There was a week's worth of highlights during the Yankees' 5-0 victory Thursday: a no-hit bid by Chien-Ming Wang into the seventh inning, a pair of big opposite-field home runs by Robinson Cano off Curt Schilling, and a disputed play involving Alex Rodriguez that led to the ejection of Boston manager Terry Francona.
It's not even Labor Day, and already there was late-season passion between these old foes.
"If that young man is trying to get our attention, he did a very good job," Francona said.
Edwar Ramirez, another rookie, completed a two-hitter and the Yankees' first shutout of Boston since Sept. 11, 2005. Following a 2-5 trip to the Los Angeles Angels and Detroit, New York rebounded quickly.
"We need wins. I'd tell you the same thing if we just beat a high-school team three games in a row," said Derek Jeter, who went 4-for-4. "Now we have to play well against Tampa. Otherwise these games don't mean anything."
Last year, the Yankees swept a five-game series at Boston from Aug. 18-21, opening a 6 ½-game lead in the AL East.
It's so different this season. The Yankees, who outscored the Red Sox 14-6 in the three games and outhit them 30-13, closed within five games of the division leaders and moved one game ahead of Seattle in the wild-card race. They had not finished a day in a playoff position since April 10, when the Yankees were 4-3.
"If we play well enough, we'll be where we want to be," Jeter said.
Chamberlain's ejection left bad feelings all around. Throwing 98-99 mph, he pumped a pitch over Youkilis' head with one out in the ninth. The next pitch went to nearly the same spot, and Youkilis stared as plate umpire Angel Hernandez ejected the pitcher.
Chamberlain, his palms out, was shocked. He said both pitches slipped and he intended nothing nefarious.
"That's absolutely ridiculous," Yankees manager Joe Torre said about the ejection. "Unfortunately, in a lot of situations, the umpires do not apply common sense. And I've seen it too many times. And something has to change. Either they have to school them or do something that certainly gives them a feel for the game better than they showed today."
Youkilis was angry.
"I didn't see any other pitches going that far out of the strike zone," he said. "Who knows what it really meant?"
On June 1, five batters were hit when the Yankees played at Fenway Park.
"There's more than a little bit of history between these clubs," crew chief Derryl Cousins said. "Those were two pretty nasty pitches the young man threw. Up here, you need to be a little better throwing strikes, and we just had to put a lid on it before there was a problem."
Chamberlain has thrown 11 1/3 scoreless innings in the majors, striking out 17, walking four and allowing just five hits. It was the first time he pitched on one day of rest and went more than an inning. Until now, he wasn't allowed to go more than one inning unless he had the two prior days off.
"We're still going by the same set of rules, but every once in a while we're going to take certain liberties," Torre said.
Francona, already miffed at the commissioner's office for sending a security official into his dugout a night earlier to check whether he was wearing his uniform shirt, got hot again, and this time it had nothing to do with the style police.
He was ejected in the seventh after umpires ruled Youkilis out for running out on the basepath to elude a tag by Rodriguez on J.D. Drew's sharp grounder to third with two on. After Youkilis veered onto the infield grass, A-Rod threw to first for one out as Cousins, the second-base ump, signaled safe while third-base ump Mark Carlson called Youkilis out.
"We had a little lack of communication," Cousins said. "We just had to get together to make sure we had it right. Basically, I think Francona wanted to get run there. He just persisted in the discussion long after it was finished and we had explained the call."
Boston trailed 2-0 at the time, and the decision gave the Yankees a key double play. Wang struck out Jason Varitek to end the inning, and the Red Sox never recovered.
"I thought Derryl Cousins, it was his call and he got a good look and his judgment, Youk was OK," Francona said. "So to get overturned by somebody with not as good a view was frustrating."
A day after Roger Clemens took a no-hit bid into the sixth, Wang (16-6) did the Rocket an inning better. Putting his changeup and slider on the corners, Wang tied for the major league lead in wins and improved to 13-2 since June 1.
With the sellout crowd of 55,067 starting to sense a special day was possible, Youkilis reached on a throwing error by Jeter leading off the seventh and Mike Lowell followed by grounding a clean single to right.
Schilling (8-6) allowed six hits in seven innings.
Now these teams will watch each other from a distance until they meet again at Fenway Park from Sept. 14-16.
"It will be interesting to see how that series plays out," Youkilis said.
- Bobby Abreu hit an RBI double off Hideki Okajima in the eighth, and the Yankees scored twice on a double steal when Varitek's throw went into left for an error.