NEW YORK — When the bright lights come on, Josh Beckett knows how to respond.
Beckett shut down the skidding New York Yankees for the second time this season and Adrian Gonzalez homered for the fourth consecutive game, sending the Boston Red Sox to a 6-0 victory Saturday on a bizarre night in the Bronx.
“That’s probably the best cutter I’ve seen him have in a while. Changeup — he used all his pitches,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “We have a lot of confidence in him. We always have. He worked hard and said last year he was going to come back with a vengeance, and I think he has.”
The night took a strange turn when longtime star Jorge Posada asked to be taken out of the New York lineup after the slumping designated hitter was dropped to No. 9 in the batting order.
Posada, hitting .165 this season, was in the original lineup posted by manager Joe Girardi, who was ejected in the seventh inning by plate umpire Mike Winters following Gonzalez’s three-run shot. But Posada went into Girardi’s office at 6 p.m. and requested that he be removed.
During the game, Posada’s wife tweeted that he had a stiff back, and the five-time All-Star said afterward that indeed, his back got stiff, and he needed a night off to clear his head.
“It’s hard when you get older in this game,” Girardi said. “I just sense that he was frustrated.”
But a person familiar with the discussion between Posada and the team told The Associated Press that he “refused” to play. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the situation was still not settled.
The person said the Yankees have been in contact with the commissioner’s office about possible recourse. The Yankees could fine Posada one day’s pay — that would be $71,978 of his $13.1 million salary. If a player declines to play two days in a row, he could be put on the restricted list.
“Want me to tell you what I think? (The Yankees are) doing that guy wrong,” Boston slugger David Ortiz said. “You know why? Because that guy is legendary.”
Andruw Jones took over at DH, and Posada was on the Yankees bench during the game, wearing a cap and sweat shirt.
His teammates weren’t much more productive, managing only four singles and two walks against Beckett (3-1) while dropping their fourth straight. It is New York’s longest skid since losing four in a row Sept. 22-25.
The Yankees, who have dropped eight of 11 overall, fell to 1-4 against their longtime rivals this year.
“We’re just in a rut. There’s really no reason to overanalyze it or hang our heads too much,” Mark Teixeira said.
Beckett struck out nine in six innings to win another marquee matchup with CC Sabathia (3-3). Last month at Fenway Park, also on national television, the righthander struck out 10 while yielding just two singles and a walk in eight dominant innings for a 4-0 win over Sabathia and the Yankees.
Beckett faced the Yankees five times last year, going 1-2 with a 10.04 ERA.
“He was pretty on today. It was going to be pretty tough to scratch any runs across the board against him,” Teixeira said.
Beckett gave up singles to his first two batters, then set down Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano in order — two on strikeouts.
Beckett escaped more trouble in the third and fifth, then handed a 6-0 lead to the bullpen. Matt Albers and Rich Hill completed the seven-hitter.
“I just had to make pitches when I did,” Beckett said.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run double in the fifth and Jason Varitek added an RBI single in the seventh. Gonzalez chased Sabathia with a drive to right-center, his fifth homer in four games.
“He amazes me,” Francona said. “He’s really good, he’s intelligent and he knows what he’s doing.”
It also was Gonzalez’s first extra-base hit in 51 at-bats against left-handed pitchers this season, his first with Boston.
NOTES: Teixeira was hitless in 30 straight at-bats against Boston dating to last year before an eighth-inning single, according to STATS LLC. … The sellout crowd of 48,790 was New York’s largest of the season. … New York has lost consecutive series at home for the second time at the new Yankee Stadium. The other time was May 2009, against Boston and Tampa Bay. … Yankees RHP Carlos Silva allowed one run, three hits and struck out six in his first start at Double-A Trenton. He was released by the Chicago Cubs during spring training and agreed to a minor league contract with New York on April 9. … With strong career numbers against Sabathia, Mike Cameron started in RF for Boston, giving J.D. Drew a rest.
AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum and AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker contributed to this report.