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Warren impresses again as Yankees top Red Sox, 5-2

03/03/2013 4:39 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Adam Warren allowed one hit and one walk in three innings Sunday.(AP)
Righty Adam Warren threw three strong innings in his second spring start and Brett Gardner continued his torrid hitting as the Yankees topped the Red Sox, 5-2, Sunday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla.

Warren, who pitched well in his start at “Fenway South” last spring, made his second outing of 2013 an impressive one as well; he allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out two in his three innings, with Mike Napoli’s second-inning solo homer the only real blow.

Gardner (1-for-2, walk) was the star offensively, as his leadoff single upped his spring hitting streak to six games and his sixth-inning walk made him the only Yankee to reach base twice. After notching just three hits in the first seven innings, the Yankees got four extra-base hits from their reserves in the final two frames, with Thomas Neal’s solo homer in the ninth capping their scoring output for the day.

Offense was at a premium for both teams through five innings, as Boston pitchers retired 15 in a row after Gardner’s leadoff single, and the Red Sox themselves managed just five baserunners off Warren and Jose Ramirez. The Sox did have a good scoring chance in the fourth when Dustin Pedroia and Stephen Drew opened with back-to-back singles off Ramirez, but the righty struck out Napoli, got Daniel Nava to fly out and then got Will Middlebrooks to ground into a force to escape the jam.

The Yankees finally struck in the sixth, however, getting a trio of unearned runs off Boston closer Joel Hanrahan thanks in large part to a pair of errors by third baseman Drew Sutton.

With one out, Corban Joseph laced a single to center, and Bobby Wilson chopped a grounder to third that got through Sutton’s legs to put two on. Gardner then walked, and Eduardo Nunez followed with a bouncing single to right that scored Joseph and tied the game at 1.

Jayson Nix then hit into a soft fielder’s choice -- beating out the back end of what could have been a 6-4-3 double play -- to make it 2-1 Yankees, and pinch-runner Ronnier Mustelier plated the third run when Sutton couldn’t handle Juan Rivera’s hard grounder to third and threw too late to first.

Hanrahan was removed after walking Dan Johnson to re-load the bases, but Junichi Tazawa came in and struck out Melky Mesa to end the inning.

After going quietly in the seventh, the Yankees pushed it to 5-1 with single runs in the eighth and ninth, as Andrew Bailey allowed back-to-back two-out doubles to Jose Pirela and J.R. Murphy in the eighth, and Neal sent his blast to right-center off Pete Ruiz in the ninth. But the Yankees would have to fight off two late charges by the Red Sox, the first coming thanks to their own defensive lapse.

The first attempted rally came in the eighth against Preston Claiborne, who induced three ground balls but was victimized a bit by his infield defense; Rob Segedin’s bouncing throw from third skipped off first baseman Luke Murton’s glove to allow Ryan Lavarnway to reach, and after Pedro Ciriaco grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice --beating out the back end of what could have been a 5-4-3 DP -- Addison Maruszak unleashed a high throw on a grounder to short that allowed Mitch Maier to reach, making it first and second with one out.

With a pair of lefties on deck, Joe Girardi brought in southpaw Josh Spence, and the move worked, as the Aussie got Justin Henry to ground into a 3-6 force and Brock Holt to bounce out to second to end the threat. Kelvin Perez then struggled a bit in the ninth, allowing the final run courtesy of two walks and a wild pitch, but he got Lavarnway to pop out to second baseman Jose Pirela to end the game.

With the win, the Yankees improved to 3-7 on the spring, and they will have a day off Monday before returning to action Tuesday. That night, the Yankees will play the Braves under the lights at George M. Steinbrenner Field, and coverage will begin at 7 p.m. on YES.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

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