Left-hander pitches six-plus scoreless frames against Sox
NEW YORK -- The Yankees spoke about needing a solid pitching performance to get them over a seven-game losing streak. They couldn't have anticipated it would come from Kei Igawa, a floundering hurler who'd been relegated to their bullpen days earlier.
Igawa came in under emergency circumstances, taking over for starter Jeff Karstens, who was hit in the right leg by a line drive on his first pitch. Igawa wound up giving the Yankees their best pitching performance in a week, picking up the victory as the Yankees defeated the Red Sox, 3-1, on Saturday.
Julio Lugo ripped a single up the middle on Karstens' first pitch, and the hurler went down, drawing medical attention on the field. Karstens stayed in to pitch to one more batter, but he was lifted after allowing a hit to Kevin Youkilis.
That brought on Igawa, who had originally been scheduled to pitch Saturday but was passed over in the rotation when a rainout presented an option between Igawa -- who struggled Monday against the Rays -- and Karstens.
Igawa responded to the challenge, coming out of the bullpen to deliver six-plus innings of shutout, two-hit ball. The Japanese left-hander walked four but struck out six, providing the Yankees with the strong starting effort they'd spoken about needing desperately to crack out of their skid.