NEW YORK -- Once again, David Ortiz stung the Yankees with his bat, and once again, a Red Sox starter hit two Yankees with a pitch.
When the Yankees finally stung Ortiz back, he blamed the media.
"Just want to thank you guys -- not all of you; most of you -- for the stat today of me not getting hit by the Yankees," Ortiz said after an early morning wrap to an 8-3 win, the finish to another Red Sox sweep at Yankee Stadium. "I finally got hit. Hope you [guys] are happy. I'm done."
The stat that Ortiz, 2-for-4 with two RBIs on Thursday, was referring to was one that pointed out the Yankees had never hit him with a pitch since he joined the Red Sox in 2003. That changed in the fourth inning on Thursday.
Ortiz's bat flip after a home run in Tuesday's series opener didn't sit well with Yankees manager Joe Girardi, and the fact that New York did not retaliate after Boston starter Jon Lester hit two opposing batters in that game was widely reported.
On Friday, Josh Beckett caught three more Yankees with pitches, and they weren't just any Yankees. He hit Derek Jeter around the left elbow two pitches into the game and caught Alex Rodriguez on the left hip in the third inning. The first plunking led to the Yankees' first two runs, on a Curtis Granderson homer, and the latter loaded the bases.
Whether Beckett's plunkings were intentional or not, the situation was begging for retaliation, and Sabathia delivered it with a first-pitch 97-mph fastball with one out and one on in the fourth. Home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt immediately issued a warning, and Ortiz smirked as he walked down to first base.
"I threw a two-seamer, and it kind of got away," Sabathia said.
Beckett said he talked with Wendelstedt before and after the warning and said he tried to explain he wasn't trying to hit anyone and that the mound was difficult to get footing on after a rain delay of three hours and 27 minutes. Beckett hit one more Yankee -- Granderson -- with a curveball on the back foot in the fifth inning, and Granderson didn't move. There were no ejections.
"Hunter and I had that talk, and he told me he wasn't going to take the inside plate away from either one of us," Beckett said. "It is what it is. I thought they handled it well. I'm still trying to figure out if David got hit for something I did, or if it's something [the media] stirred up."
"We had four or five guys hit this series, and I think they had one," Girardi said. "Curtis got hit with a curveball, and I understand you're not going to throw someone out when you hit them with a curveball; that's the bottom line. But no one wants to see their guys get hit because you risk injury."
Ortiz started and finished a go-ahead rally against Sabathia in the seventh, singling to start the frame and doubling to plate the last two runs.
When Ortiz reached second base, he clapped several times and made a downward swatting gesture.
Girardi said he didn't have an issue with how Ortiz arrived at the bag.
"I think people are making a big deal out of this," Girardi said. "All along, I said I respect David Ortiz and what he's done for the game. I was shocked with what he did when he hit the home run. When you say things like that here, it's going to kind of take on a life of its own, and when you're playing Boston. But no, I mean, he's somewhat of an emotional guy. He's excited. He got a big hit."
Ortiz, perhaps playing with the media or perhaps serious, did not take questions.
"You guys like to criticize us when we [fail]; criticize yourself now," Ortiz said.
One reporter tried to ask Ortiz where the pitch got him, and the DH was short.
"I don't [care]," Ortiz said. "I already got hit. Don't matter. Too late. I'm not talking no more. Have a good night."
-- Evan Drellich
Knee merely bruised, Pedroia may play Friday
NEW YORK -- As planned, Dustin Pedroia was not with the Red Sox for Thursday night's 8-3 win over the Yankees. However, after an encouraging visit with team medical director Tom Gill, the second baseman will re-join the Red Sox in Toronto and might even start Friday night's opener of a three-game series.
"Hopefully, he might even play tomorrow," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "We'll see. We'll see how he shows up tomorrow, see if he's sore and things like that. He'll be able to play as tolerated, and maybe once in a while, we'll give him a day off. Structurally, he's in really good shape. He was excited. We were relieved."
Pedroia was diagnosed with a bruised right kneecap. The second baseman told The Boston Globe on Wednesday night he was worried he would need surgery, which could have kept him out a month. But that won't be necessary.
"Really good update," Francona said. "The cartilage part they were examining was actually a little smaller than they anticipated. No flap or anything like that. I think the biggest thing he's dealing with is kind of a bruise underneath his kneecap because he's been pounding on it so much."
The way Francona looked at it, the examination with Gill gave Pedroia the confidence to know that he wouldn't be risking further injury by continuing to play.
"I'm glad we went and got him checked because now when he's sore, he [knows he's] just sore."
Pedroia began to feel discomfort in his knee in May of last season, and he had a prolonged slump at the plate. But after a few weeks, the pain decreased a little and Pedroia got red-hot at the plate, up until he fractured the navicular bone in his left foot last June 25 in San Francisco.
"When he broke his foot, it became kind of a non-issue and it got better obviously, because he rested it so much," Francona said. "It's been nagging at him a lot of this year."
Pedroia has had an unusually slow start at the plate in 2011, hitting .247 with four homers and 22 RBIs.
Lowrie returns; Scutaro shifts to second
NEW YORK -- While Jed Lowrie still feels a bit of a dull ache in his left shoulder, the MRI exam he underwent on Wednesday gave him enough peace of mind to return to the Red Sox's starting lineup against the Yankees on Thursday night.
The timing was good, because the Red Sox were facing lefty CC Sabathia. Lowrie, who wasn't in the lineup the previous two games, has dominated southpaws this season.
"I think I feel better because the MRI showed, as they said, no major damage," Lowrie said. "I'm still stiff, still a little sore. I think with the understanding of what they've told me, it's just managing that."
With Lowrie back in there, Marco Scutaro moved to second base and filled in for Dustin Pedroia, who was back in Boston getting his right knee examined.
It was the third straight start for Scutaro since he was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday.
Lowrie isn't sure how long he will feel discomfort in his shoulder as a result of his collision with teammate Carl Crawford in Detroit on May 29.
"It seemed to be more open-ended, but the hope is the sooner, the better," Lowrie said. "It's just kind of a constant ache, so it's not a sharp pain that I feel in my swing. It's just kind of a nagging thing. It seems like right now it's always there."
Ailing Saltalamacchia improving quickly
NEW YORK -- After suffering through a harsh stomach ailment on Wednesday, Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia spent Thursday trying to get back on his feet.
Saltalamacchia wouldn't have played on Thursday anyway because Jason Varitek always catches Josh Beckett, but the catcher might return in Toronto on Friday night, when Clay Buchholz takes the mound.
"Salty looks a lot better," said manager Terry Francona. "He spent the night in a hospital, got some IVs, got some food in his stomach and actually kept it in his stomach. He's going to take BP, and he'll be available in an emergency. We'll see how he does the rest of the night before we make a decision on keeping [Luis Exposito] here or getting a pitcher."
The Red Sox usually have a 12-man pitching staff, but they're down to 11 with Bobby Jenks on the disabled list. Exposito is enjoying his first stint with the Red Sox, however short it might be. He arrived within an hour of Wednesday's first pitch and didn't play.
"It feels like a dream still," Exposito said. "It's so awesome to be here. All the sacrifice and all the hard work, I guess you could say it's starting to pay off. I definitely feel very happy for myself and my family as well. I'm not worried about how long it will be or how short. I'm just going to ride it until something happens and make the best of every opportunity I get."