BOSTON – Hideki Matsui homered twice and had a career-high seven RBI, Alex Rodriguez had four hits and the New York Yankees picked up where they left off against the Boston Red Sox with a 23-hit attack and a 20-11 win Friday night.
The Yankees had a season high in runs in the opener of a three-game series just 12 days after completing a four-game sweep of Boston in New York. They also dominated the first game of that series, winning 13-6 with 18 hits.
New York has been rolling against all opponents with a 15-3 record in its last 18 games. The win increased its AL East lead to 71/2 games over Boston, which began a 10-game homestand after winning its previous three games in Toronto.
That momentum didn’t last.
The Yankees scored two runs in the first inning, four in the second, six in the fifth, three in the sixth, one in the seventh and four in the ninth.
Matsui hit three-run homers in the fifth and the ninth, giving him 21 for the year, and drove in a run with a groundout in the seventh. He is batting .366 (15 for 41) with two homers and 10 RBI against the Red Sox this season.
He had plenty of help in this one.
Rodriguez went 4 for 4 after getting just five hits in his previous 25 at-bats. Mark Teixeira and Melky Cabrera had three hits apiece and Teixeira drove in three runs. Derek Jeter went 3 for 6 for his fourth three-hit performance in the last five games and is batting .543 (25 for 46) in his last 11 games.
The Yankees led 12-1 before the Red Sox scored three in the bottom of the fifth off Andy Pettitte (10-6).
By that time, Brad Penny (7-8) was out of the game after allowing eight runs and 10 hits in four-plus innings. He dropped to 1-6 in his last 11 games.
Jeter doubled in the first, the fourth time in five games he led off a game with a hit. Teixeira walked, Rodriguez singled and Jorge Posada hit a two-run single. There was one downside to the inning when Johnny Damon fouled a ball off his right knee, then struck out and left the game in the bottom half with a bruised knee.
Eric Hinske, Damon’s replacement in left field, doubled in a run in the second before a two-run double by Teixeira and an RBI single by Rodriguez.