"I would have liked to have knocked them out of the playoffs and put us in. That would have meant something," manager Joe Girardi said Friday night after the Yankees beat Boston 19-8 to deliver the AL East title to Tampa Bay. "It really doesn't (mean anything)."
Playing a lineup loaded with backups in an unusually meaningless matchup with their longtime rivals, the Yankees waited out 2 hours, 9 minutes of rain delays on to eliminate Boston's last chance at the division title. The Red Sox had already clinched a wild-card berth, and they will open the playoffs at the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.
"The important thing is for us to get our house in order, be healthy, and try to get everybody at-bats," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "But not too many."
Cody Ransom pinch hit for Derek Jeter and went 3-for-3 with two homers, Robinson Cano tied a career high with five RBI and Brett Gardner had a career-best four RBI for the Yankees. Bobby Abreu scored four times and Xavier Nady had three of New York's season-high 20 hits in a game that didn't end until 12:52 a.m. -- 5 hours, 47 minutes after the scheduled first pitch.
"It was a long game," Abreu said. "It was crazy, a little crazy, but we went out there and did our thing and won the game."
New York scored in every inning but the sixth, the most runs it has scored this season and the most allowed by Boston since losing 19-8 to the Yankees in Game 3 of the 2004 AL Championship Series. The Red Sox won the next four games to come back from a 3-0 deficit, then swept St. Louis in the World Series to end their 86-year championship drought.
With Boston playoff-bound and the Yankees watching the postseason from the outside for the first time since 1993, both teams used the sloppy field and various aches as a reason to make liberal substitutions. It rained all day, but the ballpark was sold out -- the 467th straight sellout at Fenway Park, giving the Red Sox a season attendance record of 2,973,717.
The Red Sox scratched David Ortiz and Daisuke Matsuzaka during the 1 hour, 31 minute delay at the start of the game, then took Mike Lowell out when his balky back acted up after one at-bat. The Yankees turned the bottom of their order over to Chad Moeller and Gardner and pulled Jeter in the fourth with a sore left hand.
More starters left during a 38-minute delay after a pelting rain began in the fifth, just before Ransom hit his second homer. By the time it was over, there were just a few hundred fans left in the stands.
Girardi said Jeter will sit Saturday and might play Sunday. Lowell is doubtful for Sunday and might not be ready for the first round of the playoffs. Matsuzaka will take his turn on Saturday, and Ortiz is expected to play as well.
The Yankees scored in each of the first five innings to open a 13-4 lead and chase Matsuzaka substitute David Pauley, who was making his second start of the season. Pauley (0-1) allowed six runs and seven hits while getting eight outs.
David Robertson (4-0) struck out three in two innings of scoreless relief for the victory.
- Because of the rain, the Red Sox postponed the ceremony to retire Johnny Pesky's No. 6 until Sunday.
- It was Ellsbury's third career homer leading off the first inning. He also became the third player in Red Sox history with 50 stolen bases in a season, joining Tommy Harper (54 in 1973) and Tris Speaker (52 in '12).
- Red Sox 2B Gil Velazquez, who was called up from Triple-A on Thursday, recorded his first major league hit and RBI in the fourth. C George Kottaras also had his first big league hit.
- Yankees RHP Mariano Rivera is considering whether to have offseason surgery on his sore right shoulder, but he remains available this weekend. Girardi said LHP Andy Pettitte received encouraging news from a backup MRI.