"The guys came out and hit the ball all over the place," Mussina said.
The Yankees batted around in the second and third -- and hardly missed Jeter. The captain sat out with a bruised right thumb after he was hit by a pitch Sunday in Baltimore.
"I'm not counting on him for a couple of days," manager Joe Torre said.
Also missing injured sluggers Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui for some time now, New York finished with 11 hits -- its 12th consecutive game with at least 10. That broke the franchise record of 11 straight games set in May 1937.
"We care about those guys and you want to see them get back," Phillips said. "But at the same time, we use that as an excuse and we'll be at the bottom looking up."
The longtime rivals have now split eight meetings this season -- the Yankees have won three in a row. New York (34-22) won for the eighth time in 10 games overall, matched a season-best 12 games above .500 and leapfrogged Boston into first place in the AL East by a half-game.
The anticipated pitching duel between Mussina and Beckett (7-3) never materialized. The Boston right-hander was gone by the second inning.
"When it gets out of hand so quickly, it's not a lot of fun," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.
Staked to a 13-2 cushion after three, Mussina improved to 7-0 in 10 starts since his only loss on April 14 at Minnesota. He allowed five runs -- four earned -- and eight hits in six innings, striking out a season-high eight.
By the numbers, it was Mussina's worst outing this season -- he hadn't allowed more than three earned runs in any of his 12 previous starts.
"It wasn't at all a smooth game," Mussina said. "I knew they weren't all going to be smooth."
At 23, Beckett was the 2003 World Series MVP with Florida after pitching a shutout on three days' rest at Yankee Stadium to clinch the title in Game 6.
But the Bronx Bombers teed off on him this time. He gave up eight runs -- seven earned -- and seven hits in 1 1/3 innings, his shortest start since May 7, 2003, with Florida, when he left after one inning against San Francisco because of a sprained elbow.
Things got ugly for the Red Sox right away, when Cabrera scored from first base in the first inning as Boston fielders scrambled all over the place like Little Leaguers.
Cabrera hesitated between first and second on Beckett's wild pitch, which didn't squirt far from catcher Jason Varitek. Cabrera finally took off for second, and an off-balance Varitek threw the ball into right-center for an error, sending the runner to third.
Boston's infielders had been shifted to the right against Giambi, which left nobody covering third. So Varitek hustled over there to no avail, which left nobody covering the plate -- neither Beckett nor first baseman Kevin Youkilis realized Varitek needed to be replaced.
"It's such a freaky play because of the way we were defensing it," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Once it got away, we had guys all over the field."
Cabrera alertly broke for the plate as Varitek made a futile attempt to keep up, and Boston's relay throw sailed to the backstop as the Yankees scored on an embarrassing miscue.
"The way we got that first run may never happen again," Mussina said. "That was just pure youth and speed and recklessness."
The Red Sox went up 2-1 in the second, but New York began the bottom half with six straight hits off Beckett. Phillips' three-run shot was his third homer in four games. Johnny Damon added an RBI single, and Giambi's drive off the facing of the right-field upper deck made it 8-2.
Giambi has connected in his last three games and four of his past five, giving him 16 home runs.
The season-high crowd of 55,246 roared when Beckett was pulled after walking Alex Rodriguez, and the pitcher looked straight up to the sky in frustration.
"It was kind of disbelief. Almost in awe that this was going on," Beckett said.
- Mariano Rivera worked a scoreless ninth for the Yankees. He had been unavailable the previous four games because of back spasms.
- Beckett has allowed 14 earned runs and six homers over six innings in his last two outings.