Ortiz had a two-run homer and four RBI and Josh Beckett settled down to help Boston beat New York 7-5 Saturday for its second consecutive victory over the Yankees. It was Ortiz's fourth homer in seven games and his 12th in the past two years against New York.
"Any time he comes up, you're playing with fire," Yankees starter Jeff Karstens said.
Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to 21 games dating to last season. But a day after he hit two home runs to match the fastest start in baseball history -- 12 homers in the first 15 games -- his home run streak was snapped at four straight games.
"To not have it get to Alex ... it was starting to get to decision time," said Boston manager Terry Francona, whose team has won four straight and seven of eight. "The fewer decisions you have to make, the better."
Beckett (4-0) allowed a pair of runs in each of the first two innings, but retired 15 out of 17 batters before allowing three straight baserunners with two outs in the seventh to cut Boston's lead to 7-5. Hideki Okajima struck out Jason Giambi to end the threat.
Beckett, who allowed a total of three earned runs while winning each of his first three starts, gave up five runs in all against the Yankees -- four earned. He allowed nine hits, walked two and struck out seven to pick up his career-high fourth consecutive win.
"It was a heavyweight fight the first couple of innings," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "Once Beckett got the lead, he settled in."
The Red Sox also scored two in each of the first two innings against Karstens (0-1), and they kept on scoring. He allowed seven runs and nine hits, striking out one with two walks, one of them to Kevin Youkilis with two outs in the fourth before Ortiz hit a two-run homer that turned a one-run game into a 7-4 lead.
"Him and Manny (Ramirez), both of them have done so much damage to us over the years," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "We'd love to always face them with nobody on base. That's why their first two hitters are so important."
On Friday night, the Red Sox rallied from a 6-2 deficit with five runs in the eighth inning to beat the Yankees in the opener of the three-game series. Sunday's finale will feature Japanese star Daisuke Matsuzaka against New York rookie Chase Wright.
"It's the Yankees vs. the Red Sox," Torre said. "We don't sit up at night to see who they're pitching."
- Ramirez made an interesting move to hop over Rodriguez's double off the Green Monster, either trying to get out of the way or trying to stop it with his foot.
- OF Coco Crisp, DH Ortiz and third-base coach DeMarlo Hale will wear No. 42 on Sunday for Boston's rain-delayed tribute to Jackie Robinson.
- Ortiz's 179th homer as a Red Sox player moved him ahead of Nomar Garciaparra and into 10th place on the team's career list.
- Jeter singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera got a standing ovation from the fans in the right-field corner when he went out to the bullpen in the fifth.
- Crisp and Alex Cora had consecutive bunt singles in the second inning, and both scored as the Red Sox rallied to tie it at 4-4.
- Injured Yankees RHP Mike Mussina (strained left hamstring) threw 30 pitches off flat ground. His next step could be a rehab stint. RHP Carl Pavano (right forearm stiffness) played catch from 60 feet and will do it again before determining what to do next.
- Yankees CF Johnny Damon pinch hit in the ninth despite a sore back and hamstring. C Jorge Posada sat out after bruising his thumb on Friday night.