-bats. In 11 games at Boston this season, Beltran is batting .356 with five doubles and five home runs.

In his second start for the Yanks, Chris Capuano had a solid outing and pitched into the seventh. He had a rough third inning allowing two runs and four hits, three of them for extra bases, but he settled down after yielding a run in the fourth and retired nine batters in a row before Betts led off the seventh with a single to right. Brock Holt bunted Betts to second, and Dustin Pedroia got him home with a single to center that proved the deciding run.

It was another quiet night offensively for the Yankees, who have lost five of their past six games and dropped six games behind the first-place Orioles in the American League East. Boston’s recent trading off of pitchers Jon Lester and John Lackey indicated they have put up a white flag on the season, but they were not conceding anything Friday night.

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