Yankees hit five HRs to back Nova

New York Yankees' Ivan Nova pitches in the New York Yankees' Ivan Nova pitches in the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston. (April 20, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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BOSTON -- After the pregame pomp and circumstance celebrating the building's centennial, it didn't take long for the gloominess that has surrounded the Red Sox to settle back in at Fenway Park.

Specifically, it was about the time second baseman Dustin Pedroia dropped Derek Jeter's pop fly -- to begin the game.

That led to an unearned run, and from there, the Yankees played long ball. They hit five solo home runs, two by Eric Chavez, and rode another strong performance by Ivan Nova to a 6-2 victory over the Red Sox in front of 36,770 Friday afternoon.

Nova (3-0) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings as he won his 15th consecutive regular-season decision dating to last June 10.

"If you ask me who's the best pitcher in the world, I would say me,'' Nova said with a big smile. "You have to believe that.''

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Nick Swisher, Alex Rodriguez and Russell Martin also homered, with A-Rod's fifth-inning blast off Boston starter Clay Buchholz (1-1) -- who allowed all five homers -- going completely over the Green Monster seats and landing on Lansdowne Street.

It was the 631st homer of his career and put Rodriguez in sole possession of fifth place on baseball's all-time list, breaking a tie with Ken Griffey Jr., whom A-Rod called a "friend and mentor.''

Next on the list is Willie Mays at 660. "It's very flattering and humbling when mentioned with some of these great names,'' said Rodriguez, who also had an RBI single in the first inning.

Friday's power surge gave the Yankees (8-6) nine homers in their last two games and 10 in their last 18 innings. Eight of them have been solo shots.

"I think that shows you what this lineup can do from top to bottom,'' Swisher said.

Swisher led off the second by hammering Buchholz's 2-and-2 pitch the opposite way into the Green Monster seats in left-center for his third homer of the season, making it 2-0.

Two batters later, Chavez -- getting the start at third base with A-Rod the designated hitter -- ripped into an 0-and-2 fastball that Buchholz left up and put it in the Red Sox bullpen for his first home run of the year, making it 3-0.

At that point, Fenway sounded as if it were observing a moment of silence, perhaps for the Red Sox season.

David Ortiz put some juice back in the building when he led off the bottom of the second with a home run to left-center that made it 3-1, but Chavez destroyed a 3-and-2 pitch in the fourth, sending it into the black in dead center to make it 4-1.

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"It's good for my own confidence,'' Chavez said. "I hit two home runs all of last year. To do that in a single game is definitely rewarding.''

A-Rod homered on Buchholz's first pitch of the fifth to make it 5-1, and only an overhanging advertisement prevented Martin's sixth-inning blast -- which broke an 0-for-16 streak -- from also leaving the park.

Boston got a run off Nova in the fifth when Cody Ross doubled and Mike Aviles lined a drive to right that Swisher lost in the sun for an RBI double.

The Yankees -- who along with the Red Sox wore uniforms modeled after those worn April 20, 1912, a day when the New York team then known as the Highlanders lost in 11 innings, 7-6 -- felt good about the afternoon, both because of the victory and the ceremony that preceded it.

"I know it's April, and when you're talking about games in April and May, they count as much as August and September,'' Rodriguez said. "Every game here, every win is a big win for us. A good win. A good team win.''

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Before the game, more than 200 former Red Sox personnel were introduced, including former manager Terry Francona, who got perhaps the loudest ovation.

The Yankees watched the nearly 45-minute presentation from the top step of their dugout.

"It was a great day,'' Joe Girardi said, adding that seeing Francona get "what he deserved'' was a highlight. "I'm really glad we were a part of it.''

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