Red Sox 5, Yankees 2, 1st game; Yankees 7, Red Sox 5, 2nd game
NEW YORK (AP)—After splitting a day-night doubleheader Saturday, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red were exhausted.
And on Sunday, they get to do it again.
Jason Giambi’s go-ahead double in the seventh inning lifted the Yankees to a 7-5 win Saturday night that lowered to four the magic number for New York’s ninth straight AL East title. The Yankees (90-57) and Boston will play another split doubleheader Sunday—making it four games in a span of about 36 hours.
“I’m just beat up, tired right now,” Giambi said.
New York maintained a season-high 11 1/2 -game lead over the second-place Red Sox, who dropped eight games back of Minnesota in the wild-card race. With a sweep Sunday and a loss by third-place Blue Jays, the Yankees would clinch the division before they head to Toronto early Monday for the start of a road trip.
“I think I’m going to focus right now on getting a few hours of sleep before I get here tomorrow,” said Bernie Williams, who had a two-run double. “It’s going to be a long day.
“We’re still trying to win a division, so our intensity level has to remain up,” Derek Jeter said. “It’s not like we’re playing and we have nothing to play for. We still have to win some games.”
Jeter had hits in both games to extend his hitting streak to 25 games, the longest for the Yankees since Joe Gordon’s 29-game string in 1942. Jeter went 2-for-10 and his average dropped to .343, one point below AL leader Joe Mauer of Minnesota.
“We’ve got two weeks left. I’m not even thinking about that,” Jeter said.
In the second game, Giambi put the Yankees ahead 6-5 in the seventh with an opposite-field double to left off Craig Breslow (0-2), a drive just over the outstretched glove of Wily Mo Pena, who strained his right quadriceps on the play.
Randy Johnson allowed five runs, eight hits and three walks in 5 2-3 innings, striking out six, and Scott Proctor (6-4) got out of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the seventh by striking out Jason Varitek and pinch-hitter Trot Nixon. Kyle Farnsworth pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
Alex Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis hit RBI doubles in the third, and Gonzalez made it 3-1 with a run-scoring single in the fourth, but Williams’ two-run double off starter Julian Tavarez tied it in the bottom half.
Coco Crisp struck out in his first three at-bats against Johnson, hacking at sliders, before doubling off the left-field foul line on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth. The Yankees came right back in the bottom half on pinch-hitter Hideki Matsui’s sacrifice fly off Craig Hansen and Melky Cabrera’s run-scoring single.
Ortiz became a focal point in the opener. He was quoted in Monday’s editions of The Boston Globe as saying power hitters deserve MVP awards, remarks some took as a putdown of Jeter’s qualifications. Ortiz was booed loudly every time he batted and greeted with chants of “Derek Jeter!”
“I didn’t expect it,” said Jeter, whose at-bats were marked by chants of “M-V-P!”
Jeter said Ortiz’s remarks were “over with.” The Yankees star joked with the Boston slugger when Ortiz was at second base.
“Nothing any different than we always do,” Jeter said. “You joke around a little bit when you’re playing against people.”
Ortiz did not respond to questions after the nightcap. Boston manager Terry Francona spoke about the fans’ chants and boos.
“It’s the way he reacts to every reception,” Francona said. “He didn’t lose his focus, which was good.”
Beckett (15-10) allowed four hits and five walks in six innings, but the only hit that cost him was Robinson Cano’s two-run homer in the second.
“I definitely had to learn the hard way in a few starts this year,” said Beckett, who matched his career-high for wins. “Did I win enough? No, and most of that was my fault. I need to stick to my game plan and not be wishy-washy out there.”
Mike Timlin finished for his sixth save.
Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang (17-6) lost for the first time in six starts since Aug. 13, giving up three runs and nine hits in five-plus innings. Given that he’s 10-3 at Yankee Stadium, he appears likely to start one of the first two playoff games along with Johnson or Mike Mussina.
“He, Moose and Randy, as far I’m concerned, I trust them all,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
Boston rallied in the fourth, when Nixon doubled leading off and Eric Hinske reached on an infield single, with Jeter making a diving stop and then throwing from his knees only to have the ball skip past Giambi at first.
But then the Yankees won the nightcap. Still, Torre didn’t want to think about clinching Sunday.
“That’s too far in advance for me,” he said.
New York plans to have Gary Sheffield play in a simulated game before a batting practice on their trip next week before activating him. Sheffield had wrist surgery on June 13. … Matsui will return to left during the final homestand. … The Red Sox were 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the opener, and the Yankees 0-for-7.