NEW YORK (Reuters) - Marcus Thames drilled a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning as the New York Yankees scored four times to walk off with a wild 11-9 win over the Boston Red Sox on Monday.
The Yankees trailed 9-7 in the ninth but erased the deficit when Alex Rodriguez belted a game-tying two-run homer off closer Jonathan Papelbon, who blew the save by allowing all four runs in the final inning.
Thames, playing in place of injured outfielder Nick Swisher, finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs while Rodriguez also had four RBIs for New York who have defeated the Red Sox five times in seven games this season.
"I've always known what this rivalry was about, and being a part of it now, hopefully I can continue to be a part of it," Thames told reporters having joined the Yankees this season after playing with the Detroit Tigers since 2004. "This feels great."
Victor Martinez added the second of his two solo homers in the eighth for the Red Sox (19-20) who hit five home runs.
In what was billed as a pitching showdown between New York right-hander Phil Hughes (5-0) and Japan's Daisuke Matsuzaka, neither performed at their best.
Matsuzaka lasted 4 2/3 innings while allowing seven runs, while Hughes, who entered the game with the lowest ERA of any starter in baseball, surrendered a homer to David Ortiz in the fourth and a three-run blast to J.D. Drew in the fifth.
Hughes exited after the fifth before New York reliever Park Chan-ho was battered during Boston's rally in the eighth.
In the ninth, Brett Gardner led off with a double for one of his two hits and after Rodriguez's game-tying hit, Francisco Cervelli was hit by a pitch to clear the way for Thames launched the fast ball over the left-field wall to end the game.
(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Rex Gowar/Greg Stutchbury)