And then they headed here, to Yankee Stadium, for a two-day whipping. The Yankees clobbered the visitors 11-1 yesterday in front of 55,141 fans, one day after laying a 14-4 beating on them. The two wins in the three-game series extended New York's first-place lead over the Red Sox to 4 1/2 games.
Gary Sheffield in the first, Derek Jeter in the third and Jorge Posada in sixth, all homered for the Yanks against righty Pedro Martinez.
We're guessing the most satisfying for the Yanks was the Posada homer.
A year ago, Posada barked from the dugout at Martinez, who hit Karim Garcia with a pitch in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park.
Martinez pointed to his head and later explained that he meant: "I'm going to remember that."
Most baseball people took it to mean: "I'm going to stick one in your ear."
In 2003, Martinez taunted Posada for having big ears.
"I thought it was a foul ball," Posada said of yesterday's blast, which nestled inside the left-field foul pole.
"Pedro keeps getting tougher and tougher. He changes speeds. If you want to beat him, you have to get him early. You try to stay close until the fifth or sixth and then score off the bullpen."
The Yanks were up 5-0 after the Posada homer and then Martinez unravelled. A four-pitch walk to John Olerud, a double to Ruben Sierra and a two-run single to Miguel Cairo.
Goodbye, and get some warm water.
Martinez allowed eight runs and eight hits in five-plus innings, the most he has allowed since July 21 against the Baltimore Orioles.
With the Yanks cruising 7-0, Jeter greeted reliever Mike Timlin with a perfect bunt down the third-base line, which is as about as in-your-face as the Yanks ever get. Despite yelling at Jeter, Timlin claimed he wasn't angry at the bunt.
"Heck no, he was just trying to get on base," Timlin said. "I had to rag him because he made me look bad. You can't bunt like that. You gotta swing. But I don't hold grudges. That's all it was, no more, no less. It was all good-natured."
Jeter, who had a good day both in the field and at the plate, said he didn't think Timlin was serious.
"Timlin was joking,'' Jeter said. "He wasn't barking. It was the sixth and no lead is safe. They have guys who can swing the bats."
From the devastation of Friday's heart-breaking loss, the Yanks rebounded with two lopsided victories.
"Standing here now after we lost the first game, this is a pretty big deal," said yesterday's Yankees starter, Mike Mussina, who worked seven innings and allowed one run.
"If we get to the playoffs, believe me, we aren't going to be the ones who are scared,'' he said of a potential post-season matchup with the Sox. "I'm not saying anybody will be, but we will not be scared.
The teams hook up again next weekend in Boston. The impact of the Yanks taking two of three?
"Oh gosh, we're going to go home, bury our heads in sand and never come out again," Timlin said with a laugh. "We're not knocked out of the race, off a cliff, nothing. We lost two games."