BOSTON -- Joe Girardi didn't approach this series against the first-place Red Sox with the sense it could improve his club's standing in the chase for an AL wild card.
He set the bar higher.
"I believe we have a chance to get back in it," Girardi said of the AL East race Friday afternoon. "We believe we have a chance to get back in it. That's why we continue to try and improve our team and do those sorts of things."
Two of those moves contributed mightily to the Yankees' 10-3 victory over the Red Sox in front of 38,143 at Fenway Park.
Mark Reynolds, signed Thursday night, hit a two-run homer and Alfonso Soriano, brought aboard late last month, added a three-run shot to back Andy Pettitte (8-9).
Soriano went 3-for-4 and drove in four runs, giving him 18 RBIs in his last four games. He is 13-for-18 with five homers in that span. According to Elias, Soriano is one of six players to have 18 RBIs in a four-game stretch, joining Jim Bottomley, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Joe DiMaggio and Sammy Sosa.
He could have had 19, but third-base coach Rob Thomson held Brett Gardner at third on what could have been an RBI single by Soriano with the Yankees losing 8-1 in the ninth Thursday.
"You want to see him stay in it as long as possible,'' Girardi said. "He has the ability to change games."
Reynolds also had an impact on this one, going 2-for-5 with three RBIs.
The Yankees (63-58) still are 7½ games behind the Red Sox but have won five of six and six of eight. Their lineup, particularly against lefthanders, clearly is benefiting from the presence of Soriano and Alex Rodriguez, who, as expected, was booed loudly by the Fenway fans. He hit four balls hard and finished 2-for-4 with a walk, part of a 15-hit attack. "We're in playoff baseball,'' he said. "Every game means the world to us."
Pettitte, who hadn't won since July 11, had gone 2-6 with a 5.40 ERA in 11 starts since June 14. The 41-year-old allowed three runs -- none earned -- and six hits in 62/3 innings.
Said Pettitte, who thought his cutter and changeup were especially good: "It was one of those nights where everything was working. It was a great win for us."
Pettitte said of the revitalized lineup: "You feel good, there's no doubt about it. You can see it. The energy's in the dugout when you get guys hot like some of the guys are now. You feel good about yourself . . . It's a good thing right now and we needed it and we need to continue to do it. Hopefully we can continue to swing the bats the way we are and guys can feel good about themselves and we can, as a staff, continue to throw the ball well, and hopefully we can reel off a whole lot of wins here over the next 40 games."
Pettitte was given an early lead against Felix Doubront (8-6), who allowed seven runs (six earned), eight hits and two walks in four innings.
Gardner singled to right on Doubront's second pitch and later stole third before scoring on Soriano's infield single.
One out after Vernon Wells walked to start the second, Reynolds hammered Doubront's 0-and-2 pitch over the Green Monster for his 16th homer of the season -- but first in 68 at-bats -- and a 3-0 lead. Reynolds became the 14th Yankee since 1961 to homer in his first plate appearance with the team.
Pettitte, who had allowed at least one first-inning run in each of his previous eight starts, provided a 1-2-3, 13-pitch shutdown bottom of the first.
With men on first and second and none out in the third, Soriano hit a 1-and-1 pitch over the Green Monster in left-center for a 6-0 lead. It was his eighth homer since joining the Yankees July 26 and 25th of the season.
Eduardo Nuñez tripled with two outs in the fourth and scored on Robinson Cano's single to make it 7-0. RBI singles by Ichiro Suzuki, Reynolds and Chris Stewart made it 10-3 in the ninth.
The Red Sox put together seven of their 10 hits, two walks and an error in the seventh, eighth and ninth but scored only two runs as two runners were erased on the bases. David Ortiz was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double in the seventh and lined into a double play in the eighth, with Shane Victorino caught off second by Rodriguez.