Lowell homer lifts Sox over Yanks

July 4, 2008 5:20:07 PM PDT
Kevin Youkilis created the drama. Mike Lowell gave Boston the win.Lowell hit a go-ahead, three-run homer two innings after Youkilis' shot squirted out of Johnny Damon's glove, bounced off the top of the left-field wall three times, and sat on the fence for several tantalizing seconds.

Youkilis' ball rolled back to the field for a tying, two-run triple, helping spark the Red Sox to a soggy come-from-behind 6-4 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday.

It was another bruising defeat for the Yankees, who have lost five of six. Damon bruised and sprained his left shoulder on Youkilis' triple and left the game.

With the Yankees ahead 3-1 in the third, Damon sprinted back for Youkilis' two-out drive with two on, and the ball hit the webbing of Damon's glove and bounced up off the top of the wall.

And bounced. And bounced.

The ball came to rest on top of the fence, which was shaking from Damon's impact. And there the ball sat, like the golf ball teetering over the cup in "Caddyshack." The sellout crowd of 55,130 at Yankee Stadium wondered: Would it fall behind for a home run, roll back onto the field or just sit there?

Finally, the ball dropped back in and landed near Damon, who was sprawled on the warning track. A fan behind the fence frantically pointed to where the ball was. Youkilis cruised into third base as Boston tied it at 3.

After Damon threw the ball back to the infield, Yankees manager Joe Girardi and a trainer attended to Damon, who was holding his ribs and shaking his arm. Damon was replaced by Brett Gardner.

On owner George Steinbrenner's 78th birthday, the Yankees wore alternate caps for what was thought to be the first time in their history, participating in a promotion in which all major league teams' hats contained Stars & Stripes logos. It was the final Fourth of July game at Yankee Stadium, where Lou Gehrig made his famous farewell speech on July 4, 1939, and Dave Righetti pitched a no-hitter against the Red Sox on July 4, 1983.

New York is saying goodbye to its ballpark with an un-Yankeelike season. The Yankees (45-42) have dropped nine of 14 following a season-high, seven-game winning streak. A postgame tongue-lashing from Girardi following Thursday's 7-0 loss in the opener of the four-game series did little good.

Josh Beckett (8-5) recovered from a three-run first inning that included a two-run double by Alex Rodriguez, whose private life again was splashed across New York's tabloids Friday over his relationship with the pop singer Madonna. Jason Giambi drove in Rodriguez with a sacrifice fly, and that was it for the Yankees' offense.

Beckett gave up just two hits after the first, escaped a bases-loaded jam unscathed in the fourth and left after six. Boston (52-37) got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the seventh when Bobby Abreu popped out against Hideki Okajima and Rodriguez hit into a forceout against Manny Delcarmen.

After a rain delay of 1 hours, 28 minutes in the top of the eighth, Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 29 chances, completing a six-hitter.

Before the game, Girardi said his team needed to establish consistency. Other than Wednesday's 18-7 rout of Texas, the Yankees' bats have been consistent.

New York has totaled seven runs in its last five losses, batting .179. A day after going 0-for-10 with runners on base, the Yankees were 2-for-14, including an RBI double by Derek Jeter with two outs in the ninth on a ball replays showed center fielder Coco Crisp gloved with a diving catch. Umpires ruled it a trap, and Bobby Abreu followed with a flyout to the warning track in center.

Darrell Rasner (4-7) also maintained his consistency, losing for the seventh time in eighth starts. He allowed six runs and 10 hits in five innings.

Rodriguez connected on an 0-2 pitch by Beckett, with Abreu tearing his pants on catcher Jason Varitek's spikes as he slid across the plate, drawing blood.

Boston, which has won six of its last seven Fourth of July games at Yankee Stadium, loaded the bases with one out in the first but Lowell fouled out and Youkilis lined out. With the bases loaded in the third, Lowell hit a sacrifice fly before Youkilis' triple.

Lowell's homer in the fifth put Boston ahead 6-3.