NEW YORK (AP) -- Two little, too late for the Boston Red Sox.
Boston beat the New York Yankees twice in one day for the first
time in 30 years, rallying for a 5-4 victory Sunday night on Mark Loretta's ninth-inning sacrifice fly. In the opener of the team's
second straight day-night doubleheader, David Ortiz's
league-leading 49th homer and Kevin Youkilis' three-run double in
the seventh boosted Boston to a 6-3 win.
With such a storied history, it's tough for any Yankee to find a franchise first. Derek Jeter came close this year, but fell a little short. Since Joe DiMaggio recorded a hit in 56 straight games in 1941, only one Yankee has compiled a longer hitting streak than Jeter's 25-gameer, which ended Sunday.
"Unfortunately, where we are in the standings, it's more of a
moral victory," Loretta said.
Boston, which overcame a 4-2, eighth-inning deficit in the
nightcap, had not defeated the Yankees twice in one day since July
31, 1976, at Fenway Park, and hadn't accomplished the feat at
Yankee Stadium since July 4, 1973.
It was only a month ago that the Yankees swept five games in
Boston from Aug. 18-21 to take a 6½-game lead that pretty much
finished off the Red Sox.
"They come into our place and kill us, it's just nice to come
into their place -- even though the situation is a lot different
right now -- and still play hard and pull off most of these games,"
Coco Crisp said.
While beating the Yankees three of four in a 34½-hour span, the
situation remains bleak for the Red Sox.
New York was in position to clinch its ninth straight division
title with a sweep Sunday combined with a Blue Jays loss to the
Devil Rays. But even before the Red Sox got the final out of the
opener, Toronto won 5-3.
"Sooner or later, we are going to clinch this thing," Johnny Damon said.
New York, which leads the AL East by 9½ games over the
second-place Red Sox, still has a magic number of four and hopes to
wrap up the division during a seven-game trip to Toronto and Tampa
Bay that starts Monday. Last year, the Yankees clinched at Fenway
Park on the next-to-last day of the regular season.
"Celebrating here, celebrating next week," Youkilis said
before pausing. "It's definitely better that they're not
celebrating in front of us."
Boston is 7½ games behind Minnesota, the AL wild-card leader.
"There's no glory here," Youkilis said. "It doesn't make us
happy, at all. Our goal this year was to win the division and we
didn't accomplish it, barring a miracle."
Derek Jeter sat out the opener and went 0-for-4 in the second
game, ending his hitting streak at 25 games, the longest for the
Yankees since Joe Gordon's 29-game string in 1942. Jeter's average
fell to .341, three points behind Minnesota's Joe Mauer, the AL
Jorge Posada hit a two-run double that gave the Yankees a 4-2
lead in the sixth, but Jason Varitek hit an RBI single in the
eighth off Mike Myers, who threw a run-scoring wild pitch on an 0-2
count with two outs.
Posada hit a drive to deep left-center in the bottom half that
was about to be a two-run homer when center fielder Coco Crisp
leaped at the wall to catch it.
Then Carlos Pena doubled off Kyle Farnsworth (3-5) leading off
the bottom half and Crisp sacrificed, with Posada's throw pulling
Andy Phillps off the first-base bag for an error. Loretta flied to
shallow center, and pinch-runner Alex Cora scored ahead of Bernie
Williams' weak throw.
Mike Mussina pitched six innings, twice escaping jams and
allowing his only runs on Trot Nixon's two-run homer in the second.
He appeared to be over the strained groin that sent him to the
disabled list from Aug. 21 to Sept. 5.