BOSTON (AP) – Trot Nixon chugged around the bases for an easy inside-the-park homer as center fielder Melky Cabrera chased the ball to the wall.

There was no way the New York Yankees were going to catch the Boston Red Sox, either.

Boston beat New York 17-1 for the second time this season, pounding two pitching newcomers Friday night and getting seven strong innings from former Yankee David Wells.

“You’ve got to get outs, regardless, no matter how big the lead is,” said Wells (7-5). “Especially with a team that can come back and put a 10-spot on you.”

It was the Red Sox who reached double figures, and they did it after just four innings with a 12-1 lead. They led 3-0 after one inning – two scoring on Nixon’s double – against Tim Redding (0-1), then added two runs in the second before Nixon hit a low liner to center that tipped off Cabrera’s glove as he was charging in and rolled to the wall.

Nixon thought the ball would be caught but “it must have been knuckling out there,” he said. Shortstop Derek Jeter didn’t even bother to throw home after taking the relay.

“Once I saw the ball get by (Cabrera) and I got to second, I don’t think I took a breath til I got to home,” Nixon said. “It was like a tractor pull out there from second to home. I felt like passing the baton onto Dale (third base coach Sveum).

Cabrera was an outstanding defensive player in the minors but has struggled since he was promoted from Triple-A Columbus on July 7.

“That ball took off on him,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “We know he’s much better than what we’ve been seeing so far.”

Nixon’s three-run homer, his 11th of the season and first inside-the-park shot of his career, made it 8-0. David Ortiz hit his 23rd homer and second grand slam of the year in the sixth, ending the scoring.

“It was just one game,” Jeter said. “They just killed us.”

The victory restored Boston’s AL East lead to 2 games over third-place New York, which won 8-6 Thursday night on Alex Rodriguez’s two-run homer in the ninth off Curt Schilling. Baltimore is in second.

Leadoff hitter Johnny Damon reached safely in each of the first four innings on two doubles, a single and a walk, extending his hitting streak to 27 games, the longest in the majors this year and increasing his batting average to .346.

Boston’s second batter, Edgar Renteria, got on base in each of the first three innings with a walk and two singles.

“We’d take a win any way we can get it, but it was nice to be able to have some offensive success,” manager Terry Francona said.

Boston broke a three-game losing streak, while the Yankees suffered their second loss in 10 games.

The Red Sox also won 17-1 in Yankee Stadium on May 28, the most runs they ever scored against the Yankees and their biggest margin ever against their archrivals. New York had won 16 of 18 before that loss, which began a 1-9 slide.

“We’ve got a lot different personality,” Torre said. “We’re fighting and battling a lot more. Even down 9-1, the talk in the dugout was about getting a couple runs and getting back in the game.”

Wells allowed one run, five hits and no walks while striking out five in seven innings. He was pitching while appealing a six-game suspension he received Friday for making contact with two umpires during his July 2 start against Toronto.

“I didn’t let it bother me,” Wells said. “I’ve got other things to think about.”

The Red Sox scored six runs each off Redding and Darrell May, both acquired from San Diego on July 2. The Yankees have four starters on the disabled list and were uncertain who would pitch Sunday’s series finale.

Redding left with the bases loaded and no outs in the second after allowing four hits and four runs with two strikeouts.

Through four innings, every Boston starter had a run and all but Kevin Millar and Mark Bellhorn had an RBI.

Another recent acquisition finally quieted the Red Sox for a while. Jason Anderson, recalled from Columbus on June 29, retired four straight batters but was replaced by Buddy Groom after walking Renteria with the bases loaded in the sixth.

Ortiz drove Groom’s second pitch over the Yankees’ bullpen in right field for his fourth career grand slam.

Gary Sheffield drove in New York’s run with a single in the fourth.

Notes:The Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak. Their other 17-1 win ended a four-game slide. … Nixon homered for the third straight game. … Tino Martinez replaced Jason Giambi at first base in the bottom of the fifth after Giambi was hit in the right arm by a pitch in the top of the inning but there was no update on his condition. Giambi also was hit by a pitch in Thursday night’s series opener. … Boston’s last inside-the-park homer was by Pokey Reese on May 8, 2004, against Kansas City in Fenway Park. … The Red Sox tied a club record, last set in 2001, with their ninth grand slam of the year. … Boston CF Adam Stern got his first major-league hit.

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