BOSTON (AP) — Derek Jeter needed one pitch to reach a milestone and get the Yankees going again. New York’s leadoff batter hit the first pitch of the game for a homer, his 2,700th career hit, and the Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 8-4 Sunday night with five homers off Josh Beckett. “We got pitches to hit and we hit them,” Jeter said one night after Boston’s 14-1 win. “It’s not really more complicated than that. When we hit them, we hit them hard.” Yankees starter CC Sabathia became the majors’ first 15-game winner but wasn’t as sharp as he had been, forcing fans hoping for a pitchers duel between the AL’s only two 14-game winners to settle for a power display. “Beckett is a great pitcher,” Sabathia said, “but this lineup is unbelievable.” Hideki Matsui hit two homers, matching his output of Friday night, and Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez also went deep. “These are humbling deals,” Beckett said. “That was a whupping I got today. That’s the only words I’ve got to sum it up.” Sabathia (15-7) won his fifth straight start but gave up three earned runs and eight hits. He had allowed a total of three runs in his previous three starts. But he had excellent control with eight strikeouts and no walks. “You take a little solace in the fact that he’s been pitching well,” said Jason Bay, who struck out in two of his three at-bats against Sabathia. “He pitched well and we still got four runs. Ultimately tonight our guy gave up more.” Beckett (14-5) was hurt by the long ball for the third straight game, allowing a career-high five homers. He’s given up 10 in those three games, the same amount he allowed in his other 22. He lasted eight innings but gave up eight runs on nine hits while striking out five and walking none. He allowed seven runs in his previous start. The aces of their pitching staffs figured to shut down streaking offenses that produced a 20-11 win by New York and a rout by Boston in the first two games of the series. That prospect faded early when the score was tied at 2 after two innings. The Yankees scored in each of the first five innings. The Red Sox had four runs off Sabathia before he left with two outs in the seventh. “These are two of the best teams in baseball, two of the best lineups,” Sabathia said. “You’ve just got to go out and hold it down the best you can.” The Yankees improved to 16-4 in their last 20 games and won their 10th series out of 11 since the All-Star break. They lead the second-place Red Sox by 7 1/2 games in the AL East. Jeter’s homer left him in second place in career hits for the Yankees, 21 behind Lou Gehrig. It was his second of the season leading off the Yankees’ first inning and tied Alfonso Soriano for second in team history with 21. Rickey Henderson leads with 24 for the Yankees. Beckett’s first pitch in the second inning also cleared the fence as Matsui hit his first homer of the game. The Red Sox tied it in the bottom half on an RBI single by Rocco Baldelli and a run-scoring double by Jason Varitek. The Yankees made it 4-2 in the third on Mark Teixeira’s RBI single and Rodriguez’s run-scoring groundout. Cano hit his 19th homer, a solo shot in the fourth that tied his career high, and Rodriguez hit his 22nd, a two-run drive, in the fifth that made it 7-3. The Red Sox had scored a run in the fourth when Varitek’s popup bounced off Cano’s left arm as the second baseman overran the ball. That allowed Bay, who had singled, to score. Baldelli’s sacrifice fly in the sixth made it 7-4. Beckett settled down after Rodriguez’s homer and retired nine straight batters before Matsui hit his 23rd with two outs in the eighth. “He never feels real hittable. He’s always an uncomfortable at-bat,” Rodriguez said. “Tonight we got our pitches and we didn’t miss them.” Notes: Sabathia is 20-2 in August since 2005. … Johnny Damon started in left field for New York after missing Saturday’s game with a bruised right knee suffered when he fouled a pitch off it on Friday night. … Boston lefty DH David Ortiz got the night off against left-hander Sabathia after hitting his 20th homer and driving in three runs Saturday. Manager Terry Francona used Mike Lowell, who has been hitting well, at DH and said the Red Sox will face right-handers the next three nights against the Chicago White Sox. … Nick Swisher’s streak of reaching base in 30 straight games ended.
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