BOSTON — Jacoby Ellsbury and a couple of miscues were too much for the Boston Red Sox.
Ellsbury doubled, tripled, drove in two runs and made a sliding catch in his return to Fenway Park, helping the New York Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka beat the Red Sox 9-3 on Tuesday night.
The Yankees also capitalized on two errors by Boston and a lackluster start by Jon Lester as the Red Sox fell to 1-4 in the rivalry with New York.
“We’ve given some extra outs. At this level, when you do that you’re asking for trouble,” Boston manager John Farrell said.
Ellsbury received a mixed reception in his first game as a visitor after seven seasons with the Red Sox before signing a $153 million, seven-year contract with the Yankees.
There were more boos than cheers from the crowd that contained a sizable amount of Yankees fans when Ellsbury stepped in as the first batter of the game.
With an 0-2 count, he drove the ball about five feet from the top of the center field wall. It was ruled a triple after a spectator reached out and interfered with it. Ellsbury scored on a single by Derek Jeter, starting the Yankees toward their seventh win in nine games.
Lester (2-3) struggled after four outstanding outings, allowing seven runs in 4 2-3 innings.
“They put some good swings on him. Then when the miss-hit some balls, they found some holes. We didn’t help out defensively,” Farrell said. “Once again we’re digging ourselves a hole early in the game to play catch-up and that’s taken quite a bit of energy.”
Tanaka (3-0) allowed two runs on seven hits in 7 1-3 innings with seven strikeouts and no walks. His 35 strikeouts in his first four major league starts set a team record and he’s walked just two batters in 29 1-3 innings.
“The overall walks issued speaks to his strike-throwing ability. He forced us to swing the bat early in the count at times to try and get something going,” Farrell said. “He pitched a very good game tonight.”
The Yankees scored twice in the first and added two runs in the third, again before making an out, on consecutive doubles by Alfonso Soriano, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann.
The Red Sox cut the lead to 4-2 on back-to-back homers by David Ortiz, his fourth of the season, and Mike Napoli, his fifth, ending Tanaka’s scoreless streak at 16 1-3 innings.
Lester had his only good inning in the fourth when he retired the side in order. He nearly escaped a jam in the fifth before an error by first baseman Napoli led to four unearned runs and an 8-2 Yankees lead.
Teixeira walked and took second on a McCann’s single. Lester struck out the next two batters then got Brian Roberts to hit a liner to Napoli. But the ball went off his glove and into right field, allowing Teixeira to score. Ellsbury then doubled in two runs. That was all for Lester as Chris Capuano came in and gave up Jeter’s RBI single.
“For us to play with consistency, we need our starting rotation to lead us through that. Right now we’re not getting that.
The Yankees made it 9-2 in the eighth on Beltran’s fifth homer. It came off Edward Mujica, his teammate last season when the St. Louis Cardinals went to the World Series but lost in six games to Boston.
Xander Bogaerts doubled in a run for the Red Sox in the ninth.