Published May 17, 2010
NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez hit a tying homer off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning and Marcus Thames connected moments later for a two-run shot of his own, giving the New York Yankees a wild 11-9 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Monday night.
With one out and a runner on third, Rodriguez hit the first pitch into the visitors' bullpen in left-center to tie it at 9. Papelbon (1-3) got Robinson Cano to fly out but hit Francisco Cervelli with a pitch before Thames drove his next delivery over the wall in left.
Thames was mobbed at home plate after New York's first game-ending hit of the season. He also got the customary cream pie in the face from pitcher A.J. Burnett, part of the routine when New York had 15 game-ending hits last year.
Javier Vazquez (2-4) got a most unlikely win, striking out Kevin Youkilis with runners on the corners for the final out of the ninth. Yankees manager Joe Girardi only went to the struggling starter for a rare relief appearance because his depleted bullpen was missing David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain.
The Red Sox hit five homers but still lost their eighth consecutive game at Yankee Stadium, their longest road skid against New York since dropping eight straight from 1960-61. Victor Martinez connected from both sides of the plate, and David Ortiz, J.D. Drew and Youkilis also went deep.
It was Papelbon's first blown save in the regular season since July 28, snapping a streak of 22 straight conversions. The only other time he allowed two homers in a game was to Minnesota's Justin Morneau and Jacque Jones in his major league debut on July 31, 2005, according to STATS LLC.
Rodriguez also had a two-run single off Daisuke Matsuzaka in New York's five-run first, its biggest opening inning of the season. Cano had an RBI single and Cervelli doubled in a run, improving to 11 for 14 with runners in scoring position this season.
But it wasn't enough as Phil Hughes struggled for the first time this season and New York's makeshift bullpen couldn't hold on after the right-hander departed with a 7-5 lead following five sluggish innings.
Girardi skirted a question before the game about which relievers were available, and his best ones barely stirred as Boston roughed up Boone Logan and Chan Ho Park, just activated from the disabled list.
Youkilis connected for a go-ahead, two-run homer against Park in the eighth. Martinez then hit a long drive that cleared the Yankees' bullpen in right-center, giving Boston a 9-7 lead.
Martinez became the sixth Boston player to homer from each side in the same game. It was the third time he accomplished the feat, and his fourth career multihomer game overall. He also went deep against Logan in the sixth, ending an 0-for-19 skid.
Looking for balance in his lineup, Red Sox manager Terry Francona tinkered with his batting order and got exactly what he was looking for — except for a win. Martinez batted fifth for the fourth time this season, putting the slumping slugger in front of the streaking Ortiz. The change also broke up lefty batters Ortiz and Drew, who hit third for the second straight day.
Ortiz reached the second deck in right in the fourth for his sixth homer this month and seventh overall. Drew hit a three-run shot off Hughes in the fifth. Martinez's multihomer game was his first since June 1, 2007, for Cleveland against Detroit.
Matsuzaka allowed seven runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings. The Japanese right-hander threw seven crisp innings in his previous start, a 6-1 victory over Toronto.
Hughes was 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three previous outings this month.
NOTES: Yankees DH Nick Johnson will have surgery on his right wrist, likely on Tuesday. It will be another four to six weeks before he can swing a bat, meaning he could be sidelined through the All-Star break. ... Red Sox OF Mike Cameron isn't quite ready to return to the team, according to Francona. Cameron is experiencing some tenderness in a different area of his injured abdomen. He worked with a trainer Monday at Fenway Park and is expected to do the same on Tuesday. He could play another rehab game Wednesday at Double-A Portland. ... Boston OF Jacoby Ellsbury (bruised chest) went 1 for 3 and scored twice while serving as the designated hitter in a rehab game with Triple-A Pawtucket. He is scheduled to play in the outfield for Portland on Tuesday.