Red Sox 12, Yankees 5
BOSTON (AP)—The New York Yankees are going to the playoffs, and they will probably go there as AL East champions, too.
They just won’t be clinching the division in Fenway Park. The Boston Red Sox made sure of that on Saturday night with a seven-run eighth inning.
“They’ll get their chance to celebrate somewhere else,” Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon said. “And that’s fine.”
Manny Ramirez doubled in the tiebreaking run in the eighth, and the Red Sox beat New York 12-5 to cut the Yankees’ lead in the AL East to 4 1/2 games. Jason Varitek and Doug Mirabelli each doubled in a pair of runs as Boston sent 11 men to the plate in the inning.
New York’s magic number is four, so victories on Saturday and Sunday would have won the division; instead, Boston clinched the season series (10-8) against the Yankees for the first time since 1999.
“That doesn’t matter once you get to the postseason,” Damon said, telling reporters jokingly: “Maybe you guys can rub it in their face and make them think about it.”
The Red Sox lead the AL wild-card race by six games over Anaheim and Texas, and they had hoped to sweep New York to propel themselves back into the division race. But the Yankees won the series opener on Friday night when they rallied against tiring Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez after manager Terry Francona left him in for the eighth inning.
On Saturday night, Francona was ejected in the sixth arguing a fan interference call and wasn’t around to see the pivotal eighth inning. Paul Quantrill (6-3), who extinguished a Boston rally in the seventh, helped fuel one in the eighth, when he was charged with four runs.
Boston closer Keith Foulke, who has blown his last two save opportunities with ninth-inning homers, came on with the score tied 5-all, two outs in the eighth and runners on first and second. Jorge Posada, who had a pair of two-run doubles, grounded out, and Foulke (5-3) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.
Boston fought back from 1-0 and 3-1 deficits to tie it, then took a 5-3 lead in the fifth that the Yankees erased in the sixth. In the eighth, Johnny Damon singled and stole second with one out, Mark Bellhorn walked and Ramirez lined Quantrill’s pitch off the center-field wall to make it 6-5.
But Boston wasn’t done—not after seeing a late lead evaporate the night before.
After David Ortiz was intentionally walked, Varitek doubled in two runs, Trot Nixon was hit by a pitch and Mirabelli doubled in two more. Orlando Cabrera’s sacrifice fly and Bill Mueller’s single each scored another run.
Mirabelli also hit a two-run homer off Yankees starter Javier Vazquez in the fourth to tie the game 3-all and was hit by a pitch twice. Vazquez had been expected to be in the playoff rotation, but he could be passed over in favor of Jon Lieber.
“Vazquez concerns me. No question. I know he’s a lot better than this,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “We have to stop this thing because I want him to be a part of this. He’s got too much going for himself.”
The Red Sox threatened in the seventh but couldn’t take the lead after Ortiz hit a one-out double and Kevin Millar walked. Felix Heredia relieved Tanyon Sturtze and got Nixon to hit a potential double-play grounder, but shortstop Derek Jeter couldn’t handle the throw from second with pinch-runner Doug Mientkiewicz bearing down on him, and everyone was safe.
Quantrill came on and got Mirabelli on a weak bloop to the shortstop, and Cabrera on a hard liner to third base.
Francona was ejected by plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth for arguing about fan interference on a double that allowed the tying run to score in the sixth inning.
With the Red Sox leading 5-3 and Yankee runners on first and second, Posada hit a line drive down the first-base line that bounced along the right-field wall. First-base umpire Jim Wolf signaled that the ball had been touched.
Posada stopped at second and both runners came around to score. Francona expected that Bernie Williams, who had been on first, would be sent back to third because of the interference, but the umpires used their discretion to allow Williams to score.
Vazquez allowed five runs in 4 2-3 innings and has won just once in his last eight starts. He has given up four runs or more in six of those. … Hideki Matsui hit a solo homer in the second. … Tim Wakefield allowed five runs—three earned—on five hits and two walks, striking out one in 6 1-3 innings. … Jeter was 0-for-4 with an error and grounded into two double plays.