Red Sox rally for five in eighth to stun Yankees

Hero: Jason Varitek had a horrible time at the plate in spring training and for much of these first two weeks, but his key run-scoring single in the eighth capped a 3-hit, 3-RBI night. Video ESPN Video

Goat: What's up with Mariano Rivera? Two save opportunities in '07, two blown saves. He has an 8.44 ERA in seven appearances.

Unsung heroes: Coco Crisp tied the game with a two-run triple and Alex Cora fisted a single over a drawn-in Derek Jeter to plate Boston's decisive run.

Figure this: A-Rod, two homers shy of Albert Pujols' April record of 14 bombs, has hit safely in all 15 games this year and leads the majors with 30 RBIs and 65 total bases.

Two tips of the cap: The Red Sox wore green uniforms to honor late Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach and black "VT" patches in memory of those who died at Virginia Tech.

Elias Says: It's the first time Rivera has allowed five runs over two outings since April 5th and 6th of 2005 against the Red Sox, which was also the last time he blew consecutive save opportunities.

-- ESPN.com news services

Red Sox 7, Yankees 6

BOSTON (AP) -- The ball went over the wall, and Coco Crisp went with it. He didn't do much more than tip it, but he impressed his teammates all the same.

"What we saw was one of the better efforts I've ever seen," said Red Sox reliever Brendan Donnelly, who was in the bullpen when Crisp toppled over the wall in pursuit of Alex Rodriguez's second homer of the game. "He didn't get the ball, but he made a statement to the team."

"It's perfect, isn't it?"

Crisp got up from his fifth-inning collision with the short bullpen wall and tripled in the tying runs in the eighth, scoring the game-winner on Alex Cora's blooper over a drawn-in infield to help Boston beat the New York Yankees 7-6 on Friday night.

"It's pretty much status quo for him. It was a tremendous effort," said Kyle Snyder (1-0), who allowed one walk and struck out one while getting two outs in the eighth for the win. "It's nice to see him come up with some clutch hits at the end. He deserves them."

Even after going 2-for-4 with a pair of bunt singles on Thursday, Crisp entered the game with just a .167 average. He singled in the seventh and then came up against Mariano Rivera (1-2) in the eighth with two on and two in and bounced a triple down the right-field line to make it 6-6.

"I thought I was going to catch that ball," Crisp said. "It definitely feels good to come back and put some runs up after I couldn't take those away."

Alex Cora followed with his second go-ahead hit in as many days, handing Rivera his second consecutive blown save. The Yankees closer hadn't pitched since Marco Scutaro hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning against him for Oakland on Sunday.

"I'm always going to be shocked, only because of what he is and his track record," New York manager Joe Torre said. "It hurts. We had good momentum going and it looked like we were beating a good pitcher tonight."

Rivera allowed two runs and three hits, striking out one in two-thirds of an inning. With closer Jonathan Papelbon unavailable after pitching in each of the previous two games, Hideki Okajima pitched the ninth for his first major league save.

Okajima retired Derek Jeter on a groundout and walked Bobby Abreu before Rodriguez lined out to second base. Kevin Thompson struck out to end the game.

Rodriguez homered twice to join Mike Schmidt, who hit 12 homers in the first 15 games in 1976, as the fastest to reach a dozen in baseball history. Rodriguez, who has hit safely in all 15 games this year and homered in four straight, also leads the majors with 30 RBIs and 65 total bases.

"You run out of words and superlatives of what he's into right now," Torre said.

J.D. Drew had three hits for Boston, which trailed 5-2 before David Ortiz led off the eighth with a double and Manny Ramirez walked. Drew moved the runners up, then Mike Lowell singled to make it 6-3 and bring in Rivera.

Jason Varitek, who hit a two-run homer in the fourth, singled to make it 6-4, then Crisp tripled down the right-field line to tie it. With the infield in, Cora fisted a blooper over Jeter's head to the back of the infield dirt, driving in the go-ahead run.

The Red Sox wore green uniforms to honor late Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach, with black "VT" patches in memory of those who died at Virginia Tech. And the Red Sox played more like the franchise that won the 16 championship banners that hung from the Green Monster before the game instead of the one that had the second-worst record in the NBA this season.

Rodriguez flied out to the warning track in the second inning, then homered to left to lead off the fourth. Jeter and Abreu singled in the fifth before Rodriguez made it 5-2, sending Curt Schilling's pitch and Crisp over the wall.

Rodriguez moved past Willie Stargell and Stan Musial into the top 25 on baseball's all-time homer list with 476.

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada injured his left thumb while catching and left the game in the middle of the fourth inning; X-rays were negative. Will Nieves replaced him behind the plate and threw Drew out trying to steal second.

Game notes
It was Rodriguez's second multi-homer game of the season and the 46th of his career. ... The Red Sox hired former infielder Gary DiSarcina to manage their Single-A team in Lowell. ... Boston ended a streak of nine straight games allowing three runs or fewer. ... The Red Sox snapped a seven-game home losing streak against the Yankees, including an epic five-game sweep last August that effectively ended the AL East race. ... According to a New York Post report, broadcaster Bobby Murcer is tentatively scheduled to return to the booth during New York's series in Texas May 1-3. Murcer, 60, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in December and had surgery to remove the growth on Dec. 28. He has successfully undergone radiation and chemotherapy treatment.

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