BOSTON — CC Sabathia against Josh Beckett loomed as a low-scoring duel between two of baseball's best pitchers.
Neither lived up to the hype, especially Beckett.
The Boston Red Sox ace gave up a homer to Derek Jeter on the first pitch of the game, served up four more fence-clearing hits and lost to the New York Yankees 8-4 Sunday night.
Sabathia became baseball's first 15-game winner despite allowing three earned runs in 6 2-3 innings, matching his total for his three previous starts.
"Beckett is a great pitcher, but this lineup is unbelievable," he said. "I've had confidence in this offense all year and I just felt like I don't have to go out and try to do too much to win games."
Sabathia (15-7) allowed two runs in the second inning, one in the fourth and one in the sixth. But Beckett gave up runs in each of the first five innings, then settled down before Hideki Matsui hit his second homer of the game and 23rd of the season in the eighth.
Beckett (14-5) allowed eight runs on nine hits after yielding seven runs in his previous start.
"It's frustrating," he said. "You can't give up seven runs every time you go out there. You're not going to be here very long if you do that."
The Yankees' 16th win in 20 games increased their AL East lead over the Red Sox to 7 1/2 games.
"We're running out of time" to win the division, although the Red Sox lead the wild-card race, Jason Bay said. "You've got to be realistic, but, at the same time, your goal is to get into the playoffs and whatever way you do that, at least you're in."
Robinson Cano hit his 19th homer, a solo shot in the fourth, and Alex Rodriguez got his 22nd, a two-run drive in the fifth that made it 7-3.
"We got pitches to hit and we hit them," Jeter said. "It's not really more complicated than that."
The Yankees won their 10th series in the 11 they've played since the All-Star break – they won 20-11 Friday night and lost 14-1 Saturday – and wrapped up a 7-3 road trip.
"I felt like the concentration level on the team was different" against Beckett, Matsui said through a translator. "Whatever pitches he left in the zone we were able to hit."
Jeter's homer was the 2,700th hit of his career and he added a single in the third. Lou Gehrig, with 2,721, is the only player in Yankees history with more hits. The homer was Jeter's second of the season leading off the Yankees' first inning and tied Alfonso Soriano for second in team history with 21. Rickey Henderson leads with 24.
New York is 6-1 against Boston since losing the first eight matchups of the season, six of them at Fenway Park.
"We weren't worried about what happened here" earlier, Jeter said. "We're playing much better now. You have to have a short memory."
Rangers 4, Rays 0
In St. Petersburg, Fla., Scott Feldman struck out a career-high 11 to win his fifth consecutive road start and Texas avoided a three-game sweep by beating Tampa Bay.
Michael Young and Ivan Rodriguez each drove in two runs.
Feldman (13-4) is the first Texas pitcher with victories in five straight starts away from home since Rick Helling accomplished the feat in 1998. The right-hander, 9-1 this season on the road, allowed four hits in seven scoreless innings.
David Price (6-6) gave up three runs and three hits in seven innings. The left-hander had won five starts in a row at home.
Blue Jays 8, Angels 3
In Toronto, Ricky Romero won for the first time in four starts, Travis Snider hit a solo homer and Toronto beat Los Angeles.
Snider went 3 for 3 with a walk as the Blue Jays earned a split in their eight-game season series with the Angels.
The AL West-leading Angels have lost three of four following a five-game winning streak and are 10-18 in Toronto since the start of the 2003 season.
Romero (11-5) moved into a tie with Tampa Bay's Jeff Niemann for the AL rookie lead in wins by allowing two runs and eight hits in six innings.
Athletics 9, Tigers 4
In Oakland, Calif., Jack Cust hit two homers and drove in four runs, Landon Powell added a three-run shot and Oakland beat Detroit.
Brett Tomko (3-2) allowed three hits in six innings, striking out eight. He's won both his starts for the Athletics after appearing in 15 games with the Yankees. Cliff Pennington also homered for the A's.
Miguel Cabrera had three hits, including his 200th home run, and drove in two as the Tigers lost their second straight. Curtis Granderson hit a leadoff homer and Marcus Thames added a pinch-hit RBI single.
Rick Porcello (10-8) yielded five runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Orioles 5, White Sox 4
In Chicago, Brian Roberts had three hits and Nolan Reimold hit a two-run homer to help Baltimore beat Mark Buehrle.
Jason Berken (3-11) won for the second time since May 26. The rookie right-hander allowed three runs, two earned, and five hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Buehrle (11-7) yielded five runs and 11 hits in 5 1-3 innings. He is 0-4 with a 6.22 ERA in six starts since his perfect game against the Rays on July 23.
Twins 10, Royals 3
In Kansas City, Mo., Michael Cuddyer homered twice in Minnesota's eight-run seventh inning and Denard Span added a three-run triple, helping the Twins break open a close game against Kansas City.
A pitching duel between Twins starter Carl Pavano (11-9) and Royals right-hander Brian Bannister (7-10) got messy in a hurry in the seventh, when Cuddyer hit the first pitch for a homer, then added a two-run shot that put Minnesota up 9-1.
Playing his sixth straight game at first base in place of Justin Morneau (ear infection), Cuddyer became the first Twins player to hit two homers in an inning and the first in the majors since Boston's David Ortiz did it against Texas last August.
Indians 6, Mariners 1
In Cleveland, Fausto Carmona pitched seven innings for his first win in more than three months and Cleveland beat Felix Hernandez (12-5).
Jhonny Peralta homered and drove in two runs.
Carmona (3-8) gave up Ken Griffey Jr.'s 624th homer, but otherwise was in command while winning for the first time in nine starts since beating Tampa Bay on May 14. He allowed five hits, walked one and had a season-high eight strikeouts.