Red Sox 7, Yankees 6
In another thrilling chapter in a rich rivalry, the Red Sox tied a major league record with the home run streak and got their third consecutive comeback win with a 7-6 victory Sunday night despite Daisuke Matsuzaka’s shaky debut against the Yankees.
“It certainly brought some life back into the ballpark in a hurry,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of the third-inning homers off rookie Chase Wright that gave Boston a 4-3 lead.
Mike Lowell hit one of those homers, then connected for a go-ahead, three-run shot in the seventh.
“I haven’t been part of anything like that, not even in Little League,” Lowell said. “The dugout was going crazy. It was really a cool feeling.”
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia made a diving catch to preserve the lead in the eighth inning, and Jonathan Papelbon retired Alex Rodriguez on a game-ending grounder with a runner on, finishing Boston’s first sweep of New York in Fenway Park since 1990.
“It speaks to we’re a good team,” Lowell said. “I don’t think it means anything for the next five months.”
The sweep was a bit of revenge for the Red Sox. Last August, the Yankees swept a five-game series at Fenway to take control of the AL East race.
This time, first-place Boston moved four games ahead of the third-place Yankees.
“We didn’t play well and we lost three games,” Derek Jeter said. “But we’ve got 147 left.”
“I tried to stay calm and cool,” Wright said. “I was just thinking: Attack the next hitter.”
Then, with the Yankees leading 5-4 in the seventh, Lowell’s homer off Scott Proctor (0-1) just cleared the Green Monster in left field for a 7-5 lead.
“It’s a concern,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said of his relievers, who squandered a four-run lead in Friday’s 7-6 loss. “We had the first game in hand and we let it get away from us.”
Jeter hit his first home run of the season for New York to tie it at 4 in the fifth after Jason Giambi drove in three runs. But the Yankees’ bullpen failed—even with starter Andy Pettitte making his second relief appearance of the year.
Matsuzaka (2-2) had his worst outing in four big league starts, allowing six runs in seven-plus innings. He finally got some offensive support, though. In his previous two starts, the Red Sox totaled just one run.
“There’s no way I can be satisfied,” he said through a translator. “What I wanted most of all was to hold that lead and I couldn’t do that.”
The right-hander left after giving up a leadoff single in the eighth to Rodriguez, who has hit safely in all 17 games this season. Rodriguez scored on a force play at second, but Pedroia made a backhand grab on a liner by pinch-hitter Josh Phelps, stranding Robinson Cano at third.
“I kind of cheated up the middle, and he hit it really hard,” Pedroia said. “Anytime you sweep the Yankees, you’re doing something right.”
Papelbon pitched the ninth for his sixth save in as many chances, and second in two days.
Lowell’s third homer of the season followed a single by Ramirez and a double by Drew, chasing Proctor after he failed to retire a batter. The Red Sox, who have won five straight overall, batted .363 in the series against New York’s injury-depleted pitching staff.
The crowd of 36,905 was the second-largest at Fenway since World War II, though the Red Sox have added seating capacity annually the last several years. The attendance last June 10 against Texas was 36,920.
The third-inning outburst made the Red Sox the fifth team in major league history to hit four homers in a row. The Los Angeles Dodgers did it on Sept. 18 last season against San Diego. Drew hit the second of those four homers as well. It was the second homer of the season for all four Boston batters.
Wright became the second big league pitcher to allow four consecutive homers. The other was Paul Foytack of the Los Angeles Angels on July 31, 1963, in the sixth inning of the second game of a doubleheader against Cleveland. One of those homers was hit by Tito Francona, the father of current Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who turned 48 on Sunday.
Wright also tied a major league record for most homers allowed in an inning. He was the first pitcher to give up four since Randy Johnson of the Yankees on Aug. 21, 2005, against the Chicago White Sox.
The Red Sox celebrated Jackie Robinson Day a week late with a pregame ceremony. The 60th anniversary of Robinson’s major league debut was observed at other stadiums on April 15, but Boston’s home game that day against the Los Angeles Angels was rained out. Three members of the Red Sox—DH David Ortiz, CF Coco Crisp and third base coach DeMarlo Hale—wore Robinson’s No. 42. … It was Lowell’s 12th multihomer game and first since May 20, 2004, for Florida. … Jeter extended his hitting streak to 13 games. … Bobby Abreu struck out three times against Matsuzaka.