Josh Beckett knows Boston's playoff hopes are fading fast. And if the Red Sox are going to make any kind of run the rest of the way, it appears they'll have to do it without Carl Crawford.
Ichiro Suzuki homered twice and Hiroki Kuroda pitched eight innings of four-hit ball to lead the New York Yankees past Beckett and the Red Sox 4-1 on Sunday night.
Boston (59-63) has lost eight of 12 and left town trailing the first-place Yankees by 13½ games. The fourth-place Red Sox are 7½ games out in the wild-card race.
"We need a lot of things to happen now," Beckett said. "We need to play better and we've got to have some teams fall down."
Earlier in the day, the Red Sox said they will meet on their day off Monday and decide whether Crawford will have season-ending elbow surgery. Citing an anonymous source, ESPN reported hours later that Crawford is expected to have the operation Tuesday.
"Carl's given it everything he has. From everything I gather, the elbow situation is kind of trending in the wrong way," manager Bobby Valentine said.
Derek Jeter had three hits and scored twice for the Yankees, who took two of three from Boston despite playing the entire series without slugger Mark Teixeira. The AL East leaders won for the ninth time in 12 games, ending a two-year streak of futility against Beckett (5-11).
The right-hander was 5-0 in his previous seven starts against the Yankees since losing to them on Aug. 8, 2010. He kept his team in the game this time, but dropped to 0-4 in his past six outings overall. He is 1-7 in 13 starts since May 20 and has served up seven homers in his past three appearances covering 16 1-3 innings.
"I thought Josh had some of the best stuff that he's had in a while," Valentine said, fiddling with a DVD of "Les Miserables" on his desk. "He just had trouble with two hitters, Jeter and Ichiro. They kind of did him in."
While Beckett has struggled when the Red Sox needed him, Kuroda (12-8) has provided a major boost to the Yankees with ace CC Sabathia and veteran Andy Pettitte on the disabled list. The 37-year-old right-hander, coming off a two-hit shutout against Texas, struck out four and walked none while reaching 100 pitches for the 11th straight start. His ERA is 2.96.
"He did a good job mixing up his pitches. He had location. He had another very good night," said Red Sox leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury, who went 0 for 4.
Kuroda's only blemish was Adrian Gonzalez's homer in the seventh. Rafael Soriano earned his 31st save in 33 tries.
Crawford singled leading off the ninth, perhaps his final at-bat of the year. He was promptly erased on Dustin Pedroia's double-play grounder.
"He's probably undergoing surgery, right? It's not good. But you've got to do what you've got to do to be ready next year," injured teammate David Ortiz said. "You've got to take care of yourself. If you are injured, you're injured. Nobody gets Tommy John (surgery) because it's fun. Tommy John (surgery) is a tough process and he needs one because he needs one. If I'm him, I would do exactly what he's doing, taking care of it."
Never known for his power, the 38-year-old Suzuki homered into the second deck in right with two outs in the fourth. Two innings later, he lined a shot into the lower seats for his seventh career multihomer game and second this season. He also hit two with Seattle on June 2 at the Chicago White Sox.
The 10-time All-Star popped out of the dugout for a curtain call, showing more than a few flecks of gray in his closely cropped hair. He has seven home runs this year, three for New York after he was acquired from the Mariners in a July 23 trade.
When he returned to his position in right field, fans in the sellout crowd of 48,620 chanted "Ichiro! Ichiro!"
"Everyone knows how good of a hitter he is. I don't care what the scoreboard or statistics say," Jeter said. "He showed tonight he can hit home runs if he wants to."
Suzuki added an infield single in the eighth — after taking a big cut at a pitch he fouled straight back. Asked if he was going for a third home run, he winked.
"I swung too hard. My neck hurts," Suzuki said through a translator.
The Yankees have outhomered Boston 31-11 while going 8-4 against their longtime rivals this year.
Gonzalez hit his 15th of the season and second in two days with one out in the seventh, snapping Kuroda's scoreless streak at 16 2-3 innings.
Jeter and Curtis Granderson doubled in the first to put New York ahead. Jeter then clocked a ground-rule double in the third. He was on the front end of a double steal with Nick Swisher and scored on Beckett's wild pitch.
NOTES: Boston finished 4-6 on its longest road trip of the season. ... Red Sox OF Cody Ross was rested after striking out in all four plate appearances Saturday. ... Ortiz (strained right Achilles) said he thinks he could return to the lineup during the upcoming homestand. ... Beckett is 14-8 against the Yankees in 29 career starts and 8-4 in 14 games at Yankee Stadium. ... Pedroia had his 13-game hitting streak snapped. ... Beckett has a strikeout in each of his 300 major league games, the second-longest streak to begin a career since 1900 behind Dwight Gooden (349).