Red Sox Home Runs Key Sweep Of Yankees

Monday, April 23rd 2007, 7:29 am
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) _ J.D. Drew was in the middle of his team's four straight homers for the second time in two seasons. This one had extra meaning.

The third-inning flurry against rookie Chase Wright brought the capacity crowd to life Sunday night and started the Boston Red Sox toward a 7-6 win and their first sweep of the New York Yankees at Fenway Park in 17 years.

``To get that final out, to be able to get a chance to sweep them was a pretty cool experience,'' Drew said.

The Red Sox tied a major-league record as the fifth team to hit homers in four consecutive at bats in one inning. The last time it was done was last Sept. 18 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Drew hit the second homer in both of those outbursts.

``You can't explain it,'' he said. ``You got four good at-bats where guys hit the ball, squared it up and they all hit it out of the park.''

But just like the Dodgers, who won that game on Nomar Garciaparra's two-run homer in the 10th, the Red Sox needed another homer to win. Mike Lowell's three-run shot in the seventh off Scott Proctor (0-1) gave them a 7-5 lead and star closer Jonathan Papelbon ended the game by getting a red-hot Alex Rodriguez on a grounder to Lowell at third base.

It was a critical matchup, especially with a runner at first representing the tying run.

``It's a little easier to enjoy it when it's over,'' Boston manager Terry Francona said.

In other AL games, it was: Detroit 6, Chicago 5 in 12 innings; Baltimore 7, Toronto 3; Cleveland 6, Tampa Bay 4; Kansas City 3, Minnesota 1; Texas 4, Oakland 3; and Los Angeles 6, Seattle 1.

Boston was trailing 3-0 on Jason Giambi's two-run double in the first and RBI single in the third. Wright retired the first two batters in the third, but it took just 10 pitches for that lead to disappear.

Manny Ramirez started the streak with a homer that nearly cleared the Green Monster seats in left-center field. Drew, Lowell and Jason Varitek kept the streak going before Wright struck out Wily Mo Pena.

``Nothing should surprise you in this game, especially when you come up here and play this club or they come to us,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said. ``It's going to be a fight every time we play each other.''

Lowell said, ``The dugout was going crazy. It was really a cool feeling.''

The Red Sox also came from behind to win the first two games, 7-6 and 7-5, and have won five straight.

On Sunday, they finally gave Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-2) support after totaling just one run in his previous two starts.

The heralded Japanese rookie allowed all six runs but left with the lead after allowing a leadoff single by Rodriguez in the eighth that extended his hitting streak to all 17 games. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia made an inning-ending diving catch to preserve the lead.

``There's no way I can be satisfied,'' Matsuzaka said through a translator. ``What I wanted most of all was to hold that lead and I couldn't do that.''

The Yankees tied the game on Derek Jeter's first homer and went ahead 5-4 in the sixth on Melky Cabrera's double-play grounder. Cabrera drove in the final run on a force out at second in the eighth.

Still, the Yankees were impressed.

``Matsuzaka is good enough that he'll win a lot of games,'' Johnny Damon said.

Papelbon got his sixth save in six opportunities. Of his 20 pitches in the ninth, 12 were fastballs of 95 mph or faster. He struck out Jeter on a 96 mph fastball.

The sweep was a bit of revenge for the Red Sox. Last August, the Yankees swept a five-game series at Fenway to take control of the AL East.

This time, first-place Boston moved four games ahead of the third-place Yankees.

``We didn't play well and we lost three games,'' Jeter said. ``But we've got 147 left.''

Still, every win counts.

``It'd be nice if it was September and in a pennant race right now,'' Drew said. ``but it all adds up.''

The crowd of 36,905 was the second-largest at Fenway since World War II, though the Red Sox have added seating capacity annually the last several years. The attendance last June 10 against Texas was 36,920.

Tigers 6, White Sox 5

At Detroit, Marcus Thames hit a tying, two-run homer off David Aardsma with two outs in the ninth and Placido Polanco singled home the winning run in the 12th as Detroit rallied to avoid a three-game sweep.

Rangers 4, Athletics 3

At Arlington, Texas, Hank Blalock hit a go-ahead, two-run single to cap the Rangers' three-run rally in the eighth. Eric Gagne got one out in the ninth for Texas before leaving with a strained right hip. He is day to day. Akinori Otsuka came on for his second save.

Angels 6, Mariners 1

At Anaheim, Calif., Ervin Santana (2-2) pitched seven solid innings and Los Angeles handed Seattle its sixth straight loss. Jeff Weaver (0-3), facing the Angels for the first time since they traded him to St. Louis last July, allowed three runs and seven hits over three innings _ and actually lowered his ERA from 15.75 to 13.91.

Royals 3, Twins 1

At Kansas City, Mo., Jorge De La Rosa (2-1) pitched a career-high eight innings and retired 16 straight during one stretch to lead the Royals to their first series victory of the year. Mike Sweeney had three hits and an RBI for Kansas City. Ross Gload hit a two-run homer.

Indians 6, Devil Rays 4

At St. Petersburg, Fla., Ryan Garko hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the ninth off Brian Stokes (1-3) to cap Cleveland's four-run rally. James Shields matched a Tampa Bay record with 12 strikeouts and allowed only two hits in eight innings.

Orioles 7, Blue Jays 3

At Baltimore, Nick Markakis and Miguel Tejada each had three RBIs to help the Orioles finish their first three-game home sweep of Toronto since May 1994. Steve Trachsel (1-1) beat Gustavo Chacin (2-1) and earned his first victory with Baltimore, which has won four straight and eight of nine. The Blue Jays have lost five in a row.