NEW YORK -- About eight hours after hitting two homers that
didn't help their cause, Jacoby Ellsbury put the Red Sox in control
of the wild-card race with another.
His two-out, three-run homer in the 14th inning of the nightcap
of a split doubleheader lifted the Red Sox over the New York
Yankees 7-4 Sunday.
The Red Sox rallied from a 3-0 deficit to snap a four-game skid
and head into their final three games with a one-game lead over
Boston held a nine-game lead over the Rays entering play Sept. 4
but has gone 5-16 since then. Up by 1½ games to start the day, the
Red Sox nearly wasted that entire lead after losing the opener --
which started at 1:11 p.m. -- 6-2 despite Ellsbury's two home runs.
Combined with the Rays' 5-2 win over Toronto, the Red Sox went into
the second game with a half-game lead.
"We just put ourselves in a good position, that's all we can
do," Ellsbury said after the game that ended 11:43 p.m.
It made it a lot easier for Boston's rookies to wear lingerie
and costumes for their trip to Baltimore.
Tampa Bay hosts the Yankees, who already have clinched the AL's
best record and home-field advantage through the AL Championship
"It was a BIG win, but we've got to go down tomorrow and play
well," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.
Franklin Morales (1-1) pitched two innings for the win. Felix
Doubront, recalled on Sept. 1, finished the 5-hour, 11-minute game
for his first save since August 2010.
In the opener, A.J. Burnett made his most impressive start in
nearly three months and Jorge Posada hit a two-run homer for the
Yankees. Ellsbury connected twice to become the first player in Red
Sox history to reach 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in a season.
Desperate for a win in the second game, Francona used Jonathan Papelbon for a season-high 2 1/3 innings, bringing the closer in
with the score tied on the road.
"We've got to grind and shine," Papelbon said. "That's what
we've got to do from here on out."
Typical of the bumbling baseball they've played while going 6-18
in September, the Red Sox made three more errors Sunday. Among them
were several miscues on the basepaths and they blew an opportunity
to advance the runner in the 10th inning with a sacrifice. Boston
had the leadoff runner reach in each inning from the sixth through
the 10th in the nightcap.
The Red Sox turned it around after a rough first inning. The Red
Sox allowed only two hits after the second inning. Second baseman
Dustin Pedroia made a spectacular grab in the 13th inning and the
Red Sox got the clutch hit in the end.
"It's awesome," Pedroia said. "A lot of people were writing
us off so we're going to play hard."
Yet they still won.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected for the third time this
season when he raced onto the field in the 13th to protect first
baseman Nick Swisher and dispute a call after Tim McClelland called
Perdroia safe. Replays showed the diving Pedroia was out.
The Red Sox fell behind in the first inning for the third
straight game in New York, but rallied to take a 4-3 lead in the
The Yankees tied it, though, in the bottom half on a sacrifice
fly by Chris Dickerson, the only New York player to start both
The Red Sox fell behind in the first, making their third error
of the doubleheader and 17th in 12 games.
With two on against John Lackey, Mark Teixeira hit a drive off
the top of the fence in right-center. Teixeira went for third on
the throw home and was able to score when catcher Jason Varitek
threw the ball into left field.
After the game, an angry Lackey said a member of the media sent
him a text message about 30 minutes before the game with personal
information. He wouldn't say who sent it or what it was about.
"It was unbelievable I got to deal with this," Lackey said
before ending his conversation with reporters.
The offense, meanwhile, woke up in the fifth after going 6 for
30 in the opener. Jed Lowrie hit a drive that hit off the wall in
right field under the glove of a leaping Swisher for a triple. J.D. Drew, playing for the first time since July 19 because of a
shoulder injury, singled him home for the first run off Ivan Nova
in 15 innings.
Adrian Gonzalez's RBI single and Scutaro's run-scoring double
tied it in the sixth, and Varitek singled for a 4-3 lead in the
In the opener, the Yankees raced to a 2-0 lead behind two bunt
singles and some poor play by the Red Sox. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia had an error and a passed ball. Carl Crawford made
an error in left field that led to a run in the fifth.
Tim Wakefield (7-8) pitched four-plus innings, giving up five
runs -- three earned -- five hits and five walks.
Batting fourth for the first time since 2009, Posada connected
in the third inning for his fifth homer against the knuckleballer.
The 40-year-old with a diminished role this year was given a
Burnett (11-11) allowed five hits -- three to Ellsbury -- and two
runs in 7 2/3 innings, his first outing of more than six innings
since he went eight on July 29.
Derek Jeter had three hits to lift his average to .300 at the
end of the game for the first time since April 2. Starting with
July 9, the day he reached 3,000 hits, he is batting .346 following
a .257 start.
Girardi chose not to use Jeter or Alex Rodriguez in the night
"If you ask them to get loose and they pull something, you
know, they've been sitting a long time. People are really going to
question what you do," Girardi said. "Their bodies were shut down
from 4 o' clock. It's 11:30 at night and I just don't think it's
the right thing to do."
Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz, who hasn't pitched since June
16 because of a stress fracture in his lower back, will pitch an
inning for Boston's instructional league at Fort Myers, Fla., on
Monday. If all goes well he could pitch an inning or two Wednesday
at Baltimore. ... Red Sox reliever Scott Atchison tweaked his right
groin while warming up for the eighth inning of the first game and
had to leave. ... Varitek was lifted an inning after
he was hit near the knee by a pitch.