Sox continue to struggle against Yanks

Posted Aug. 08, 2009, at 7:31 p.m.
Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona, right, argues with home plate umpire Jim Joyce, left after relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez is ejected after New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez is hit with a pitch and during the seventh inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009,  in New York.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona, right, argues with home plate umpire Jim Joyce, left after relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez is ejected after New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez is hit with a pitch and during the seventh inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK — CC Sabathia gave the Yankees a dominant performance that put them in position for a four-game sweep of the Red Sox.

Sabathia didn’t allow a runner past second base while pitching into the eighth inning and New York beat Boston 5-0 for its sixth consecutive win.

Derek Jeter hit a two-run homer in the eighth for the Yankees, who extended their AL East lead to a season-high 5½ games. Robinson Cano finished with three hits.

Jacoby Ellsbury lined a clean single to center with two out in the sixth for Boston’s first hit off Sabathia (12-7), who improved to 4-1 in his last five starts. The big left-hander got a standing ovation from the sellout crowd, and promptly struck out Dustin Pedroia to end the inning.

The Red Sox won their first eight games against the rival Yankees this season but this trip to the Bronx has been a disaster. The slumping lineup hasn’t produced a run in the last 24 innings and is 3 for 33 with runners in scoring position for the series. Their last extra-base hit was Casey Kotchman’s two-run homer in the fourth inning of Thursday night’s 13-6 loss.

The Yankees blanked the Red Sox in consecutive home games in one season for the first time since 1963.

Boston’s one bright spot was Clay Buchholz (1-2), who allowed two runs and six hits over six solid innings. The right-hander bounced back after allowing seven runs and nine hits in four-plus innings in his previous start last Sunday at Baltimore.

Ramon Ramirez replaced him in the seventh and was ejected after hitting Alex Rodriguez on the left arm with one out. Ramirez threw a fastball up and in to Mark Teixeira before Rodriguez came to the plate.

There also was some testiness Thursday night when Mark Melancon threw a pitch over Pedroia’s head before hitting him in the eighth inning.

Teixeira hit an RBI single in the third and Jose Molina added a sacrifice fly in the sixth for New York, which has won 30 of 40 overall to improve to a major league-best 68-42. Nick Swisher also drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk in the seventh.

Sabathia carried a perfect game into the fifth, retiring the first 13 batters before David Ortiz walked on a 3-2 pitch that was just inside. The Yankee Stadium crowd groaned as the embattled Boston slugger jogged down to first.

Ortiz went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts hours after he said he never knowingly used steroids and that over-the-counter supplements and vitamins likely caused him to land on a list of alleged drug users circulated by the federal government. He is batting just .171 (6 for 35) with two homers and six RBIs since the July 30 report that he was on the 2003 list.

Sabathia didn’t seem fazed by his first baserunner, retiring Mike Lowell on a flyout to center before J.D. Drew struck out to end the inning. He left after striking out Kotchman in the eighth, waving his cap to acknowledge the standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 48,796.

Sabathia allowed two hits, walked two and struck out nine, throwing 123 pitches. Phil Hughes got the last out of the eighth and David Robertson finished the four-hitter.

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