NEW YORK -- Two little, too late for the Boston Red Sox.
Boston beat the New York Yankees twice in one day for the first time in 30 years, rallying for a 5-4 victory Sunday night when Coco Crisp robbed Jorge Posada of a two-run homer in the eighth and Mark Loretta hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth.
"Unfortunately, where we are in the standings, it's more of a moral victory," Loretta said.
Boston, which overcame a 4-2, eighth-inning deficit in the nightcap, had not defeated the Yankees twice in one day since July 31, 1976, at Fenway Park, and hadn't accomplished the feat at Yankee Stadium since July 4, 1973.
It was only a month ago that the Yankees swept five games in Boston from Aug. 18-21 to take a 6½-game lead that pretty much finished off the Red Sox.
"They come into our place and kill us, it's just nice to come into their place -- even though the situation is a lot different right now -- and still play hard and pull off most of these games," Crisp said.
While beating the Yankees in three of four in a 34½-hour span, the situation remains bleak for the Red Sox. New York was in position to clinch its ninth consecutive division title with a sweep Sunday combined with a Blue Jays loss to the Devil Rays. But even before the Red Sox recorded the final out of the opener, Toronto won 5-3.
"Sooner or later, we are going to clinch this thing," Johnny Damon said.
New York leads the AL East by 9½ games over the Red Sox, has a magic number of four and hopes to wrap up the division during a seven-game trip to Toronto and Tampa Bay that starts Monday. Last year, the Yankees clinched at Fenway Park on the next-to-last day of the regular season.
"If they're going to clinch it, let them do it on somebody else's time," Crisp said.
Even with the wins, Boston is 7½ games behind Minnesota, the AL wild-card leader.
"There's no glory here," Youkilis said. "It doesn't make us happy, at all. Our goal this year was to win the division and we didn't accomplish it, barring a miracle."
Derek Jeter sat out the opener and went 0-for-4 in the second game, ending his hitting streak at 25 games, the longest for the Yankees since Joe Gordon's 29-game string in 1942. Jeter's average fell to .341, three points behind Minnesota's Joe Mauer, the AL leader.
Posada had three RBI, including a two-run double that gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead in the sixth, but Jason Varitek hit a run-scoring single in the eighth off Mike Myers, who threw a run-scoring wild pitch on an 0-2 count with two outs.
"I squandered the opportunity," Myers said.
Posada hit a drive to deep left-center in the bottom half that was about to be a two-run homer when Crisp ran over from center and leaped at the wall to catch it.
"I had it lined up pretty well, timed it well," Crisp said. "I was able to keep my hands closed on it, and it stayed in."
Then Carlos Pena doubled off Kyle Farnsworth (3-5) in the ninth and Crisp sacrificed, with Posada's throw pulling Andy Phillips off the first-base bag for an error. Loretta flied to shallow center, and pinch-runner Alex Cora scored ahead of Bernie Williams' weak throw.
Javier Lopez (1-0) picked up the win, and Mike Timlin finished for his eighth save, his second of the day.
"We've come to grips a little bit with what's going on, and now I'm just kind of relaxing," Timlin said.
Mike Mussina pitched six innings, allowing his only runs on Trot Nixon's two-run homer in the second. He appeared to be over the strained groin that sent him to the disabled list from Aug. 21 to Sept. 5.
Cabrera made a running grab of Eric Hinske's fly ball down the left-field line starting the seventh of the opener. Cabrera extended his glove, caught the ball in the webbing, and his momentum carried him into the first row of the stands -- reminiscent of Jeter's startling, hurtling catch against the Red Sox on July 1, 2004, but not as difficult or dramatic. "The padding helped me a lot, so it was a nice fall," Cabrera said through a translator.