The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have probably the fiercest rivalry in the MLB. Considering their game on Wednesday night would decide the leader of the AL East, Jacoby Ellsbury's tie-breaking homer in the bottom of the sixth was quite clutch in helping the home team a 9-5 victory over the Bronx Bombers.
With Ellsbury's blast, the Red Sox are now 1 1/2 games up in the AL East standings after defeating the Yankees for the 11th time in 14 meetings this season. The Red Sox victory didn't come without a bit of drama, though, after losing 5-2 in the first game of the series.
The Yankees pulled ahead with four runs in the top of the fifth inning before Ellsbury answered with a two-run blast over the Green Monster -- the first time in his career that he's cleared the Fenway obstacle -- to give Boston the lead it would never relinquish. Ellsbury's virgin trip over the famed wall didn't seem to surprise him, however.
"I know I can," Ellsbury told MLB.com. "I know I'm capable. It was nice, especially off the lefty, staying on a ball like that. That was a pitch -- a pretty good pitch away -- so it's nice to reap the rewards. I don't expect that ball to go out, but that's nice to see."
Starting pitcher Josh Beckett, who gave up all five runs for the Red Sox, pitched eight strikeouts in seven innings while ensuring his team picked up the AL East victory.
"I want to finish first," said winning pitcher Josh Beckett. "I don't think anybody's out there going, 'We don't care.' It's a little too early for that. Once you get to Sept. 25, it's, 'Hey, let's just get in.' But for now, who doesn't want to finish first? You'd be hard-pressed to find anybody that says they don't really care."
The Yankees got four RBIs from four separate hitters, but the fact that Phil Hughes gave up six runs in 5.2 innings on the mound was ultimately the reason the Yankees weren't able to take the division lead. They'll have a chance to claw back on Thursday night, however, in a rematch at Fenway.