NEW YORK — Francisco Cervelli was holding his right thigh in foul territory up the first base line.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was having words with first base umpire Bob Davidson.
The Red Sox were leaving the field, thinking they had turned a 5-4-3 double play to get out of a fourth-inning jam.
Then suddenly, they weren’t.
They were clustered around the mound, waiting for replay review to determine if Cervelli had beaten the throw at first.
Red Sox starter Felix Doubront was at as much of a loss as anyone. All he could do was chat with second baseman Jonathan Herrera. And wait.
After holding his breath for the decision, then learning that instead of being out of the inning the Red Sox had surrendered the run that would ultimately decide their 3-2 loss to the Yankees, all Doubront could do was go back and get another out.
But the situation was difficult for Doubront to wrap his head around.
“It was . . . I can’t say nothing about that,” Doubront said afterward. “But it happened. It was a double play to get out of the inning and that happened. I don’t know.”
That Doubront stretched his start to 6⅔ innings was its own victory. His previous start blew up in just 2⅔ innings after he gave up five runs.
Looking to rebound, things started out shaky for Doubront. Three batters in, he found himself in a jam after a single by Carlos Beltran and double by Jacoby Ellsbury had runners at second and third.
But when Jackie Bradley Jr. turned an Alfonso Soriano fly ball into two outs by throwing out Ellsbury at third, things started to shift for Doubront.
“The first inning was really challenging and that play made me confident to keep battling,” Doubront said. “The team gave me more confidence. This outing was really tough, but I went through it.”
Doubront’s stat line included seven hits and just two strikeouts, but in a game dotted with oddities, his work was recognized by manager John Farrell.
“I thought he struggled to find his rhythm early, but he settled in and gave us [6⅔] innings of work,” Farrell said. “Early on, you might not think he’s going to get that deep, but he found a way to do it, kept us in the ballgame and put up a quality outing in the end.”
Doubront also ran into a bit of trouble when Beltran got a hold of a changeup and blasted it into the left-field seats in the third.
“I threw a couple changeups and I left that one up and I think he was looking for that,” Doubront said. “A mistake, but overall it was a challenging game. It was pretty rough. The good thing is that I got out of those challenges.”
Between Doubront’s outing and 1⅓ clean innings of relief from Chris Capuano, the Sox overall got some solid work from their pitchers.
“Felix really was solid, especially later in the game,” Capuano said. “He started attacking the zone and getting quick outs. A great bounce-back outing for him. As far as defense, this team does a great job of positioning and fielding their positions. That’s a nice luxury to have as a pitcher.”
After five appearances and 6⅓ innings, Capuano still hasn’t allowed a run. He came on in the seventh with two outs and a runner on second and got Ellsbury to bounce out to second to kill a threat. Then, Capuano hung up a zero in the eighth, and he did it, he said, without his best stuff.
“I wasn’t really happy with pitch execution,” he said. “I had Soriano 0-2 there and threw a pitch that caught a lot of the plate that he almost drove out, and we made a great defensive play in deep right field for the out. It’s a team effort. I’ve had to rely on the team. I’m just always focused on executing pitches.”
Take away John Lackey’s four-homer, six-run outing and Sox pitchers combined for a 2.63 ERA and 27 strikeouts in the four-game set. On the season, the Sox’ bullpen has given up only 10 earned runs and allowed only 2 of 17 runners to score.
Part of that, Capuano said, is small sample size. Most of it is just the pitchers doing their jobs.
“At the end of the year, if we’re still at that percentage, then that’s really something to talk about,” he said. “But we’re not thinking about anything more than trying to make our pitch out there. Our focus is very small. It’s on executing pitches one at a time.”