Terry Francona called yesterday’s 2-1 Red Sox win “one of funnest days we’ve had, a good day of baseball.” He likely wouldn’t have thought so if his team came within inches of tying the game in the seventh, then loaded the bases without scoring a run later in the inning, then stranded the tying run on second while their No. 2 and No. 3 hitters struck out in the ninth.
What could have been a series that knocked the Red Sox down for the count — or got them too close to first for the Yankees’ comfort — turned out to be neither of those things. Both teams live to play another day, each a game better off in the standings than when the series began, thanks to Tampa Bay’s weekend in Toronto. (Both the Yankees and Sox should feel pretty good about themselves by comparison: Imagine the tabloids had New York or Boston gotten swept by the Blue Jays and come within an out of getting no-hit for the third time this year.)
The Yankees don’t play Boston again until September 24, at which point they’ll play six times over the season’s final ten days — games that will likely have playoff (or seeding) implications for at least one of the teams. In the meantime, the Yankees turn their attention to a team coasting into the playoffs — the Texas Rangers — for a two-game set beginning tonight. A.J. Burnett is scheduled to start, but they may be without Mark Teixeira, who stayed behind in New York to be with his pregnant wife, whose due date is today.