NEW YORK — At least THOSE questions will finally end.
With the Yankee Stadium crowd as "fired up" as Joe Girardi predicted it would be, the Yankees eliminated what had been an annoying, season-long goose egg, beating the Red Sox for the first time in a 13-6 blowout Thursday night.
"I think we're going to be asked about that goose egg as long as it's there, so you want to get it out of the way as soon as possible," Girardi said before Wednesday night's game in Toronto.
The Yankees overcame an erratic start by Joba Chamberlain to do it, instead riding an 18-hit attack that bludgeoned John Smoltz for 3 1/3 innings and Billy Traber after that.
The Yankees, who increased their lead over the Red Sox to 3 games, matching a season high, hit four home runs. Two came in the pivotal fourth inning in which the Yankees batted around, scoring eight runs and sending 13 men to the plate.
The inning took almost all of the drama from the 3-hour, 52-minute marathon, with the only excitement late coming in the eighth when Mark Melancon hit Dustin Pedroia, who homered in the third. Pedroia yelled several expletives at Melancon, Terry Francona got upset and plate umpire Derryl Cousins warned both benches.
It will be one of many storylines to follow as this four-game series continues Friday night.
The Yankees entered the fourth trailing 3-1 after the Red Sox scored two in the top of the inning on Casey Kotchman's first home run in a Boston uniform. But the Yankees exploded for seven hits to take a 9-3 lead.
Jorge Posada's confounding baserunning blunder two innings earlier would have received much more attention had the Yankees lost. Posada inexplicably chose not to slide in the second inning on Nick Swisher's single up the middle and was tagged out at home.
Posada began to redeem himself by starting the eight-run eruption with a double. This time he scored easily on Robinson Cano's single, cutting the Yankees' deficit to 3-2. The Yankees' first run came in the third when Johnny Damon homered for the third straight game.
After Swisher walked, Melky Cabrera blasted a three-run homer to right to give the Yankees the lead for good at 5-3.
But they were far from done in the inning, which would last 34 minutes. Posada added a three-run homer his second time up, off Traber.
Smoltz gave up nine hits and eight runs, and Traber wasn't much better, allowing nine hits and five runs in 3 2/3 innings.
Chamberlain (8-2) got the win, though he turned in his worst outing since the All-Star break, never throwing a clean inning in his five frames. He walked a career-high seven and allowed four runs and six hits.
Chamberlain walked a batter in every inning but the fourth. He walked three in the fifth but somehow escaped by giving up just one run. Dave Robertson, Phil Coke, Melancon and Anthony Claggett held the Red Sox in check after Chamberlain left.