BOSTON (AP) -- Derek Jeter hit the first pitch of the game for one of New York's five homers off Josh Beckett, CC Sabathia became the majors' first 15-game winner, and the Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 8-4 Sunday night.
The expected pitchers duel between the AL's only 14-game winners never materialized, as the Yankees scored in each of the first five innings and the Red Sox had four runs off Sabathia before he left with two outs in the seventh.
The aces of their pitching staffs figured to shut down streaking offenses that produced a 20-11 win by New York and a 14-1 rout by Boston in the first two games of the series. That prospect faded early when the score was tied at 2 after two innings.
Sabathia (15-7) won his fifth straight start but gave up three earned runs. He had allowed a total of three runs in his previous three starts. But he had excellent control with eight strikeouts and no walks.
Beckett (14-5) was hurt by the long ball for the third straight game, allowing a career-high five homers. He's given up 10 in those three games, the same amount he allowed in his other 22. He lasted eight innings but gave up eight runs on nine hits while striking out five and walking none. He allowed seven runs in his previous start.
The Yankees improved to 16-4 in their last 20 games and won their 10th series out of 11 since the All-Star break. They lead the second-place Red Sox by 7 1/2 games in the AL East.
Jeter's 16th homer was his 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 for the Yankees.
Beckett's first pitch in the second inning also cleared the fence as Matsui hit his first homer of the game.
The Red Sox tied it in the bottom half on an RBI single by Rocco Baldelli and a run-scoring double by Jason Varitek.
The Yankees made it 4-2 in the third on Mark Teixeira's RBI single and Rodriguez's run-scoring groundout. Cano hit his 19th homer, a solo shot in the fourth that tied his career high, and Rodriguez hit his 22nd, a two-run drive, in the fifth that made it 7-3.
The Red Sox had scored a run in the fourth when Varitek's popup bounced off Cano's left arm as the second baseman overran the ball. That allowed Jason Bay, who had singled, to score. Baldelli's sacrifice fly in the sixth made it 7-4.
Beckett settled down after Rodriguez's homer and retired nine straight batters before Matsui hit his 23rd with two outs in the eighth.