Red Sox top Yanks in 14 to keep 1-game lead in wild-card race

NEW YORK -- About eight hours after hitting two homers that

didn't help their cause, Jacoby Ellsbury put the Red Sox in control

of the wild-card race with another.

His two-out, three-run homer in the 14th inning of the nightcap

of a split doubleheader lifted the Red Sox over the New York

Yankees 7-4 Sunday.

The Red Sox rallied from a 3-0 deficit to snap a four-game skid

and head into their final three games with a one-game lead over

Tampa Bay.

Boston held a nine-game lead over the Rays entering play Sept. 4

but has gone 5-16 since then. Up by 1½ games to start the day, the

Red Sox nearly wasted that entire lead after losing the opener --

which started at 1:11 p.m. -- 6-2 despite Ellsbury's two home runs.

Combined with the Rays' 5-2 win over Toronto, the Red Sox went into

the second game with a half-game lead.

"We just put ourselves in a good position, that's all we can

do," Ellsbury said after the game that ended 11:43 p.m.

It made it a lot easier for Boston's rookies to wear lingerie

and costumes for their trip to Baltimore.

Tampa Bay hosts the Yankees, who already have clinched the AL's

best record and home-field advantage through the AL Championship


"It was a BIG win, but we've got to go down tomorrow and play

well," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

Ellsbury homered off Scott Proctor (0-2) after Darnell McDonald

singled and Marco Scutaro walked.

Franklin Morales (1-1) pitched two innings for the win. Felix

Doubront, recalled on Sept. 1, finished the 5-hour, 11-minute game

for his first save since August 2010.

In the opener, A.J. Burnett made his most impressive start in

nearly three months and Jorge Posada hit a two-run homer for the

Yankees. Ellsbury connected twice to become the first player in Red

Sox history to reach 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in a season.

Desperate for a win in the second game, Francona used Jonathan Papelbon for a season-high 2 1/3 innings, bringing the closer in

with the score tied on the road.

"We've got to grind and shine," Papelbon said. "That's what

we've got to do from here on out."

Typical of the bumbling baseball they've played while going 6-18

in September, the Red Sox made three more errors Sunday. Among them

were several miscues on the basepaths and they blew an opportunity

to advance the runner in the 10th inning with a sacrifice. Boston

had the leadoff runner reach in each inning from the sixth through

the 10th in the nightcap.

The Red Sox turned it around after a rough first inning. The Red

Sox allowed only two hits after the second inning. Second baseman

Dustin Pedroia made a spectacular grab in the 13th inning and the

Red Sox got the clutch hit in the end.

"It's awesome," Pedroia said. "A lot of people were writing

us off so we're going to play hard."

Yet they still won.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected for the third time this

season when he raced onto the field in the 13th to protect first

baseman Nick Swisher and dispute a call after Tim McClelland called

Perdroia safe. Replays showed the diving Pedroia was out.

The Red Sox fell behind in the first inning for the third

straight game in New York, but rallied to take a 4-3 lead in the


The Yankees tied it, though, in the bottom half on a sacrifice

fly by Chris Dickerson, the only New York player to start both


The Red Sox fell behind in the first, making their third error

of the doubleheader and 17th in 12 games.

With two on against John Lackey, Mark Teixeira hit a drive off

the top of the fence in right-center. Teixeira went for third on

the throw home and was able to score when catcher Jason Varitek

threw the ball into left field.

After the game, an angry Lackey said a member of the media sent

him a text message about 30 minutes before the game with personal

information. He wouldn't say who sent it or what it was about.

"It was unbelievable I got to deal with this," Lackey said

before ending his conversation with reporters.

The offense, meanwhile, woke up in the fifth after going 6 for

30 in the opener. Jed Lowrie hit a drive that hit off the wall in

right field under the glove of a leaping Swisher for a triple. J.D. Drew, playing for the first time since July 19 because of a

shoulder injury, singled him home for the first run off Ivan Nova

in 15 innings.

Adrian Gonzalez's RBI single and Scutaro's run-scoring double

tied it in the sixth, and Varitek singled for a 4-3 lead in the


In the opener, the Yankees raced to a 2-0 lead behind two bunt

singles and some poor play by the Red Sox. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia had an error and a passed ball. Carl Crawford made

an error in left field that led to a run in the fifth.

Tim Wakefield (7-8) pitched four-plus innings, giving up five

runs -- three earned -- five hits and five walks.

Batting fourth for the first time since 2009, Posada connected

in the third inning for his fifth homer against the knuckleballer.

The 40-year-old with a diminished role this year was given a

curtain call.

Burnett (11-11) allowed five hits -- three to Ellsbury -- and two

runs in 7 2/3 innings, his first outing of more than six innings

since he went eight on July 29.

Derek Jeter had three hits to lift his average to .300 at the

end of the game for the first time since April 2. Starting with

July 9, the day he reached 3,000 hits, he is batting .346 following

a .257 start.

Girardi chose not to use Jeter or Alex Rodriguez in the night


"If you ask them to get loose and they pull something, you

know, they've been sitting a long time. People are really going to

question what you do," Girardi said. "Their bodies were shut down

from 4 o' clock. It's 11:30 at night and I just don't think it's

the right thing to do."

Game notes
Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz, who hasn't pitched since June

16 because of a stress fracture in his lower back, will pitch an

inning for Boston's instructional league at Fort Myers, Fla., on

Monday. If all goes well he could pitch an inning or two Wednesday

at Baltimore. ... Red Sox reliever Scott Atchison tweaked his right

groin while warming up for the eighth inning of the first game and

had to leave. ... Varitek was lifted an inning after

he was hit near the knee by a pitch.