Manny, Beckett lead Sox past Yanks

April 17, 2008 8:00:10 PM PDT
Manny Ramirez hit two more homers off an ineffective Mike Mussina, leading Josh Beckett and the Boston Red Sox past the perturbed New York Yankees, 7-5 in a game that nearly got testy Thursday night.Manny Ramirez hit two more homers off an ineffective Mike Mussina, leading Josh Beckett and the Boston Red Sox past the perturbed New York Yankees, 7-5 in a game that nearly got testy Thursday night.With Ramirez enjoying his latest outburst against his favorite foe, Yankees reliever Kyle Farnsworth threw a 97 mph fastball behind the slugger's neck on the first pitch of the seventh inning, drawing cheers from the sellout crowd of 55,088.

Ramirez flinched and dropped his bat, but never made a motion toward the mound. Plate umpire Larry Vanover immediately warned both dugouts, and Ramirez eventually grounded out to second. The Red Sox never retaliated.

Ramirez hit his 494th home run in the first, passing Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff for sole possession of 24th place on the career list, then added No. 495 an inning later with a mammoth, two-run shot to left.

That gave Ramirez, who likes to admire his prodigious drives, five homers this season - three in six days off Mussina (1-3). It also gave the slugger 13 hits in his past 26 at-bats against the right-hander, with four homers and 11 RBIs.

Ramirez finished with three hits for the second consecutive night and scored three times. J.D. Drew added a two-run double for the Red Sox, who earned a two-game split after losing 15-9 Wednesday night in a plodding game that took 4 hours, 8 minutes. This one was played in 3:20.

Boston won for the fifth time in six tries and snapped a five-game skid at Yankee Stadium since its previous win on May 22 last year. The next time the rivals meet is a four-game series July 3-6 in New York.

Handed a 7-0 lead, Beckett (2-1) pitched a season-high eight innings and stopped New York's three-game winning streak. He allowed Derek Jeter's two-run single and Bobby Abreu's RBI double in the fifth.

Jason Varitek and Dustin Pedroia each had an RBI single in a four-run third against Mussina, who hit Jacoby Ellsbury with pitches his first two times up. Mussina gave up five runs and seven hits in three innings, foiled again by his long-haired nemesis.

Ramirez, who grew up minutes from Yankee Stadium, has 55 homers against New York. Jimmie Foxx (70) and Ted Williams (62) are the only players with more.

Ramirez has homered at Yankee Stadium in 10 consecutive seasons. He has 29 home runs at the ballpark, which is in its final season before the team moves into a new stadium under construction across the street.

Beckett beat Mussina 4-3 in a rain-delayed game last Saturday at Fenway Park, where Ramirez hit a long homer off Mussina and a go-ahead, two-run double after the Yankees chose not to walk him with first base open in the sixth.

Beckett, who pitched Florida to the 2003 World Series title from the Yankee Stadium mound, struck out five in his third start of the season after being sidelined by a balky back in spring training.

Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth, allowing an RBI groundout to Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera's two-out solo homer before striking out pinch-hitter Hideki Matsui to end it.

The 39-year-old Mussina dropped to 19-17 against Boston. He remained tied with Hall of Famer Bob Gibson for 42nd place on the career wins list at 251.


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