With 2 home runs already, Ichiro Suzuki was thinking about No. 3. He took a huge hack in the 8th inning and fouled the pitch straight back.
”I swung too hard. My neck hurts,” Suzuki declared thru a translator Sunday night after his rare power display.
Three players pushing 40 carried the Yankees to a 4-1 victory over Boston. Suzuki smacked two solo shots, Hiroki Kuroda pitched 8 innings of 4-hit ball and Derek Jeter had 3 hits.
Jeter also scored two times for the N.Y Yankees, who took 2 of 3 from the Red Sox despite playing the entire series without slugger Mark Teixeira. The American League East leaders won for the 9th time in 12 games, ending a 2 year streak of futility against Josh Beckett (5-11).
The right-hander was 5-0 in his previous 7 starts against the Yankees since losing to them on Aug. 8, 2010. He kept his team in the game this time, but fell to 0-4 in his past 6 outings overall. He is 1-7 in 13 starts since May 20 and has served up 7 homers in his past 3 appearances covering 16 1-3 innings.
While Beckett has struggled when the Boston Red Sox needed him, Kuroda (12-8) has given a major boost to the Yankees with ace CC Sabathia and vet Andy Pettitte on the DL. The 37-year-old right-hander, coming off a 2-hit shutout against Texas, struck out 4 and walked none while reaching 100 pitches for the 11th straight start. His ERA is 2.96.
”This is how good he’s been. He’s been on an amazing roll for us and the consistency of his sinker and slider is actually the factor,” manager Joe Girardi recounted.
Kuroda’s only blemish was Adrian Gonzalez’s homer in the 7th. Rafael Soriano worked a one-hit 9th for his 31st save in 33 tries.
Fourth-place Boston (59-63) has lost 8 of 12 and left Big Apple trailing the N.Y Yankees by 13 1/2 games.
Never known for his power, the 38-year-old Suzuki homered into the 2nd deck in right with 2 outs in the 4th. Two innings later on he lined a shot into the lower seats for his 7th career multihomer game and 2nd this season. He also hit 2 with Seattle on June 2 at the White Sox. Basketball spreads
The 10-time All-Star popped out of the dugout for a curtain call, showing more than a few flecks of grey in his closely cropped hair. He has 7 home runs this year, 3 for N.Y after he was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in a July 23 trade.
Suzuki added an infield single in the 8th – after taking that big cut. Asked if he was going for a 3rd home run, he winked.
Suzuki finished 10 for 19 (.526) on New York’s 5-2 homestand against Texas and Boston. The New York Yankees, who play 16 of their next 22 games on the road, have outhomered Boston 31-11 while going 8-4 against their longtime rivals this year.