NEW YORK - The game will be remembered for Jacoby Ellsbury’s home run. But the Red Sox bullpen also showed some power last night.
Five relievers combined on eight scoreless innings in the 7-4 victory against the
“We have to go win every game. That’s just how it is,’’ said Papelbon as the Sox left the Bronx with a one-game lead in the wild-card race.
Papelbon threw 29 pitches, 22 for strikes, in 2 1/3 perfect innings. He struck out four, including Austin Romine with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth. It was the longest outing of Papelbon’s career without allowing a base runner.
Morales went two innings for the win, throwing a season-high 44 pitches. He left a runner stranded in the 12th and in the 13th got Nick Swisher to pop to right field with two runners on, then struck out Brett Gardner.
“I was concentrating on my pitches. I was doing my best,’’ Morales said. “I had good location with my fastball and I mixed it up with my split-finger. Everything was good.’’
Doubront retired the side in order in the 14th for the save.
Papelbon said he would be ready to pitch tonight in Baltimore, if needed.
Join the club
Jacoby Ellsbury said he was “very proud’’ of reaching the 30-30 club.
“Definitely a special group of guys in that class,’’ said Ellsbury, who has 38 steals in addition to his 31 homers.
There have been only 57 30-30 seasons. Ellsbury is the 16th American League player to accomplish the feat, the first since Ian Kinsler of Texas in 2009.
He is the fourth player to reach 200 hits, 100 RBIs, 35 steals, and 30 home runs in a season, joining Alex Rodriguez (1998), Vladimir Guerrero (2002), Alfonso Soriano (2002).
“It’s not the best time, but I should brag about him,’’ manager Terry Francona said after a 6-2 loss in the first game. “That’s a pretty amazing feat. This kid has turned into some kind of player and taken a lot of accountability. I used to talk about Johnny Damon being out there all the time. This kid has done some kind of job.’’
Said teammate Dustin Pedroia: “He’s been through a lot the last couple of years. What he’s doing this year is pretty special. We’re all proud of him. He’s worked his butt off.’’
Ellsbury’s previous highs were 10 home runs and 60 RBIs in 2009. But he claimed not to be surprised at his accomplishment.
“I know what I’m capable of doing,’’ he said. “Everybody’s surprised by the power numbers, but it’s always been there. It’s never really translated to the game, but every year I’ve consistently got better. It’s kind of what I was hoping for last year.
Buchholz to minors
Clay Buchholz left for Fort Myers, Fla., yesterday and is scheduled to pitch an inning today in Port Charlotte in an Instructional League game.
The Sox want Buchholz to pitch today but didn’t want that to be against Baltimore. With Josh Beckett on the mound, there was no guarantee an inning would come up. Plus, the game is critical for the Sox.
“It’s just impossible,’’ Francona said. “So he’ll go down there, throw an inning, and it can be a little bit controlled. But it can also be game speed. Think it might be about perfect.’’
Buchholz will rejoin the team tomorrow, be evaluated, and could be cleared to pitch in relief against the Orioles Wednesday.
If the Sox qualify for the postseason, determining Buchholz’s suitability for the roster will be difficult based on an inning or two. He has not pitched in a game since June 16 because of a back injury.
“It is imperfect,’’ Francona said. “We’ve said all along, he may not pitch for us. This is just another step in him attempting to do this. We’ll see. We have been pretty open about it all along, that we’ll see how it goes.’’
For the Sox, that Buchholz is again healthy and throwing off a mound is significant.
“We don’t know where this is going yet,’’ Francona said. “I think the most important thing is that Buch goes home healthy, and he’s doing a terrific job of that.
“If this leads to more, that would be tremendous.’’
Feeling the pain
Jason Varitek left the second game in the seventh inning with a sore right knee, the result of being hit by a pitch in the fifth. He is scheduled to catch Beckett tonight.
“We’ll see how I feel,’’ said Varitek, who has caught all but one of Beckett’s games this season. “I don’t know.’’
Scott Atchison left the first game with a groin strain, suffered while warming up to pitch the eighth inning.
“It’s on the right side, the push side,’’ Atchison said. “When you don’t have the strength in there to push, it’s pretty tough.’’
Atchison threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings, giving him six scoreless outings in a row, a total of 9 1/3 innings. He had worked four of the last five games.
Conor Jackson (left knee) was unavailable for the second game.
J.D. Drew was 1 for 5 with an RBI in his first game since July 19. Several good rounds of batting practice had him prepared to play today. But he talked his way into the lineup before the game. Drew had been out with shoulder and finger injuries . . . The Sox finished the season 13-5 against the Yankees, their most regular-season wins against New York since 1973, when they won 14 . . . When the Sox activated Drew off the 60-day disabled list to start the second game, they made room on the 40-man roster by recalling outfielder Ryan Kalish and placing him on the 60-day DL . . . Game 1 loser Tim Wakefield has allowed three or more runs in 16 consecutive starts, the longest streak of his career.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.