BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox made sure the umpires noticed something on New York pitcher Michael Pineda this time.
Pineda was ejected for using pine tar less than two weeks after appearing to get away with using a foreign substance in another game against Boston, and the Red Sox beat New York 5-1 on Wednesday night behind eight solid innings by John Lackey.
In Pineda’s previous start against the Red Sox, a 4-1 Yankees win in New York on April 10, television cameras caught Pineda with what appeared to be sticky pine tar on his hand on a cool night.
Boston manager John Farrell didn’t see a photograph of Pineda’s hand until the fourth inning; when Pineda came out to warm up for the fifth, his hand was clean.
“There was no talk about it,” Boston first baseman Mike Napoli said. “We had a game plan against him. He has good stuff. There was no thought of it, but everyone saw it. You could see it on his neck. Something had to be said.”
With two outs and a 1-2 count on Grady Sizemore, Farrell walked out and talked to plate umpire Gerry Davis.
“John Farrell mentioned that he felt he had a foreign substance on his person, and (we) went out to check him and he did,” Davis told a pool reporter.
Both Pineda and Davis said it was pine tar.
“When it’s that obvious, something has got to be said,” Farrell said after the game. “Our awareness was heightened, given what we had seen in the past.”
Lackey rebounded from a pair of rough starts, holding the Yankees to one run and seven hits, striking out 11 and not walking a batter.
“The bullpen’s been kind of taxed a little,” Napoli said. “For him to come out and give us eight strong, it was huge for the team.”
Lackey (3-2) had allowed six earned runs in each of his past two starts, one coming against the Yankees in a 7-4 loss on April 12.
“I was thinking about trying to give the bullpen a rest, for sure,” Lackey said. “We’ve got some guys down there who have been working pretty good the last week or so – I just wanted to get those guys a little bit of breather and win a ballgame.”
Koji Uehara struck out three in the ninth in a non-save situation.
Pineda (2-2) had nothing on the right side of his neck in a photo of him on the mound in his tough first inning, when four of the first six batters reached on hits. He said he put it on to get a better grip on the ball.
After Pineda struck out the first two batters, Farrell talked to Davis. The umpire went to the mound, looked at the ball then touched the substance on Pineda’s neck with his right index finger. Then he gestured with that same finger, indicating Pineda’s ejection.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi called it “an error in judgment” and a “little bump” and “poor judgment.”
“He had a hard time gripping the baseball. Unknown to us, he put it on and went out there,” Girardi said. “It’s a young kid. I don’t think he’s trying to do anything, cheat. I think he’s just trying to go out there and compete.”
Rule 8.02(b) says a pitcher shall not “have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance. For such infraction of this section the penalty shall be immediate ejection from the game. In addition, the pitcher shall be suspended automatically.”
“We will talk to the umpires tomorrow and review their report before taking any action,” Major League Baseball spokesman Michael Teevan said.
In recent suspensions of pitchers for pine tar, Tampa Bay’s Joel Peralta was penalized eight games in 2012, the Los Angeles Angels’ Brendan Donnelly 10 days in 2005 and St. Louis’ Julian Tavarez 10 days in 2004. The suspensions of Donnelly and Tavarez were cut to eight days after they asked the players’ association to appeal, and Peralta dropped his challenge with no reduction.
On Wednesday, with the game time temperature at 50 degrees, Grady Sizemore started the first with a triple and scored on Dustin Pedroia’s single. With one out, Napoli singled Pedroia to third. After Mike Carp flied to left, A.J. Pierzynski singled up the middle, scoring Pedroia.
After Pineda’s ejection, David Phelps came in and completed the strikeout of Sizemore.
Napoli had three hits and Boston scored two runs in the first and two more in the third.
The Yankees scored on Alfonso Soriano’s sacrifice fly in the sixth.