NEW YORK -- Yankee Stadium has a history of drama on the Fourth of July.
There was Lou Gehrig's farewell speech in 1939, and Dave Righetti's no-hitter against Boston in 1983. It's George Steinbrenner's birthday, so it's always an important date to circle on the Yankees' calendar.
Mike Lowell drove in four runs, including a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the fifth against Darrell Rasner (4-7), who lost for the seventh time in eight starts. But Youkilis created the lasting memory, hitting a drive that left New York's Johnny Damon with a sprained and bruised left shoulder, a momentum turner that sent the punchless Yankees to their fifth loss in six games.
"This could be a big trouble spot for us," Damon said.
With New York leading 3-1 in the third, Youkilis hit a two-out scorcher with two on. Damon raced back, jumped and gloved it but as he crashed into the left-field fence, the ball popped out of the webbing of his glove. It bounced up off the top of the wall.
And bounced. And bounced.
The ball came to rest on top of the fence, which was shaking from Damon's impact. And there the sphere sat, like the golf ball teetering over the cup in Caddyshack. The sellout crowd of 55,130 at Yankee Stadium wondered: Would it fall behind for a home run, roll back onto the field or just sit there?
"It was bizarre," Lowell said. "I've been playing awhile. I've never seen anything like that before."
Finally, the ball dropped back in and landed near Damon, who was sprawled on the warning track. A fan behind the fence frantically pointed to the ball. Youkilis cruised into third base as Boston tied it at 3.
Damon checked his glove to determine whether he made the catch. Then he looked around for the ball.
"I had no clue," he said. "When I didn't see it at first, I thought it might have been a home run."
Damon threw the ball back to the infield, threw his glove down and left the game. An MRI revealed a sprained acromioclavicular joint, and Damon said he would be out at least a few days. If the pain doesn't subside, he could wind up on the disabled list for the first time in a 14-season major league career.
Damon apologized to Rasner for not making the catch. He wasn't sure whether the shoulder popped out, and couldn't say whether he momentarily blacked out.
"I can't really move it too well," he said. "It's in the socket now. Structurally, everything is fine. And now I just have to deal with the pain and the inflammation."
What would have been the call if the ball had remained on the top of the fence?
"That ball is live, so if that ball had stayed on top of the fence, it would have been interesting," umpire crew chief Wally Bell said. "We're going to have to find out exactly what the ruling would be on that."
Even Mike Port, Major League Baseball's vice president of umpiring, wasn't positive.
"The guess is that if it had stayed there, it would have been a home run because it had broken the front plane, but we'll discuss it with supervisors in the next few days," he said. "The great thing about this game is that after 100 or more years, you still see things that may not have happened before."
The Yankees wore alternate caps for what was thought to be the first time in their history, participating in a promotion in which all big league teams' hats contained Stars & Stripes logos. The hats had no impact on their bats: The Yankees (45-42) have dropped nine of 14 following a season-high, seven-game winning streak. A postgame tongue-lashing from manager Joe Girardi following Thursday's 7-0 loss in the opener of the four-game series did little good.
New York fell into fourth in the AL East, percentage points behind Baltimore, six games back of the Red Sox and a season-high nine games behind division-leading Tampa Bay. The Yankees scored eight runs in their last five losses, batting .179. A day after going 0-for-10 with runners on base, the Yankees were 2-for-14.
"We've got an uphill battle going up against two very good teams and teams that are, you know, possibly, well, more athletic than us," Damon said.
Josh Beckett (8-5) recovered from a three-run first that included a two-run double by Alex Rodriguez, whose private life again was splashed across New York's tabloids over his relationship with the pop singer Madonna. A-Rod came in on Jason Giambi's sacrifice fly, but New York didn't score again until Derek Jeter's RBI double with two outs in the ninth off Jonathan Papelbon, a ball center fielder Coco Crisp gloved with a diving catch. Bell admitted umpires blew the call.
Bobby Abreu followed with a flyout to the warning track in center.
"Last night was a frustrating loss," Girardi said. "Today's a frustrating loss."
- Boston C Jason Varitek wore a special red, white and blue chest protector that will be auctioned for charity. He also wore special chest protectors for Mother's Day (pink), Memorial Day (camouflage) and Father's Day (blue).
- New York RHP Chien-Ming Wang, who tore a tendon in his right foot June 15, resumed upper-body workouts. He expects to wear a cast for another month.
- There was an 88-minute rain delay in the eighth.
- Papelbon got his 25th save in 29 chances, completing a six-hitter.