J.D. Drew hit an RBI single to spark an eighth-inning rally, then he scored the go-ahead run on Mike Lowell's fly ball to help the Red Sox beat New York 4-3 on Thursday night. Boston has swept New York in all three series so far this season, and the teams don't meet again until Aug. 6.
"I know the fans probably love it," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Good for them; they should. We just want to win every game."
It's the first time the Red Sox have opened the season with eight straight wins against their New York rivals since they helped christen the brand-new Fenway Park by winning the first 14 matchups against the Highlanders in 1912. Counting the last time they met last season, Boston has won nine straight.
"We definitely didn't envision this when we started off the three-game road trip. We came in here expecting to win some games," Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon said. "We've got over 100 games to go. Our day will come."
With the latest sweep, Boston went from a game behind to two games up in the division. The Red Sox left afterwards for Philadelphia, an NL city designated hitter David Ortiz will have to sit or play first base -- just as he seemed to be snapping out of his season-long slump.
"We're playing good right now," said Ortiz, who hit his third homer in five games. "When things are happening, you've got to keep them rolling."
Brad Penny pitched six shutout innings before the Yankees scored three times off Manny Delcarmen in the seventh to take a 3-1 lead. After cruising through seven innings, CC Sabathia (5-4) ran into trouble in the eighth when Nick Green singled and Dustin Pedroia drew a 10-pitch walk.
"CC pitched like we don't want him to pitch," Francona said admiringly. "Then all of the sudden Greenie gets a hit and Pedey has an extended at-bat and things happen like we've seen happen before. It was electric. You could feel it. I'd like to sit up here and say it never means more than it means, but it's hard not to get excited."
Drew singled to make it 3-2 and chase Sabathia after a season-high 123 pitches. Alfredo Aceves gave up a single to Kevin Youkilis to load the bases, and then another base hit to Jason Bay that tied it. Lowell hit a shallow fly ball to left-center, and Drew scored as Melky Cabrera's throw bounced into the infield behind him.
"It definitely stings a lot," Sabathia said. "We lost a ball game we probably should have won. But the bottom line is we have a lot of games left."
Ortiz hit his fourth homer of the season in the second inning to make it 1-0, and it stayed that way until Penny left the game and Cabrera singled to lead off the seventh. Francisco Cervelli doubled to tie it, then Johnny Damon walked with one out and Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run double to give the Yankees their first lead of the series.
Rodriguez was also in the middle of it in the first inning, when Penny plunked him in the back with a pitch. After a meeting of the umpires, both benches were warned and there were no further problems.
NOTES: John Smoltz had been scheduled to make his final rehab start in Triple-A, but Pawtucket's game at Syracuse was rained out. He will pitch on Friday night instead. ... The Yankees did not lead against Boston at any time in the previous four games. That has happened only eight times in the 107-year-old rivalry, the last in 1974, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Damon dropped what should have been an easy fly ball to end the fourth, but it didn't do any damage. ... Heavy rain began in the seventh, but the game was not delayed. ... Penny threw a season-high 117 pitches. ... Delcarmen had not allowed a run to the Yankees in his previous 16 appearances against them.
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