Beckett dominates, Ortiz homers as Red Sox handle Yankees again

BOSTON -- The last time the Red Sox beat New York six straight times to start the season, the Yankees were known as the Highlanders and it was the bandbox in Boston that was brand new.

Josh Beckett allowed only an infield hit in six innings, and David Ortiz hit his third homer of the year as Red Sox beat the Yankees 7-0 on Tuesday night and improved to 6-0 against New York for the first time since 1912.

"They've taken it to us so far this year," said Yankees -- and former Red Sox -- outfielder Johnny Damon. "But we have 13 more, and hopefully we'll beat them sometime soon."

The Red Sox beat the New York Highlanders in 14 straight to start the 1912 season, including the first-ever game in Fenway Park. Fenway is now the oldest ballpark in the major leagues; the original Yankee Stadium, which was replaced this season by a $1.5 billion replica, hadn't even been built yet.

"You don't want to be 0-6 against your rival," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "But we are still tied for first place."

Beckett (7-2) noted that Alex Rodriguez was recovering from hip surgery for the first five losses, "so we'll start counting after that."

Beckett struck out eight and walked two before leaving with a 6-0 lead after six innings, having thrown 93 pitches in a steady drizzle. The only hit he allowed was Robinson Cano's fourth-inning grounder to the left of second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who slid to come up with the ball but couldn't make the throw that had little chance of getting the batter anyway.

It was ruled a base hit by official scorer Mike Shalin.

"I got to it and I slid about eight feet," said Pedroia, who noted that the play was where the groundskeepers dumped out the infield tarp that covered the field before the game started. "That didn't really help me out."

Beckett struck out Jorge Posada to end the inning, then retired the last six batters he faced, fanning three of them, for his third consecutive victory. In all, only three batters hit the ball out of the infield against him.

Brett Gardner had the Yankees' only other hit, off Manny Delcarmen in the eighth.

"Kind of hard to win with only two hits," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "Beckett pitched great. It's always tough, every time we face him. He was hitting his spots and we didn't get too many good swings."

A.J. Burnett (4-3) allowed three earned runs on five walks and five hits before leaving with two outs in the third and taking out his frustrations on a dugout watercooler. He gave up Ortiz's two-run shot to straightaway center field in Boston's four-run second, when Rodriguez double-clutched on a grounder for an error that gave Boston an extra out.

Burnett walked Mike Lowell to start the inning, then Ortiz hit a 2-2 pitch over the high center field wall about 400 feet from home plate. Responding to the fans' "Papi!" chants, he came out for a curtain call.

It was the second homer in three games for the struggling slugger, who hit 54 in 2006 but has been moved from third to sixth in the Red Sox order as he tries to pull his batting average above .200.

On Monday, he went to the eye doctor. His vision was pronounced fine, but he was given eye drops to deal with dryness.

"There's no getting around how important he is to us," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "When he does something like that, I think we fell better about ourselves."

Nick Green homered and added an RBI double for Boston.

Game notes
Burnett was suspended for six games for throwing inside to Texas' Nelson Cruz, but the Yankees right-hander remains in the rotation during his appeal. ... Boston CF Jacoby Ellsbury got the night off with a sore right shoulder. Tests showed it was just a bruise. ... Yankees RHP Brian Bruney (15-day DL with a strained right elbow) threw a bullpen side and feels strong enough to return to the active roster.