By Sean McAdam
NEW YORK -- It took almost exactly one-quarter of their season, but, finally, the Red Sox are at .500.
Digging out from their 2-10 start, the Red Sox edged the New York Yankees, 7-5, Sunday night for a sweep of their three-game series and a 20-20 record. Boston is 5-1 against the Yankees this season.
The Red Sox got a three-run homer from Kevin Youkilis to tie the game at 4-4, then used solo homers from David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to go ahead. A costly error by Alex Rodriguez in the seventh also led to a run.
Jon Lester walked four and gave up two homers, but settled down after the first two innings and limited to just one singles over his final four innings, improving to 5-1.
Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon combined for the final three relief innings. The Yankees managed an unearned run off Aceves in the seventh on an error by Carl Crawford, but Bard fanned Nick Swisher with two on and two out to turn back the Yanks' best chance.
The sweep of the Yankees was just the third in Yankee Stadium for the Red Sox in the last 25 years.
Player of the Game: Kevin Youkilis
Youkilis had two hits, but the big one was a three-run homer off Freddy Garcia in the third inning that allowed the Red Sox to erase what had been a 4-1 Yankee lead.
Garcia had his way with Youkilis in two other at-bats, striking him out in the second and again in the fifth. But when Youkilis connected, it was the biggest hit of the game.
Honorable Mention: David Ortiz
The American League Player of the Month for May in 2010 is unlikely to win the honors again, given how hot teammate Adrian Gonzalez has been, to say nothing of Toronto's Jose Bautista.
But he's still having a big month and on Sunday night he added three hits -- a single in the second, a double in the third and a solo homer in the fifth.
The Goat: Alex Rodriguez
In addition to going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in his first three at-bats -- he later added a double -- Rodriguez made a critical error that led to an important insurance run for the Red Sox.
Turning Point: A-Rod's gaffe
The Sox had runners at first and second and one out when Kevin Youkilis hit a grounder to Alex Rodriguez at third.
It seemed like Rodriguez might be able to step on third for a force-out and go to second for an inning-ending double play.
Instead, Rodriguez allowed the ball to go under his glove and Dustin Pedroia rounded third to score the sixth run for the Red Sox.
By the Numbers: 9-4
After starting the season 0-7 on the road, the Red Sox are 9-4 in their last 13 games away from Fenway.
Quote of Note:
"We've come a long way since 0-6, but we've still got a lot of work to do.'' -- Kevin Youkilis on reaching .500.''