The Red Sox knocked A.J. Burnett and the Yankees bullpen around for 11 runs Wednesday night, seizing sole possession of the best record in both the AL East and the American League as a whole.
Wednesday's game began much as Tuesday's game had: with a three-run first for the Red Sox. This time, however, it was Jacoby Ellsbury leading off not with a home run, but a single. He would steal second, advance to third when Francisco Cervelli's throw to second missed its mark, and then scored on an Adrian Gonzalez ground out.
Burnett could have escaped trouble there with the bases empty and two outs, but he walked Kevin Youkilis, and up came David Ortiz. The Red Sox' resurgent DH fought a seven pitch battle with Burnett, running the count full. Then came the eighth pitch: flat, fast, and right down the middle. Ortiz didn't miss, drilling it into the bullpen in right-center field for his fifteenth home run of the year.
The Red Sox did not let up. After a 1-2-3 first inning from Tim Wakefield, Marco Scutaro led off the frame with an infield single to Derek Jeter, and then advanced to third much the same way Ellsbury had in the first, coming home on J.D. Drew's sacrifice fly.
It was in the fourth, though, that things really got out of control. Still leading 4-0, the Red Sox put two men on with nobody out, and then loaded the bases with one out on an intentional walk to J.D. Drew. The Yankees got the groundball they wanted from catcher Jason Varitek, but Robinson Cano had to charge the softly hit ball, and could only flip to second for the lone out, with Varitek beating out the throw as David Ortiz scored from third. The failure to record that out would be costly, as Jacoby Ellsbury slapped a hard RBI double to right field to score Carl Crawford, and Dustin Pedroia followed him up with an infield single, again to Derek Jeter to make the score 7-0.
Tim Wakefield would give up a homer to Alex Rodriguez to put the Yankees on the board in the fourth, but it wasn't until the fifth that the Yankees made a game of things. After walking Eduardo Nunez to start the inning off on the wrong foot, Wakefield gave up back-to-back hits to Francisco Cervelli and Derek Jeter, and then a sacrifice fly to Mark Teixeira to bring around three runs, making in 7-4.
The Sox struck again in the sixth, chasing A.J. Burnett from the game and drawing a bases loaded walk to build the lead back to four runs, but the Yankees responded in kind, making Terry Francona turn to Alfredo Aceves with two men on. A pair of singles later, and it was back to three runs at 8-5.
That was as far as the Yankees would go, though. Aceves induced a huge bases loaded double play from Derek Jeter, then kept New York's bats quiet for the next two innings, leading to a decisive ninth inning which saw homers from Carl Crawford and J.D. Drew put the game well away by giving the Sox their final tally of 11 runs. The Yankees tallied a meaningless score in the ninth, but Aceves finished them off by getting Alex Rodriguez to ground out to short, earning the rare 3+ inning save in the process.