After Lester pitched a sharp five-hitter and Boston stopped a five-game losing streak with a 7-0 victory Thursday night, Girardi closed the clubhouse for a 30-minute meeting.
“I think everybody is embarrassed,” losing pitcher Andy Pettitte said. “We walked through it tonight. It was extremely disappointing.
“Absolute, horrible game,” he said.
It looked a little better from the Boston side.
Lester (7-3) made his most impressive start since pitching a no-hitter against Kansas City on May 19. That was his only complete game in the majors until this gem.
“Stuff-wise, I don’t think it was any different,” he said.
That was plenty for Lester to send the Yankees to their fourth loss in five games.
Girardi declined to give details on the late-night session. He got into a brief, testy exchange with one reporter over exactly what he told his players.
“That’s between my team and me,” he said. “We did not play a good game. We didn’t do anything. We didn’t hit, we didn’t pitch. We didn’t play a good game.”
Lester struck out eight and walked two, and used three double plays to win his fourth straight decision.
Lester became the first Boston pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout against the Yankees since Pedro Martinez in 2000. And, this came in Lester’s first appearance at Yankee Stadium.
“It was cool. It was definitely a different experience,” he said. “You watch the game and it seems big, but when you’re out there on the mound, it’s a pretty big stadium and a lot of people.”
Both AL East powers went into the opener of this four-game series in the rare position of chasing Tampa Bay. There was no scoreboard watching—the division-leading Rays were off.
The last time Boston and the Yankees played after Memorial Day with neither team in first place? September 1997, the Elias Sports Bureau said.
For now, the Yankees are simply interested in winning games, against anyone.
“It’s not just tonight,” Jeter said. “We need to play better. Everyone realizes we’re capable of playing better.”
“He used his two-seamer, his cutter, his four-seamer, got a lot of first-pitch strikes, got some double plays,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He really looked like a 6-foot-5 major league left-hander.”
New York went quietly after that. A day after the Yankees scored 18 runs, the sellout crowd had little to cheer—Rodriguez, whose friendship with Madonna has made for tabloid headlines, heard scattered boos after striking out.
Pettitte (9-6) never looked comfortable and lasted just 4 2-3 innings as his six-game winning streak came ended.
Pettitte shouted at himself as he walked off the mound after giving up two runs in the first inning. He slipped to 15-7 against the Red Sox—even minus injured David Ortiz, the starters in Boston’s lineup were hitting a combined .359 lifetime against him.
“I was terrible,” Pettitte said. “
Almost from the get-go, he was in trouble.
Dustin Pedroia and J.D. Drew singled with one out in the first and Manny Ramirez hit a grounder that could have been an inning-ending double play. But Jeter’s relay skipped into the stands, scoring a run, and Mike Lowell followed with an RBI single.
Lugo added a sacrifice fly in the fourth, Lowell had a sacrifice fly in the fifth and Jason Varitek snapped an 0-for-19 slump with an RBI single in the eighth.
Crisp hit leadoff singles in his first two at-bats and scored both times in his first action since serving a five-game suspension for his part in a Tampa Bay-Boston brawl last month.
Ramirez singled to break an 0-for-12 rut. … Yankees OF Melky Cabrera singled, ending a career-worst 0-for-19 slump.