BOSTON (AP)—Chien-Ming Wang did much more than overshadow his past failures at Fenway Park.
The Yankees’ top starter shut down the Red Sox on just two hits—a homer that nearly was caught and a bunt—in the only park in which he had a losing record where he made more than one start.
Wang also improved against Boston’s best hitters in New York’s 4-1 win Friday night.
“I felt especially good about this because I threw the ball well here in Boston and never pitched well here,” Wang said through a translator.
Not bad for a pitcher who was 2-3 with a 6.17 ERA at Fenway Park before the game.
Wang (3-0) struck out three, walked none and needed just 93 pitches in the first Yankees-Red Sox game of the season. He allowed only J.D. Drew’s homer in the fifth inning and Coco Crisp’s two-out bunt single in the ninth.
“His sinker was outstanding,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He was at the top of his game.”
Wang allowed only one other runner, on an error. In his previous start, the sinkerballer went six innings in the Yankees’ 2-0 win over Tampa Bay.
“You see fly balls, you think the results would be different,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “He was very efficient.”
The Red Sox hit a lot of line drives and deep fly balls, and Yankees outfielders had 12 putout.
They nearly had 13, but Drew’s deep drive grazed the top of right fielder Bobby Abreu’s glove and landed in Boston’s bullpen for a homer that made it 1-all.
“I just didn’t find the wall very well,” Abreu said. “When I was making my jump, I banged myself into the wall. I hit my shoulder. It hit my glove. I should have caught it.”
Jason Giambi, 1-for-22 before hitting a tiebreaking homer in the seventh, has had some tough luck on balls he’s hit well.
“They hit a lot of balls hard, but they didn’t get a lot of hits,” he said. “When they hit the ball hard, it was right at somebody. I know that feeling. I’ve been swinging the bat good, but I just didn’t get a lot of hits.”
The traditional powers in the AL East were missing some significant figures in the rivalry.
For the Yankees, Joe Torre had ended 12 years as manager when he walked away from a one-year offer, and captain Derek Jeter was sidelined with a strained left thigh. For the Red Sox, 2004 World Series star Curt Schilling and 2007 Series MVP Mike Lowell are on the disabled list.
And Ortiz is off to a horrible start at 3-for-39.
Giambi gave New York a 2-1 lead with a leadoff homer in the seventh off Mike Timlin (0-1). Jose Molina then doubled, took third on Alberto Gonzalez’s sacrifice and scored on Melky Cabrera’s sacrifice fly.
Timlin was activated Friday from the disabled list where he started the season with a cut on his right ring finger
“It was terrible, absolutely terrible,” he said. “I came back, pitched terrible. It’s not how I was looking forward to opening up 2008.”
Abreu singled in the final run in the ninth.
Wang retired the first 10 batters before Dustin Pedroia hit a hard grounder down the third-base line. Alex Rodriguez made an outstanding backhand stop, but his off-balance throw was high, forcing Giambi to jump for it and allowing Pedroia to cross the bag just before the first baseman landed on it. It was ruled an error.
The first two batters in the fifth flied out to Abreu in deep right. Drew followed with another high fly to right and Abreu kept drifting back.
He reached back with his right hand for the low wall, touched the top, then bumped into it.
“A lot of things (were) going through my mind,” Abreu said. “I was thinking, `if I catch the ball it’s going to be a different game.’ “
Wang retired the side by getting Jason Varitek to hit a long fly to center, then breezed through the next three perfect innings and set down the first two batters in the ninth. After Crisp reached on a bunt, Pedroia lined out to left.
New York had taken a 1-0 lead on Molina’s RBI double in the fifth off Clay Buchholz, who pitched a no-hitter in his last Fenway outing on Sept. 1, his second major league start.
Varitek turned 36 Friday. … Drew has hit in all eight of his games. … The crowd of 37,624 set a single-game record for Fenway Park since World War II. The previous record of 37,612 was set one night earlier against Detroit. The capacity of the park was expanded in the offseason. … Exactly one year earlier, Seattle’s Felix Hernandez pitched a one-hitter in Daisuke Matsuzaka’s first start at Fenway Park, a 3-0 Mariners’ win.