NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez broke up an electric pitchers' duel in the 15th inning with his first homer in three weeks, giving the New York Yankees a 2-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.
A day after the Yankees bashed Boston and John Smoltz 13-6 in a game that ended testily, A.J. Burnett of the Yankees and Josh Beckett set the tone in a game that once it entered the 15th became the longest scoreless matchup between the longtime rivals.
Burnett allowed a leadoff single in the 5-hour, 33-minute game and five relievers finished the four-hitter in the first Boston-New York game to go into extra innings scoreless since 1976
Derek Jeter singled to lead off the 15th off Junichi Tazawa (0-1), who was signed out of a Japanese industrial league and called up Friday after the Red Sox released Smoltz. After two outs, Rodriguez lined a shot into the bullpen in left-center giving New York its 10th walkoff win of the season.
It was Rodriguez's first homer since July 19, his season worst homerless drought of 72 at-bats.
The Yankees' fifth straight win touched off a raucous celebration on the field and in the stands as many of the 48,262 fans at the new ballpark remained as a tense game breezed past midnight, ending at 12:42 a.m.
Phil Coke (3-3) pitched the 15th inning for the win that gave New York a 4-game lead over Boston in the AL East.
The Red Sox gave the crowd a scare in the 14th when Victor Martinez hit a high-arcing drive that Eric Hinske caught just in front of the wall in right field, eliciting a collective sigh from the crowd. One batter later, Kevin Youkilis lined a single to left for the first hit since the 10th inning, touching off a modest "Let's Go Red Sox!" chant.
Former Florida Marlins teammates Burnett and Beckett matched zeros, each refusing to bend to All-Star lineups.
On his third try against Boston — matching up against Beckett each time — since signing an $82.5 million, five-year free-agent deal, Burnett finally proved his value against the Yankees' chief rivals. He gave up 11 runs in his first two starts against them. Burnett walked six but struck out six 7 2-3 innings. Beckett gave up four hits and struck out seven in seven innings.
Beckett has been a stabilizing ace in a Boston rotation missing Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield to injuries and is now without Smoltz, who was designated for assignment earlier Friday. He walked two and threw 115 pitches, and played cheerleader from the top step of the dugout right to the end.
Jeter came through after going hitless in his first six at-bats and failing in three opportunities with runners on third — twice against Beckett. Boston's Dustin Pedroia lazily flied out three times with runners on base and Martinez was 0 for 6.
NOTES: The Red Sox also designated LHP Billy Traber for assignment and claimed infielder Chris Woodward off waivers from Seattle. ... Rodriguez was 1 for 6 before the homer.