Changing the style -- but not the outcome -- of an epic series that's propelled them to a 5½-game lead in the AL East, the Yankees beat Boston for the fourth consecutive time on Sunday night, coming back with two homers and five RBI from Jason Giambi to win 8-5 in 10 innings.
"This could have been the most incredible of them all," New York manager Joe Torre said. "This ballclub just won't be denied."
Giambi led off the 10th with his second homer and Jorge Posada added a two-run shot for the Yankees, who have beaten Boston in the first four games of the five-game series and turned a 3½-game deficit into a 5½-game lead in just one month. A victory on Monday would top the 1978 series known as the "Boston Massacre" -- a four-game September sweep that erased the remnants of Boston's 14-game lead on the Yankees.
"It's not fair. Those guys are not playing around," Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz said. "It's bad, but things can change. We've got five weeks to play and we have time to fix this up."
After pounding the Red Sox for 39 runs in the first three games, the Yankees sat back against Curt Schilling and pounced on the Boston bullpen. New York trailed 5-3 after seven and 5-4 after eight before sending it into extras when Melky Cabrera doubled to lead off the ninth and scored on Derek Jeter's two-out flare to right.
Ortiz hit his major league-leading 44th homer in the fourth and doubled off Mariano Rivera (5-5) to lead off the ninth. Boston loaded the bases with one out, but Rivera pitched out of it and then added a scoreless 10th, getting Ortiz to fly out meekly to right to end the game.
Craig Hansen (1-1) gave up three runs and three hits while striking out two for Boston.
"It might have been the greatest four games I played in my career," Giambi said. "Both teams are going back and forth like prize fighters. It's like whoever gets the best at bat."
Schilling stopped the Yankees' offensive onslaught, overcoming a 57-minute rain delay to last seven innings and leave with a 5-3 lead. But Mike Timlin and Javier Lopez loaded the bases, and by the time Jonathan Papelbon pitched out of it, Giambi had brought the Yankees within one.
Papelbon struck out Robinson Cano and, with the remnants of the sellout crowd standing and cheering, he fanned Posada to end the eighth. The rookie right-hander bounded off the mound, pumping his fist in celebration.
But Cabrera doubled to lead off the ninth and took third on a wild pitch. Bernie Williams, pinch-hitting, struck out, and then former Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon, who was 9-for-18 in the first three games of the series, struck out on three pitches.
Jeter looped a flare in front of right fielder Gabe Kapler to tie it.
Mike Mussina left because of tightness in his groin after four innings and just 62 pitches with the scored tied 3-3; he is winless in four starts since July 30.
- ESPN reporter Bonnie Bernstein sought refuge from the rain in the Red Sox dugout to file her in-game reports. Team officials asked her to leave when the rain stopped.
- Boston LF Manny Ramirez was 2-for-2 with three walks, two intentional.
- Schilling struck out seven to move eight shy of the 3,000-strikeout milestone.
- Rodriguez was in the lineup at designated hitter on Sunday and Jeter was scheduled to DH on Monday.
- Ramirez doubled in the first for his ninth consecutive 100-RBI season, most of any active player.
- Boston SS Alex Gonzalez was out of the lineup with back spasms for the second consecutive game.