NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — When the Yankees needed a big effort Wednesday night, A.J. Burnett came up small.
That’s the way it has gone for them almost all season against the rival Red Sox.
David Ortiz hit one of three Boston homers to back a tireless Tim Wakefield and the Red Sox kept up their domination of the Yankees this year, defeating New York 11-6 to take over first place in the AL East.
“We haven’t pitched consistently and at times we haven’t hit but they have had big outbursts against us,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We need to make pitches.”
Alex Rodriguez homered but Burnett (6-4) was ineffective for the banged-up Yankees, who have lost seven of eight meetings with Boston 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 their second World Series title.
“We play these guys so much. If you don’t play well they’re going to beat you,” Derek 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.”
LISTEN: Joe Girardi: “(Burnett) got hit kind of hard”
Facing his most familiar foe in Wakefield, 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.
Carl Crawford and J.D. Drew also connected for Boston, 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.
“You’ve got to make smart pitches and I didn’t make smart pitches in the first,” Burnett said.
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.
The Red Sox scored three runs in the first for the second consecutive night, including a two-run shot by Ortiz.
Hey David, what did you hit?
“A bomb,” he said, drawing laughs.
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.
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.
“We’re not trying to pitch him right down the middle, which is where the pitches seem to end up. He looks really good at the plate,” Girardi said. “I mean, he’s really swinging the bat.”
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.”
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.
Russell Martin (back) sat out, and reliever Joba Chamberlain (elbow) was placed on the 15-day disabled list. First baseman Mark Teixeira was back in the lineup after leaving Tuesday night’s game when he was hit on the right kneecap by a first-inning pitch from Jon Lester.
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 the captain 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 hesitated because 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 player in the majors, Wakefield even had enough in the tank to outrace Gardner to first base on a grounder in the fourth, tumbling to the turf after tripping over the Yankees outfielder.
“I thought we were going to have to need a wheelbarrow to get him off the field,” Boston 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.”
NOTES: 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. … Jeter whiffed in the third, snapping a career-long stretch of 58 plate appearances without a strikeout.
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