Yankees roll ‘7’ in first inning

The Yankees went into Sunday night’s game against the Red Sox having played 55 innings of baseball this season and had the lead in only one of them. They made it two with a huge first inning that handed Masahiro Tanaka a 7-0 advantage.

It was encouraging to see the Yankees’ somewhat sluggish offense put together a sustained attack, aided by a lackluster Clay Buchholz, Boston’s starting pitcher, and uncertain defense by first baseman Mike Napoli.

As if to spark the stodginess of the Yankees’ offense this past week, manager Joe Girardi rolled the dice a bit in the first after Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a walk. Forcing the action, Girardi called for a hit-and-run and struck paydirt when Brett Gardner lined a single to left-center against an overshift that sent Ellsbury on an easy course to third base.

Napoli could only get one out at second base — and barely that — on a chopper by Carlos Beltran as Ellsbury crossed the plate for that rare Yankees lead. Mark Teixeira walked on a 3-2 pitch, and Napoli fumbled another grounder by Brian McCann, which filled the bases.

Alex Rodriguez jumped on a first-pitch cut fastball from Buchholz and drove a liner to left center for a double that cleared the bags. Chase Headley followed with his second home run in three days, a two-run shot to right off a 2-2 pitch. Stephen Drew made it back-to-back long balls with another drive to right for his first home run.

In one inning, the Yankees had scored more runs than in their previous 22 innings combined.

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