No Relief In Sight: Contreras Implodes

Three hours before the game, the Boston Red Sox received some bad news. Their ace starter, Pedro Martinez, would be forced to miss his start against the New York Yankees due to an injured back muscle and Bruce Chen - acquired only weeks before - would start in his place.

Chen's first pitch in his first start in over a year was deposited over the Green Monster in left field by Alfonso Soriano, giving the Yankees a quick 1-0 lead, and seemingly knocking out whatever wind was left in Boston's sails.

But Boston doesn't go down so easily. The BoSox scored five runs in the seventh inning off of the returning Jose Contreras to defeat the Yankees and take the second game of the three-game set.

Contreras - making his first appearance in pinstripes since April 18 - entered the game with nobody out and two men on base in the sixth. He got Jason Varitek to ground into a double play, and struck Johnny Damon out to end the inning and the threat of further damage.

But the Cuban's effectiveness did not carry over into the seventh inning. Contreras walked Todd Walker to lead off the inning, and then allowed a double to Nomar Garciaparra. After intentionally walking Manny Ramirez to load the bases, Contreras served up a two-RBI double to David Ortiz. An RBI sac-fly and another walk later, and Contreras left the game in favor of Sterling Hitchcock.

Hitchcock allowed two more runs to score before getting Todd Walker to fly out to center to end the inning. But the damage was done and Boston had taken the lead for good 10-6.

A solo homerun from Jorge Posada in the eighth inning would pull the Yankees to within three, but that would be all they would get.

The Yankees jumped out to an early lead on Soriano's homerun and Jason Giambi's sacrifice fly that scored Derek Jeter. Jeter had reached on a single, stolen second base and moved to third on Varitek's throwing error.

The Red Sox kept the score close with a sacrifice fly of their own, when Garciaparra flew out to score Damon.

The back-and-forth scoring would continue until the seventh, when Boston put the Yankees away for good.

Alan Embree (3-1) picked up the win by pitching a perfect seventh inning. Chen ended up pitching four innings, allowing three runs - two earned - on four hits and a walk while striking out two. Former Yankee Ramiro Mendoza relieved Chen in the fourth, and allowed three more New York runs while being booed heavily.

Brandon Lyon notched his sixth save of the season by striking out the side in the ninth.

Jeff Weaver was shaky in his first start against Boston this season. The lanky right-hander allowed five runs in five innings. Contreras picked up a blown save and the loss for his performance, which raised his ERA from 10.80 to 15.63.

Notes: Jeter slid feet-first into second base while stealing in the second inning. The shortstop - recovering from a dislocated shoulder - said he won't try sliding head first for a while … Todd Zeile broke out of a 2-26 slump with a three-hit performance … Boston and New York combined to hit five sacrifice flys in the game, tying the major league record … Jason Varitek's fourth inning homerun was just the second round-tripper allowed by Weaver all season … Bernie Williams - battling a knee injury - is hitless in his last four games, a span of 16 at-bats.

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