Boston — The New York Yankees got an early start on their trip to Texas, and the Boston Red Sox received a reprieve from a five-game losing streak that had manager Bobby Valentine hoping his team had hit rock bottom.
A day after the Yankees overcame a nine-run deficit with back-to-back seven-run innings to beat Boston 15-9, the finale of their three-game series was postponed by rain. The Red Sox called the game about five hours before the scheduled 8:05 p.m. first pitch — no doubt because of rain that was falling all day and expected to continue through the night.
But it didn’t hurt that the Red Sox could use the day off.
The Red Sox open a seven-game road trip to Minnesota and Chicago on Monday, and there was no immediate announcement about their pitching rotation. Daniel Bard had been scheduled to face CC Sabathia on Sunday night, but Valentine said after the bullpen collapse that converting Bard back into a reliever could be the answer for the “pen.
“Got to consider everything,” the manager said, expressing confidence in a bullpen that has an 8.64 ERA so far this season. “They’re my guys.”
Valentine said he was encouraged that his team opened a nine-run lead a day after spoiling Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary party by losing to the Yankees 6-2.
“They’ve bounced back before,” he said. “This is a psychological situation. You’ve got to be tough. I think we’re a tough team. We’ll find out.”
The Yankees were expected to push the rotation back a day, with scheduled Sunday starter CC Sabathia going Monday instead at Texas and Hiroki Kuroda to face Yu Darvish on Tuesday.
The Yankees pounded the Boston bullpen for seven runs in the seventh inning and seven more in the eighth, their biggest rally after a nine-run deficit since April 18, 1950, when they trailed the Red Sox 9-0 after five innings and went on to win 15-10. The Detroit Tigers rallied from an 11-1 deficit to beat the Washington Senators 18-12 on June 12, 1938.
“To come back in the 7th inning being down 9-nothing to the Red Sox, to be able to get the win, that’s a big win for us,” said Nick Swisher, who hit a grand slam and had six RBIs. “That’s all I can really say. I really don’t know what else to say.”
The Red Sox went 7-20 in September to miss a wild-card spot by one game, leading to a tumultuous offseason in which general manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona departed. Valentine replaced Francona, but the team is now 4-10 in his tenure and the Fenway fans were booing him more loudly with each trip to the mound on Saturday.
Afterward, he was asked if he had any regrets about leaving the broadcast booth to take the job.
“This is all a challenge,” he said. “This is my job. If they said it was only going to be for the good days, I probably wouldn’t have come. The challenges are great.”
Because Sunday night’s game was scheduled to be on ESPN, Francona was supposed to be in the booth to analyze his former team. The rainout saves the Red Sox from that awkward situation.
It also delays the Boston debut of newly acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd, who was traded to the Red Sox from the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night. Byrd is expected to move into an outfield that has been struggling to recover from the losses of Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury to injury.