Boston Red Sox in seventh heaven to sweep NY Yankees

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Boston Red Sox exploded for seven runs in the seventh inning to complete a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees with an 8-3 victory in a rain-delayed game that ended early on Friday morning.

Trailing 2-0, Boston sent 11 batters to the plate and stroked eight hits in the seventh as Yankees starter CC Sabathia crumbled after giving up just two hits in the first six innings.

It was the seventh win in a row for the Red Sox (36-26) over their arch rivals as Boston increased their American League East lead over New York (33-27) to two games.

"They outhit us, outpitched us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters. "We'll be back. I still think we're a very good team."

Red Sox starter Josh Beckett pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on just four hits to improve his record to 5-2. The only blemish against him was Curtis Granderson's 18th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the first.

Sabathia fell to 7-4 in a game that did not begin until 10.32 p.m. because of a three-and-a-half hour rain delay with only a smattering of the sellout crowd of nearly 49,000 at Yankee Stadium staying to the bitter end.

Every player in the Red Sox lineup got at least one hit with David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez each driving in two runs with two hits apiece in the 12-hit attack.

Boston, winners of eight of nine games this season against the Yankees, outscored New York 25-13 during their three-day trip to the Bronx. The teams do not meet again until August.

"There's a lot of baseball to be played until we see them again," Girardi added. "This was not how you want it (the series) to end, but you can't have a hangover. You've got to go out and play a game tomorrow."

Beckett struck out six, walked two and hit three Yankee batters with pitches. Two New York hitters were hit by pitches in the series opener.

Ortiz, who homered in each of the first two games, was hit in the thigh by a Sabathia fastball in the fourth inning and the home plate umpire warned both teams that the next incident would result in the ejection of the pitcher.

In the clubhouse after the game, Ortiz delivered a brief, expletive-laced rant at reporters gathered around his locker, blaming the media for the apparent retaliation by Sabathia.

(Editing by John O'Brien)