Manager Joe Girardi was ejected and raised suspicions of sign-stealing as the Red Sox defeated the Yankees on Monday, 6-4, in a soggy first meeting between the classic rivals at the new Yankee Stadium.
Jon Lester struck out a career-high 10 and both Mike Lowell and Jason Bay homered to lead Boston, which chased starter Phil Hughes early and overcame a two-homer performance from Mark Teixeira to win for the fourth time in four meetings with New York this season.
"It's frustrating," Girardi said. "We've felt that we've had a chance to win three out of those [four] games, and we haven't been able to do it. We've got to find a way to win."
After a rain delay of two hours and 17 minutes, Girardi was forced to watch the latter half of the game on clubhouse television, having been tossed by home-plate umpire Jerry Meals for arguing a called third strike on Derek Jeter in the fifth inning.
Meals' strike zone was a point of criticism all night for Girardi, who believed that Hughes had not been given numerous close pitches as he allowed four runs in four uneconomical innings. Jeter's at-bat just proved to be the tipping point.
"You're in a no-win situation -- you can't talk about the umpires," Jeter said. "Sometimes you're going to agree with them, sometimes you're not. I didn't agree with some of the pitches, but you really can't say much."
That same advice didn't apply to Red Sox first-base coach Tim Bogar, who was confronted by Girardi in the fourth inning while Kevin Youkilis was batting. Neither Bogar nor Girardi would reveal what was said, though it appeared that Girardi was concerned about Boston's attempt to steal signs or locations.
"I'm not going to comment on that," Girardi said. "That's baseball men being baseball men. It's something I thought I saw, and we'll just leave it at that."
"Honestly, I was standing there and I heard him say something, and I turned around and answered what he had to say to me," Bogar said. "That's between me and him. It's a baseball thing -- heat of the moment or whatever it was. He just had something to say, and I answered him back."
Yankees catcher Jose Molina said that he thought Hughes' outing might have been a little different if some of the strike calls had gone the other way but that he knew nothing of the allegations of sign-stealing.
"If [Bogar] was doing it, I think that's wrong," Molina said. "But that's part of the game, too. Probably next time I'd hide it more, because I think it's my responsibility to hide the signs."
Whatever the reason, Boston jumped ahead in the first, as Dustin Pedroia walked and moved to third on David Ortiz's double to right before scoring on a passed ball. Lowell led off the second inning with a homer to left, his seventh, and added a run-scoring single to drive home J.D. Drew in the third.
Ortiz finished the damage against Hughes in the fourth with an RBI double, as the right-hander allowed seven hits in the 94-pitch outing, which included 57 strikes.
"You want to get those pitchers' pitches sometimes, and when you consistently have to make hitters' pitches, it makes it a little bit tougher," Hughes said. "It seemed like I was down in the count and had to throw strikes that were too good. They jumped on a few of them."
Hughes walked four and struck out two, turning in his second appearance since being promoted from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace Chien-Ming Wang in New York's rotation. He said that the strike zone should not have been as large an issue as he may have made it appear.
"Not as much as maybe I was reacting to," Hughes said. "[Meals] was pretty consistent, and I was just missing by a little bit. Whenever you get yourself into bad counts, they're going to hurt you."
Lester was sharp despite the delay, blanking the Yankees through the first four frames. After Girardi's ejection, Johnny Damon followed by sending a two-run homer into the second deck in right field, his fifth, and Teixeira connected on the next pitch for a solo shot to left-center field, his fourth.
Recalled from Triple-A earlier in the afternoon, Alfredo Aceves relieved Hughes and turned in two scoreless innings until Bay cracked a two-run home run off the left-field foul pole in the seventh inning, his sixth of the season. Aceves scattered four hits in 4 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out seven.
"He threw the ball good," Girardi said. "It's a lot of what we saw last year from him when he came up in late August and September. He's a guy who can mix a lot of pitches."
Teixeira greeted Ramon Ramirez with his second homer of the evening leading off the eighth, breaking out of a 2-for-30 skid. Teixeira said that he hoped the two-homer performance would help to get him right.
"I didn't miss those pitches," Teixeira said. "I've been missing pitches to hit, just off the end or popping them up. Luckily, I got two pitches to hit, and I hit them."
But the Red Sox summoned closer Jonathan Papelbon to lock down a five-out save opportunity, and he struck out Robinson Cano with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to end the game.
"The bottom line is that they've beaten us," Jeter said. "We've got to find ways to get it done. We didn't get it done today. We made it a game coming back, but they pitched well. It seems like Lester always pitches good against us, and their bullpen did a good job."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.