Yankees kill three Red Sox rallies by nailing baserunners

Robinson Cano, left, tags out Boston Red Sox's Robinson Cano, left, tags out Boston Red Sox's Daniel Nava (29) for the double play in the eighth inning of a game at Fenway Park. (July 20, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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BOSTON - Red Sox rightfielder Daniel Nava was asked to "talk about that play in the eighth inning" after the Yankees' 5-2 win Saturday at Fenway Park.

"What play?" Nava asked, smiling sheepishly. "Oh, that play."

That play was when Nava tried to tag up and take second base on a pop-up behind home plate that Yankees catcher Chris Stewart caught while falling into the stands. Stewart recovered and threw a strike to Robinson Cano for a 2-4 double play and the final outs of the inning, leaving potential tying run David Ortiz and his 19 home runs in the on-deck circle with the Red Sox trailing 4-2.

On the Fox broadcast, Tim McCarver -- who caught in four decades and has announced in four more -- said he had never seen that before.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who caught 1,247 games, said: "That's an extremely tough play. And it's a huge play because of the guy who's on deck and you have a two-run lead. It's not how you plan rolling up a double play, but we'll take it."

In all, the Yankees cut down three Red Sox baserunners Saturday and lost two of their own on the basepaths, a trade they were willing to make.

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"We played really well on defense today," Girardi said, "and you need to do that because you can't give this team extra outs."

It started in the first inning when Vernon Wells threw out Nava at the plate on a single to left by Ortiz. Nava stumbled coming around third and was tagged out by Stewart to keep the game scoreless.

Eduardo Nuñez was thrown out at the plate in the fifth on a grounder to short with the infield in. Fairly routine. And Brett Gardner was cut down trying to steal second in the ninth.

Yawn.

Boston's basepath outs had more sizzle.

In the bottom of the fifth, Mike Carp tried to score what would have been the tying run when Hiroki Kuroda's pitch went off Stewart's glove and dribbled behind him. But Stewart threw back to Kuroda, who put the tag on Carp.

"We didn't run the bases that well today, myself included," said Carp, a former Mets prospect. "It cost us the ballgame."

In the bottom of the eighth, the Yankees led 4-2 when Dustin Pedroia popped up behind the plate, to the third-base side. Stewart dodged a fan's glove, caught the ball, fell partially into the stands, popped out, whirled and threw to second for a rare double play.

"I don't think I've ever seen it turned," Stewart said. "Just one of those rare things that happens. Fortunately, all the stars aligned right then for us and it was a big play."

Said Nava: "Yeah, hindsight . . . I wouldn't have done it just based on the situation, based on we had Papi on deck. You see a guy go in the stands and most of the time you think you can take the base. That's a time where even if you can take the base, I shouldn't have taken the base."

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