Ellsbury homers to save Red Sox's wild-card lead

September 25, 2011 - 11:55 PM
Red Sox Yankees Baseball

Boston Red Sox runner Dustin Pedroia, top, is tagged out by New York Yankees catcher Austin Romine, bottm right, as home plate umpire Ted Barrett looks on during the sixth inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Red Sox salvaged their AL wild-card lead Sunday when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-out, three-run homer in the 14th inning of the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader, lifting Boston over the New York Yankees 7-4.

The Red Sox rallied from 3-0 deficit to snap a three-game skid and head into their final series with a one-game lead over Tampa Bay.

Boston held a nine-game lead over the Rays entering play Sept. 4 but has gone 5-16 since then. Up by 1 1-2 games to start the day, the Red Sox nearly wasted that entire lead after losing the opener 6-2 despite Ellsbury's two homers. Combined with the Rays' 5-2 win over Toronto, the Red Sox went into the second game with a half-game lead.

Boston finishes in Baltimore, while Tampa Bay hosts the Yankees, who already have clinched the AL record and homefield advantage through the AL championship series.

Ellsbury homered off Scott Proctor (0-2) after a single and a walk.

Franklin Morales (1-1) pitched two innings for the win. Felix Doubront, recalled on Sept. 1 finished the 5-hour, 11-minute game for his first save since August 2010.

In the opener, A.J. Burnett made his most impressive start in nearly three months and Jorge Posada hit a two-run homer for the Yankees. Ellsbury connected twice to become the first player in Red Sox history to reach 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in a season.

Desperate for a win in the second game, Terry Francona used Jonathan Papelbon for a season-high 2 1-3 innings, bringing the closer in with the score tied on the road.