Jeter Starts Yankees' Five-HR Outburst In 8-4 Win
CC Sabathia against Josh Beckett loomed as a low-scoring duel between two of baseball's best pitchers.
Neither lived up to the hype, especially Beckett.
The Boston Red Sox ace gave up a homer to Derek Jeter on the first pitch of the game, served up four more fence-clearing hits and lost to the New York Yankees 8-4 Sunday night.
Sabathia became baseball's first 15-game winner despite allowing three earned runs in 6 2-3 innings, matching his total for his three previous starts.
"Beckett is a great pitcher, but this lineup is unbelievable," he said. "I've had confidence in this offense all year and I just felt like I don't have to go out and try to do too much to win games."
Sabathia (15-7) allowed two runs in the second inning, one in the fourth and one in the sixth. But Beckett gave up runs in each of the first five innings, then settled down before Hideki Matsui hit his second homer of the game and 23rd of the season in the eighth.
Beckett (14-5) allowed eight runs on nine hits after yielding seven runs in his previous start.
"It's frustrating," he said. "You can't give up seven runs every time you go out there. You're not going to be here very long if you do that."
The Yankees' 16th win in 20 games increased their AL East lead over the Red Sox to 71/2 games.
"We're running out of time" to win the division, although the Red Sox lead the wild-card race, Jason Bay said. "You've got to be realistic, but, at the same time, your goal is to get into the playoffs and whatever way you do that, at least you're in."
Robinson Cano hit his 19th homer, a solo shot in the fourth, and Alex Rodriguez got his 22nd, a two-run drive in the fifth that made it 7-3.
"We got pitches to hit and we hit them," Jeter said. "It's not really more complicated than that."
The Yankees won their 10th series in the 11 they've played since the All-Star break - they won 20-11 Friday night and lost 14-1 Saturday - and wrapped up a 7-3 road trip.
"I felt like the concentration level on the team was different" against Beckett, Matsui said through a translator. "Whatever pitches he left in the zone we were able to hit."
Jeter's homer was the 2,700th hit of his career and he added a single in the third. Lou Gehrig, with 2,721, is the only player in Yankees history with more hits. The homer was Jeter's second of the season leading off the Yankees' first inning and tied Alfonso Soriano for second in team history with 21. Rickey Henderson leads with 24.
New York is 6-1 against Boston since losing the first eight matchups of the season, six of them at Fenway Park.
"We weren't worried about what happened here" earlier, Jeter said. "We're playing much better now. You have to have a short memory."
This program aired on August 24, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.