BOSTON (AP) — Clay Buchholz pitched six innings of two-hit ball to improve to 11-0 and Daniel Nava had four hits to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 9-2 victory over New York on Sunday night and eliminate the Yankees from the AL East race.
Boston leads second-place Tampa Bay by 9½ games with a magic number of four to clinch its second division title since 1995. The Yankees trail the Rays and Texas Rangers by three in the wild-card standings, with Cleveland and Baltimore also ahead of them in the race.
The Yankees had won the last two division titles and 13 of the last 17.
In his second start since coming off the disabled list, Buchholz walked four and struck out three and allowed only one unearned run.
Shortly after a pregame ceremony to honor Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in his last scheduled trip to Fenway Park, Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer off Ivan Nova (8-5) to make it 3-1 in the first inning.
The Red Sox scored another in the fourth on a double steal and chased Nova in the fifth, making it 5-1 when he hit Mike Carp with the bases loaded and nobody out. In all, Nova allowed five runs — four earned — on six hits and four walks and a hit batter, striking out two in four-plus innings.
Boston added two more in the sixth and two in the seventh to win for the 10th time in 12 games and 17 of their last 21. They have beaten the rival Yankees six times in seven games over 11 days.
Buchholz gave up four walks and an unearned run while striking out three. Since coming off the DL, where he spent more than three months with a strained neck, he has allowed five hits and zero earned runs in 11 innings to lower his ERA to 1.51.
He is the first Red Sox pitcher to win his first 11 decisions since Roger Clemens started 14-0 in 1986.
NOTES: Napoli was ejected by home plate umpire Ron Kulpa for arguing a called third strike in the sixth inning. It was the first ejection of Napoli’s career. The strikeout, his second of the game and 178th of the season, broke Mark Bellhorn’s franchise record for a season. ... The Red Sox are the first team to beat the Yankees 13 times in a season since the Baltimore Orioles went 13-5 against them in 1976. ... Yankees RHP Jim Miller, who was outrighted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday, accepted the assignment on Sunday. ... New York OF Alfonso Soriano was back in lineup after missing one game with a sprained right thumb and being scratched from Saturday’s game.