BOSTON (AP) — CC Sabathia hardly looks like an ace against the Boston Red Sox.
For the fourth time this season, Sabathia was knocked around by the Red Sox as the New York Yankees fell 10-4 on Saturday, dropping into a first-place tie with Boston atop the AL East.
"I believe CC will turn it around, I do," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said when asked about the left-hander's struggles against the Yankees' top rival.
Jacoby Ellsbury had a three-run homer with a career-high six RBIs as the Red Sox snapped New York's season-high eight-game winning streak.
"He's human," Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson said of Sabathia. "That's part of it. He doesn't have an ERA of zero. He'll move on from it. We'll move on from it."
Sabathia (16-6) leads the majors in wins, and his 2.55 ERA coming into the game was tied for fifth. But he fell to 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA against Boston this year after allowing seven runs in six innings, giving up nine hits and a walk and striking out six.
In all of his other starts this season, the big lefty is 16-2 with a 2.11 ERA.
Asked if he felt it would bother him if the teams meet in the postseason, he paused, smiled briefly and said: "No. Like I said, when I'm right I can beat anybody."
Boston broke it open with a five-run fourth that was capped by Ellsbury's homer.
"It was just another missed location," said Sabathia, who blamed his poor command for his bad outing.
In the series finale on Sunday night, Freddy Garcia (10-7), who has had a pair of bad performances in his only two starts against the Red Sox this season, faces Josh Beckett.
"They've hit him pretty good," Girardi said. "Freddy's been pretty consistent. Those are his starts that weren't."
Garcia, 0-2 against the Red Sox, has given up nine runs in eight innings.
Carl Crawford had four hits — giving him hits in six straight plate appearances — and scored three runs to help Boston improve to 69-42 — the same as the Yankees — one day after falling out of first for the first time in almost a month.
John Lackey (10-8) scattered six hits over six innings for the Red Sox, who are 9-2 against New York this season and have clinched at least a tie in the season series.
Lackey allowed three runs — he also walked two and hit two batters — while striking out five to win his fifth consecutive decision.
It was 2-all when Kevin Youkilis doubled to lead off the fourth and, after David Ortiz struck out, Mike Aviles singled home one run. Crawford singled and, one out later, Marco Scutaro singled in another run before Ellsbury hit a high fly that landed in the first row of the right-field seats next to the 380-foot marker.
The Yankees cut it to 7-4 on Mark Teixeira's solo homer off Daniel Bard in the eighth.
But Boston loaded the bases against Hector Noesi in the bottom half before Ellsbury hit a two-run single and Dustin Pedroia added a sacrifice fly to make it 10-4.
Noesi got out of the inning when Adrian Gonzalez's line drive hit off his right shoulder, and the ball ricocheted toward first base, where Teixeira picked it up and tagged the base for the out.
Francisco Cervelli had three hits for the Yankees, including a leadoff double against Dan Wheeler in the ninth. With two on, Teixeira lined the ball down the right-field line, just foul of the Pesky Pole.
He flied out to center to end the game.
NOTES: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez took batting practice in Florida, continuing his recovery from right knee surgery. The Yankees expect him to rejoin the team in mid-August. ... Aviles, who came to the Red Sox from Kansas City at the trade deadline, made his first pro appearance in the outfield. ... The game was delayed briefly when a beer vendor's tray spilled over the wall near the Yankees dugout, scattering cans on the dirt. ... Curtis Granderson scored his major league-leading 100th run in the fourth. ... Beckett is 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA against the Yankees this year.