NEW YORK -- After a game-tying homer in the top of the ninth, the Red Sox saw their hopes of a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees slip away when Brandon Workman's wild pitch sailed over the head of catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, enabling Ichiro Suzuki to score from third and handing the Yanks a 4-3 victory.
The Yanks, desperate to remain in the wild card hunt, used Mariano Rivera for the final six outs. That strategy backfired when Will Middlebrooks led off the top of the ninth with an opposite-field homer to right, tying the game at 3-3. For Middlebrooks, it was his 15th homer of the season and 30 in his first 154 games in the big leagues, counting last season.
But thanks to Workman, Rivera's blown save was balanced with a victory.
The loss broke the Red Sox' five-game winning streak.
New York had snapped a tie in the fifth. Chris Stewart hit a soft liner to left, and when Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells both reached on bloop singles just beyond the reach of shortstop Stephen Drew, the Yankees had the bases loaded.
Lester fanned Alfonso Soriano for the second out, but Robinson Cano lashed an opposite-field double to left, scoring two.
The Yankees had tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth when Alex Rodriuez singled with two out and Mark Reynolds hit a booming double to the warning track in center.
The Sox, as they had in two of the first three games of the series, scored first. Consecutive doubles by David Ortiz and Mike Carp produced a run off Kuroda in the top of the second.
STAR OF THE GAME: Robinson Cano
Cano remains the most dangerous hitter in the Yankee lineup. Sunday, he was 3-for-4, including the biggest hit of the afternoon -- a bases-loaded, opposite field double that scored two runs off Jon Lester in the fifth inning
HONORABLE MENTION: Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiro had two hits and scored two runs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth. In the ninth, he singled, stole second, moved to third on a flyout and was in position to trot home with the game-winner after a wild pitch
GOAT OF THE GAME: Brandon Workman
Workman has been slowly earning the Red Sox' trust in high-leverage relief situations, but on Sunday, his wild pitch with Alfonso Soriano at the plate allowed Suzuki to score from third, costing the Sox a game they had tied in the top of the inning.
TURNING POINT: In the two-run fifth, the Yankees hit three straight bloop singles -- the last two, just out of the reach of shortstop Stephen Drew -- setting the stage for Cano's two-run double.
BY THE NUMBERS: The loss was the first for the Red Sox on a walk-off wild pitch since 1997, when a wild pitch from Heathcliff Slocumb scored the White Sox' Ozzie Guillen.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "It just kind of got away from me. We were trying to work a little bit up in the zone on him and one got away, a little too high." -Brandon Workman on the wild pitch that cost the Red Sox the game.