Par For The Course: Red Sox Rout Yankees, Take Over 1st Place
NEW YORK (AP) — No flashy theatrics this time. David Ortiz smacked another home run at Yankee Stadium and took an ordinary trot around the bases.
Yup, beating up on the New York Yankees is becoming routine for the Red Sox.
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, defeating New York 11-6 on Wednesday night to take over first place in the AL East.
Hey David, what did you hit?
“A bomb,” he said, drawing laughs.
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.
Alex Rodriguez homered but A.J. Burnett (6-4) 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.
“We play these guys so much. If you don’t play well they’re going to beat you,” Jeter said. “They’ve outplayed us. They have a good team. The bottom line is they can hit and they can pitch. They can do a little bit of everything.”
Boston goes for its second sweep at Yankee Stadium in a month Thursday night when 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.
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 silky pirouette before starting toward first base.
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.
Ortiz said he wasn’t concerned about New York throwing at him in retaliation.
“Why should I?” he said. “I don’t care about what Joe Girardi said. I come to play the game every day. That’s about it. I’m done with that.
“We cross that line, we take it like a man. That’s it.”
And there was a reason he played it cool when he connected Wednesday.
“I don’t want to be national news tomorrow,” Ortiz said. “I don’t want to have you guys asking me the same questions. I’ve got almost 370 bombs in the big leagues. Everybody wants to make a big deal because I bat-flip one of them.”
The Red Sox have won five straight overall after losing four in a row. Boston has 18 wins in 24 games, 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 off 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.
“It’s the same as anybody else,” Wakefield said. “I approached him the same way as the last 16 years.”
Fill-in catcher Francisco Cervelli had three hits and two RBIs for the Yankees.
New York tried to rally in the sixth, scoring once and sending up Jeter 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, speedy Brett Gardner failed to break from third on a pitch that went to the backstop. He said he thought the ball hit Jeter.
“It’s not a good read,” Girardi said. “It changes the complexion of the game a lot. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but he didn’t read it and it ended up hurting us.”
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 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 paunchy 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.
“I thought we were going to have to need a wheelbarrow to get him off the field,” manager Terry Francona said. “But that just shows his professionalism. He’s always been a guy that covers first. That’s why he’s still pitching.”
Rodriguez’s 624th homer cut it to 7-1 in the fourth and gave him 1,865 RBIs, passing Hall of Famer Mel Ott for ninth on the career list.
NOTES: Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia is headed back to Boston on Thursday to have his sore right knee checked out by the team doctor. … Jeter whiffed in the third, snapping a career-long stretch of 58 plate appearances without a strikeout. … Yankees C Russell Martin (back) sat out and reliever Joba Chamberlain (elbow) was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)