Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonny Gomes each belted early home runs to back another solid effort from Felix Doubront as the Boston Red Sox dealt the New York Yankees a 4-2 loss in the opener of a key three- game series between the rivals from Fenway Park.
Gomes finished 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and two runs scored, while Ellsbury also collected two hits. Jose Iglesias contributed an RBI single to help the AL East-leading Red Sox end a two-game skid prior to the All-Star break.
Doubront (7-3) did his part as well, limiting New York's makeshift lineup to two runs -- one earned -- on three hits over 6 1/3 sharp innings to win his third straight start.
"As we've seen over the last 11 times he's gone to the mound for us, he's working six or seven innings each time out," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He kept the game in check. Another very solid outing on his part."
The Yankees, who learned prior to the game that shortstop Derek Jeter would miss additional time with a lingering quadriceps strain and subsequently placed the captain on the 15-day disabled list, mustered just five hits en route to a third consecutive defeat. The defeat left them seven games behind Boston in the division.
Andy Pettitte (7-7) served up both Red Sox homers and was charged with all four runs over 6 1/3 innings. It was the veteran's seventh consecutive start permitting four or more runs.
"It's got to change," said Pettitte. "I can't keep going out there and giving up two, three, four runs in the first inning and second inning. I'm feeling decent, but I have to obviously try to minimize the damage here early in the game."
Ellsbury got the Red Sox off to a terrific start by socking Pettitte's second pitch of the night into the right-field seats, and Gomes made it a 3-0 Boston lead by following a leadoff walk to Mike Napoli in the bottom of the second with a towering blast over the Green Monster.
"Ells kick-started us," Gomes remarked.
The Yankees, meanwhile, didn't manage a hit off Doubront over the game's initial four innings, but were still able to manufacture an unearned run behind the efforts of Brett Gardner. The speedy leadoff hitter drew a walk to begin the fourth, stole second on a pickoff attempt and then swiped third as well, with Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia's throw sailing into left field to enable him to come home.
Lyle Overbay finally got New York in the hit column with a leadoff double in the fifth, and scored on Chris Stewart's two-out double off the base of the Monster to bring the Yankees within 3-2.
Pettitte settled down after his rough beginning and kept the Yankees in it by yielding just three hits while holding the Red Sox scoreless over the third through sixth innings. However, Gomes reached on a bloop ground-rule double to right to start the bottom of the seventh, then later came around when Iglesias singled off reliever Shawn Kelley with two out.
New York did put forth a threat in the eighth, with Ichiro Suzuki singling against Craig Breslow and Robinson Cano following with a double that put the tying run on second with just one out. Breslow prevented any damage, though, by getting Vernon Wells on a soft liner to short before Luis Cruz grounded out to end the Yankees' half of the frame.
The Yankees failed to get the ball out of the infield while facing Koji Uehara in the ninth, with the Boston closer retiring the side in order on a strikeout and two ground balls to pick up his ninth save of the season.
Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino exited the game after aggravating a hamstring injury while running out a ground ball in the bottom of the second inning ... New York outfielder Zoilo Almonte left in the fifth inning due to an ankle sprain, while Gardner was ejected by home plate umpire Mike Everitt after tossing his helmet on a called third strike in the top of the fifth ... Boston reliever Andrew Bailey was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a shoulder injury that could require season-ending surgery, with the Red Sox signing veterans Jose Contreras and Brandon Lyon to minor league deals ... Doubront has now allowed three runs or less in 12 consecutive starts, the first Red Sox left-hander to do so since Bill Lee in 1973 ... Utilityman Brent Lillibridge replaced Jeter on the active roster and became the 45th player to appear in a game for the Yankees this season, matching the club's entire total of last year.