Ortiz, Wakefield Lead Red Sox Past Yankees Again
NEW YORK (AP) – David Ortiz hit one of three Boston homers to back a tireless Tim Wakefield and the Red Sox extended their domination of the Yankees this season, beating New York 11-6 on Wednesday night to take over first place in the AL East.
Carl Crawford and J.D. Drew also connected, both in the ninth inning to break the game open for a second time. Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits and Adrian Gonzalez added two RBIs.
Facing his most familiar foe in Wakefield, Derek Jeter finished 1 for 5 to move within 11 hits of 3,000. He had a run-scoring double but also grounded into a rally-killing double play.
Terry Francona spoke to WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jonny Miller after the game:
Alex Rodriguez homered but A.J. Burnett came up small in a big game for the banged-up Yankees, who have lost seven of eight meetings with their longtime rivals this season — including all five at home.
The last time the Red Sox won their first five road games against the Yankees in a season was 1912, on the way to a World Series title.
Boston goes for its second sweep at Yankee Stadium in a month Thursday night when Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett faces fellow ace CC Sabathia in their latest marquee matchup. Beckett has beaten Sabathia and the Yankees twice in two spotless starts this season, striking out 19 over 14 shutout innings.
The Red Sox have won five straight overall after losing four in a row. Boston has won 18 of 24, starting the surge with a three-game sweep in the Bronx from May 13-15.
Wakefield (3-1) was relieved in the sixth by ex-Yankee Alfredo Aceves, who went the rest of the way for his first save of the season.
Jeter was 1 for 3 against Wakefield, giving him 32 career hits against the 44-year-old knuckleballer, his most against any pitcher. The two have squared off in 118 plate appearances, the most common matchup among active players in majors.
Fill-in catcher Francisco Cervelli had three hits and two RBIs for the Yankees.
New York tried to rally in the sixth, which included a strange swing. Eduardo Nunez fouled a pitch off the front of his helmet, jarring it loose, and straight up in the air. It was a dead ball, but Nunez was shaken up for a moment.
He stayed in the game and singled before Cervelli cut it to 8-5 with an RBI single, making him 9 for 16 (.563) in his career with the bases loaded. But with sweat dripping from the bill of his cap, Aceves got Jeter to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Just before that, Gardner failed to break from third on a pitch that went to the backstop.
Making his first start at the new Yankee Stadium on a 90-degree night, Wakefield was handed a 7-0 lead by the fourth. He floated 66 mph knuckleballs toward the plate and held New York in check long enough to earn his 196th career win.
The oldest active player in the majors, Wakefield even had enough in the tank to outrace speedy Brett Gardner to first base on a grounder in the fourth.
Wakefield tripped over the head of Gardner, who dived headfirst into the bag, and tumbled to the turf. But the right-hander caught his breath, got back up and lasted 5 1-3 innings. When he was lifted, Ortiz was waiting with a hug at the top of the dugout steps.
Wakefield was working with an unusual batterymate, too. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was sent to the hospital earlier in the day because he was feeling sick, so Jason Varitek started behind the plate with Wakefield on the mound for the first time since 2005.
Varitek has, however, caught Wakefield in relief outings during that span.
Rodriguez’s 624th homer in the fourth cut it to 7-1 and gave him 1,865 RBIs, passing Hall of Famer Mel Ott for ninth on the career list.
After his spill to end the fourth, Wakefield ran into trouble in the fifth. Cervelli hit an RBI single, Jeter drove in a run with a double to deep center and Mark Teixeira’s sacrifice fly made it 7-4.
Burnett (6-4) was pulled after a two-out walk to Varitek in the sixth and Boston loaded the bases against Boone Logan, who walked Gonzalez to force in a run — prompting what appeared to be a stern lecture on the mound from pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
Boston scored three runs in the first for the second consecutive night, including a two-run shot by Ortiz. The reigning AL player of the week, who has four homers in his last eight games, hit a two-run drive in Tuesday’s victory and punctuated it with a cocky flip of his bat followed by a theatrical pirouette before beginning his trot around the bases.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he “didn’t really care for it,” and Ortiz said it was simply “Papi style.”
That home run came one pitch after rookie Hector Noesi backed Ortiz off the plate, but the Yankees never brushed him back Wednesday.
NOTES: Boston is 16-6 on the road since April 20, the best mark in the majors during that span, after opening a franchise-worst 0-7 away from home. … Wakefield improved to 12-17 against the Yankees. … Varitek had a passed ball in the fifth. Wakefield threw a wild pitch in the second. … Jeter whiffed in the third, snapping a career-long stretch of 58 plate appearances without a strikeout. His previous one came against Toronto’s Ricky Romero on May 24.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)