The Yankees finally arrived at Fenway Park Friday night, 3½ months into what has been a surprisingly successful season for the Red Sox.
A crowd of 38,130, the largest of the season, turned out for the latest chapter of the rivalry. Not even stifling heat could keep them away.
The reward was a 4-2 victory for the Red Sox as Felix Doubront and three relievers held the Yankees to five hits.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonny Gomes hit home runs as the Sox returned from the All-Star break looking refreshed. It was the fifth victory in seven games against the Yankees this season.
Doubront (7-3) pitched into the seventh inning for the fourth straight time. Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, and Koji Uehara held the Yankees down for the final 2⅔ innings.
It was the ninth save for Uehara, who has allowed one earned run in 13⅓ innings since being named closer.
Breslow put two runners on with one out in the eighth inning before getting Vernon Wells on a soft liner to shortstop and Luis Cruz on a grounder the same way.
The Yankees have lost three straight and are 21-27 since May 27. The Sox have eight more games against New York at home this season.
The first-place Red Sox are falling apart physically, however. Before the game, the team placed righthanded reliever Andrew Bailey on the disabled list with a shoulder injury that is expected to keep him out for the rest of the season.
Once the game started, right fielder Shane Victorino lasted only three innings before aggravating his strained left hamstring and going to the trainer’s room.
Doubront continued his string of impressive outings by holding the Yankees to two runs (one earned) on three hits over 6⅓ innings. He walked three and struck out five.
Doubront has a 2.59 earned run average in his last 12 starts. Over 73 innings he has allowed only 57 hits and struck out 63.
In his last six starts, Doubront has a 1.83 ERA.
The Red Sox gave Doubront a 3-0 lead against Yankees starter Andy Pettitte.
Ellsbury led off the bottom of the first inning by driving a high fastball into the seats in right field for his fourth home run. Ellsbury has nine leadoff homers, tying Dom DiMaggio and Tommy Harper for the most in team history.
In the second inning, Mike Napoli drew a walk before Gomes jumped on a changeup from Pettitte and drove it into the Monster Seats in left field for his seventh home run.
Gomes was 2 for 3 against Pettitte and is 10 for 28 (.357) against him in his career.
Doubront had faced only nine batters through three innings thanks to a double play turned by Dustin Pedroia in the second inning. But Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner manufactured a run on his own in the fourth inning.
Gardner drew a walk and stole second despite being picked off first base. Gardner then took off for third and stole the base easily. When the throw from catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia skipped past Brandon Snyder, Gardner trotted home.
The Yankees got their first hit in the fifth inning when Lyle Overbay doubled off the wall in center. He scored on a two-out double by No. 9 hitter Chris Stewart.
The only other hit Doubront allowed came in the sixth inning when Wells singled with two outs. Doubront got Cruz to pop to Saltalamacchia to end the inning.
Doubront got one out in the seventh before being lifted after 93 pitches.
The Sox made it 4-2 in the seventh inning. Gomes doubled to right off Pettitte. Reliever Shawn Kelly got the second out before throwing a wild pitch while Jose Iglesias was up.
Iglesias singled to center on the eighth pitch he saw to drive in the run. He clapped his hands as he headed to first and pumped his fist once he rounded the bag.
Iglesias was 1 for 14 before the single.
A second reliever, Boone Logan, walked Ellsbury to extend the inning. Daniel Nava, who replaced Victorino in right field, grounded into a force at third base.
The Yankees also had attrition during the game. Left fielder Zoilo Almonte left in the fifth inning with a sprained left ankle.
Gardner was ejected in the fifth inning after striking out looking and slamming his helmet with two hands. Umpire Mike Everitt immediately tossed him.