NEW YORK -- Around 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi took the podium for his pregame news conference, announcing that he had both bad and good news to begin the day -- Joba Chamberlain was likely out for the year, but Phil Hughes was slowly working his way back to the club.
Thirteen-and-a-half minutes later, after fielding nothing but injury questions, Girardi was reminded that there was a game to be played later that night.
"Yes, there is," the skipper said. "CC [Sabathia] against [Josh] Beckett, if anyone wanted to know."
Girardi and the Yankees had to wait an extra three hours and 27 minutes for the start of the game -- another loss to the Red Sox, this one by an 8-3 count -- Boston's seventh in a row against its rival and sixth straight in the Bronx to start the season, something it had not done since 1912. What remained of the 41,120 fans who made their way through the Yankee Stadium turnstiles more than six hours earlier saw the Red Sox exit with a two-game lead in the American League East.
"There's a lot of baseball to be played until we see them again," said Girardi, whose team will not face Boston again until August. "How we play the next month and a half or two months until we see them is going to have a lot to do with where we're at."
Curtis Granderson and Sabathia momentarily provided respites -- the former with a two-run homer, the latter by plunking David Ortiz.
But as Thursday gave way to Friday, and as Ortiz recovered from a hit-by-pitch, the all-too-familiar scene of the Red Sox celebrating in the Bronx became inevitable.
Sabathia was chased after 6 2/3 innings, with a seven-run, 11-batter seventh undoing him and David Robertson. Ortiz led off the inning with a single and recorded the Red Sox's eighth and final hit of the frame a short while later with a two-run double, this after hitting homers on Tuesday and Wednesday. He finished the series with four hits, four runs scored and six RBIs.
"Very disappointing -- that's the outing," Sabathia said. "We lose the game and get swept. I take total blame for everything that happened in the seventh inning, and I'll be back out there again in five days."
The Yankees jumped ahead in the first inning, with Granderson ripping a 3-1 fastball from Josh Beckett into the second deck in right for his 18th home run of the year. It snapped a 2-for-25 slump for Granderson, accounted for the Yankees' first runs off Beckett this season in 14-plus innings and gave them a 2-0 lead, their first of the series.
"He became himself right after that," Granderson said of Beckett. "He threw a lot of strikes, he stayed in the ballgame late and did exactly what his team needed him to do."
The runner Granderson drove home was Derek Jeter, who was greeted by a 91-mph cutter to the upper left arm with Beckett's second pitch. The plunking came two nights after Jon Lester hit a pair of Yankees, and when Ortiz -- who drew the ire of Girardi on Tuesday by flipping his bat following a home run -- led off the following inning, Sabathia responded accordingly -- by striking him out.
It seemed appropriate enough, but after Beckett hit Alex Rodriguez near his right hip in the third inning -- and with Ortiz coming to bat in the fourth -- something was going to give.
Ortiz's right thigh took a 97-mph heater on Sabathia's first delivery, drawing a warning to both benches and putting a smile on the face of Ortiz, who celebrated his first plunking in 161 career games against the Yankees by trotting slowly to first.
Beckett's first-pitch curveball hit Granderson in the foot an inning later, but home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt deemed it unintentional.
Beckett settled down after the first inning and pitched another gem against the Yankees, giving up just four hits over seven innings. He is now 3-0 against New York this year, having given up just two runs in 21 innings.
"We come here and throw three guys at them and score a lot of runs against these guys," said Mike Cameron, who hit an RBI double in that decisive seventh inning. "We played some good baseball. We've been playing good baseball and finding ways to get it done.
Meanwhile, the Yankees' ace, Sabathia, could not sustain the momentum from his last four starts, each of which lasted at least eight innings and ended with him as the winning pitcher.
The southpaw emerged from the home dugout and began his walk to the bullpen at 9:51 p.m. on Thursday, giving the fans inside Yankee Stadium more reason to cheer than they had the previous two days.
At 12:46 a.m. on Friday, Sabathia made his walk back, an 0-3 personal record against the Red Sox becoming official some 57 minutes afterward, and the Yankees facing the AL's second-best team, the Indians, later that night.
After just becoming victims of the league's best team, it can only be a relief.
Matt Fortuna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.