BOSTON — New York Yankees starter Michael Pineda was the early story but Boston Red Sox right-hander John Lackey stole the show at frigid Fenway Park on Wednesday night.
Pineda was tossed in the second inning of the Red Sox’s 5-1 win for having a foreign substance on his neck. Then, Lackey, stopping the bleeding for himself and the Boston rotation, struck out 11 in eight innings to raise his record to 3-2.
The Red Sox starters had allowed 22 earned runs in 24 2/3 innings over the previous five games, with Lackey yielding six earned runs in each of his last two starts, one against the Yankees. But Wednesday, he gave up only a sixth-inning run and seven hits, walking none in leading Boston (10-12) to its second win in six games against their top rivals this season.
The 11 Ks were one off Lackey’s career high.
Righty Koji Uehara worked the ninth in a non-save situation, striking out three after giving up a single.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who had an 11-game hitting streak snapped, was guilty of two poor fielding plays, failing to grab catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s grounder up the middle as the second Boston run scored in the first inning. That was ruled a hit, but Jeter’s throwing error led to two unearned runs in the third.
First baseman Mike Napoli, reaching base for the 18th straight game, had a pop RBI double and two singles to lead the Red Sox attack — on a night that began at 50 degrees with a 24 mph wind that left it feeling at or below the freezing mark.
Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who had a big night on his return to Boston Tuesday, was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against Lackey — as the Yankees fell to 12-9.
Pineda (2-2) was charged with two runs in 1 2/3 innings, raising his ERA from 1.00 to 1.83.
The Red Sox did not complain when Pineda clearly had a substance on his right hand in New York on April 10. On Wednesday, he gave up two runs in the first inning, when the substance was not obvious. He returned to the mound with a shine on his neck and had two out, nobody on and a 1-2 count on right fielder Grady Sizemore when Red Sox manager John Farrell came out and spoke to home plate umpire Gerry Davis.
The four umpires met at the mound and first examined Pineda’s glove and then the ball before Davis, the crew chief, checked his neck. Davis then threw the pitcher out after 40 pitches. The rule book does not call for a mandatory suspension for putting a substance on the baseball, but Tampa Bay’s Joel Peralta got eight games in 2012.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi, standing by the robotic camera in the dugout that apparently was the one that showed the substance, was seen fooling with the camera and actually turned it around to make it face the other way.
Sox send Nava to Triple-A
Struggling Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket, the team announced Wednesday.
Nava, 31, is 10-for-67 (.149) with two doubles, two home runs, three RBIs, six walks and seven runs scored in 17 games for the Red Sox this season between right field (15 games, 14 starts), left field (three games, one start), and first base (two games, two starts). He had 17 strikeouts.
Nava hit .303 with 12 homers and 66 RBIs in 134 games last season.
In 299 career major league games over parts of four seasons with the Red Sox (2010, 2012-14), the switch-hitter has a .265 batting average (253-for-953) with 66 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs, 128 RBIs and 113 walks.
With Shane Victorino likely to be activated from the disabled list on Thursday and Boston’s bullpen in need of an extra pitcher for Wednesday night’s game against the New York Yankees, Nava’s roster spot was the one utilized.
Right-hander Alex Wilson, who spent time with the Red Sox last year before suffering arm problems, was recalled from Pawtucket. The Red Sox will likely send Wilson back to the minors on Thursday to open a spot for Victorino, who has been sidelined with a right hamstring strain.
“That’s never a fun conversation,” manager John Farrell said about Nava in an interview on Boston radio station WEEI on Wednesday. “I think he was certainly disappointed by the news he was going to be optioned back. He was a big part of this offense last year, particularly as a left-handed hitter. But we’ve got to get him back on track. The at bats and the consistency of the at bats are not there right now. There’s the need for a little bit more of a consistent two-strike approach. And he’s got to get back to get reps as a right-handed hitter.”
Wilson will be active for Wednesday’s game against the Yankees at Fenway Park.
Wilson, 27, is 0-0 with one save and 8.0 scoreless innings over eight appearances for Pawtucket, all in relief. He has given up just four hits and five walks (one intentional) with nine strikeouts for the PawSox, with no hits allowed in five of his eight outings.
Last year, Wilson made his major league debut with 26 games over three stints with the Red Sox, going 1-1 with a 4.88 ERA and 22 strikeouts compared to 14 walks. He did not surrender a home run in 27 2/3 innings with the big league club.
Born in Dhahran, Wilson was the first pitcher from Saudi Arabia to appear in a major league game.