Jacoby Ellsbury doubled, tripled, drove in two runs and made a sliding catch in his return to Fenway Park, helping the New York Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka beat the Boston Red Sox 9-3 on Tuesday night.
Ellsbury received a mixed reception in his first game as a visitor after seven seasons with the Red Sox before signing a $153 million, seven-year contract with the Yankees.
Tanaka (3-0) allowed two runs on seven hits in 7 1-3 innings with seven strikeouts and no walks. His 35 strikeouts in his first four major league starts set a team record and he’s walked just two batters in 29 1-3 innings.
Jon Lester (2-3) struggled after four outstanding outings, allowing seven runs in 4 2-3 innings.
There were more boos than cheers from the crowd that contained a sizeable amount of Yankees fans when Ellsbury stepped in as the first batter of the game.
With an 0-2 count, he drove the ball about five feet from the top of the center field wall. It was ruled a triple after a spectator reached out and interfered with it. Ellsbury scored on a single by Derek Jeter, starting the Yankees toward their seventh win in nine games.
Jeter took second on a passed ball and kept going to third when catcher A.J. Pierzynski threw wildly into center field. Carlos Beltran singled in Jeter, making it 2-0 before an out was recorded.
The Yankees added two runs in the third, again before making an out, on consecutive doubles by Alfonso Soriano, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann.
The Red Sox cut the lead to 4-2 on back-to-back homers by David Ortiz, his fourth of the season, and Mike Napoli, his fifth, ending Tanaka’s scoreless streak at 16 1-3 innings.
Lester had his only good inning in the fourth when he retired the side in order. He nearly escaped a jam in the fifth before an error by first baseman Napoli led to four unearned runs and an 8-2 Yankees lead.
Teixeira walked and took second on a McCann’s single. Lester struck out the next two batters then got Brian Roberts to hit a liner to Napoli. But the ball went off his glove and into right field, allowing Teixeira to score. Ellsbury then doubled in two runs. That was all for Lester as Chris Capuano came in and gave up Jeter’s RBI single.
The Yankees made it 9-2 in the eighth on Beltran’s fifth homer. It came off Edward Mujica, his teammate last season when the St. Louis Cardinals went to the World Series but lost in six games to Boston.
Xander Bogaerts doubled in a run for the Red Sox in the ninth.
NOTES: Jeter has hit in 11 straight games and reached base in all 15 games he’s played. … Lester allowed runs in the first inning for the first time in 14 regular-season starts. … Ortiz needs one more game to tie Harold Baines for the most as a designated hitter with 1,643. … Shabazz Napier of the NCAA champion Connecticut men’s basketball team threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Teammates stood behind him as he threw to catcher David Ross after being handed the ball by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy. Napier is a Boston native. … Michael Pineda (2-1) pitches for New York in Wednesday night’s second game of the three-game series against John Lackey (2-2).