Boston, MA – Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Red Sox caught the New York Yankees in a very sticky situation to even the latest series between the two bitter AL East rivals.
After having starting pitcher Michael Pineda ejected in the second inning for a foreign substance, the Yankees went on to drop a 5-1 decision to a Red Sox team that received a much-needed boost from their own starter.
With two out and Grady Sizemore batting in the bottom of the second, home plate umpire Gerry Davis was requested by Red Sox manager John Farrell to check Pineda for illegal materials on his body.
Davis touched a brownish substance that appeared to be pine tar on the right side of the pitcher's neck and immediately tossed him from the game.
The New York right-hander also was embroiled in controversy when he faced the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium earlier this month, as television cameras showed the hurler with a brown substance on his right palm. No protests were made by Farrell during that game, in which Pineda held Boston to one run over six innings in a 4-1 Yankees win.
"You could see it. I could see it from the dugout. It was confirmed by a number of camera angles in the ballpark," said Farrell of the pine tar. "And given the last time we faced him, I felt like it was a necessity to say something. You know, I fully respect on a cold night you're trying to get a little bit of a grip, but when it's that obvious, something has got to be said."
Prior to his departure, Pineda (2-2) permitted a pair of first-inning runs on four hits to take the loss.
"In the first inning I [could not] feel the ball and I didn't want to hit anybody, so I used [the pine tar]," Pineda admitted afterward. "I apologize to my teammates and everybody. I'll learn from this mistake."
The incident overshadowed a brilliant performance from Boston's John Lackey (3-2), who bounced back from a pair of poor outings to register a season-best 11 strikeouts while limiting the Yankees to a run over eight innings.
Mike Napoli paced the Red Sox offensively by going 3-for-4 with an RBI double, with Dustin Pedroia contributing two hits, an RBI and two runs scored in the middle test of this three-game set.
Carlos Beltran and Brian Roberts each had two hits for the Yankees, who were coming off a 9-3 victory in Tuesday's opener.
Pineda helped punctuate his early exit with a rough opening inning in which he labored through 30 pitches while yielding the game's first two runs.
Sizemore rapped his third pitch of the night to the right-field wall for a triple and Pedroia quickly singled the leadoff man home before scampering to third on Napoli's one-out base hit. A.J. Pierzynski then sent a slow roller that Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter couldn't handle and was ruled a hit that plated another run.
Boston struck twice more against Pineda replacement David Phelps in the third, aided by Jeter's throwing error on Pedroia's leadoff grounder. After David Ortiz singled, Napoli laced a ground-rule double to right to make it a 3-0 game and Ortiz later scored when Phelps uncorked a wild pitch.
While Pineda left in disgrace, Lackey -- who served up four homers in a 7-4 loss at Yankee Stadium two starts back -- was dominant through the game's early stages. He racked up seven strikeouts over the first four innings, with the Yankees mustering only three singles during that stretch.
"Lackey was outstanding tonight," Farrell said. "He made a number of big pitches. Consistent fastball location, a lot of quality strikes."
New York got a pair of hits but failed to score in the fifth, then finally broke through on Lackey an inning later when Beltran doubled and was brought in by an Alfonso Soriano sac fly.
The Yankees never threatened thereafter, and Boston tacked on one final run when Brock Holt singled in Xander Bogaerts in the eighth.
Ortiz appeared in his 1,643th career game as a designated hitter, tying Harold Baines' major league record ... Jeter finished 0-for-4 to have an 11-game hitting streak snapped, as well as a 21-game run dating back to last season of reaching base safely ... The Red Sox improved to 7-1 this season when scoring first ... Meb Keflezighi, who on Monday became the first American male since 1983 to win the Boston Marathon, threw out the ceremonial first pitch ... With Shane Victorino slated to be activated from the disabled list Thursday, Boston optioned struggling outfielder Daniel Nava to Triple-A Pawtucket prior to the game.