NEW YORK — Melky Cabrera and the New York Yankees knocked out John Smoltz early, and soon it was all over: They had finally beaten the Boston Red Sox this year.
Muhammad Ali and a starry crowd watched as the Yankees beat Boston for the first time in nine games this season, with Cabrera and Jorge Posada hitting three-run homers in New York's 13-6 victory on Thursday night.
Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira also connected for New York, which ended a nine-game skid against Boston dating to last season. It was the Yankees' longest drought in one of baseball's most heated rivalries since they lost 17 straight from Oct. 3, 1911, to July 1, 1912.
Damon's third-inning shot was his third in three days, Cabrera and Posada went deep in New York's eight-run fourth and Teixeira delivered the final blow with his 28th homer leading off the seventh.
Despite a career-high seven walks, Joba Chamberlain (8-2) lasted five innings to win his fourth straight start.
Casey Kotchman hit a two-run homer in his first start for Boston and Dustin Pedroia also went deep. David Ortiz went 0 for 5 and was booed lustily in his first game at Yankee Stadium since he said the union confirmed his name was on the list of 104 major leaguers who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.
The AL East-leading Yankees increased their lead over Boston to 3 1/2 games with their fourth consecutive win. Red Sox ace Josh Beckett is scheduled to face A.J. Burnett today in the second matchup of the four-game series.
Banged-up Boston played without All-Star outfielder Jason Bay and shortstop Jed Lowrie departed in the fourth inning with an irritated left forearm. Bay re-injured his right hamstring Wednesday night and is expected to miss at least the first two games against New York, leading to a rare start in left for Gold Glove first baseman Kevin Youkilis.
Kotchman's first homer since he was acquired from Atlanta on July 31 gave the Red Sox a 3-1 lead in the fourth but Smoltz quickly gave it away in the bottom half, looking nothing like the big-game pitcher Boston hoped it was getting when it signed him in the offseason.
The Yankees' first five batters reached in their biggest inning since they scored nine runs in the fourth against the Mets on June 14. Cabrera belted a 1-2 pitch from Smoltz into the second deck in right to give New York a 5-3 lead and Posada capped the scoring with a shot to center off Billy Traber.
Smoltz (2-5) was tagged for eight runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings, sending his ERA to 8.33 for his eight starts this season. It was his most runs allowed since he gave up eight in a no-decision with Atlanta on May 28, 2006, at Wrigley Field.
Chamberlain gave up four runs and six hits. He hasn't lost since June 18 against Washington.
A sellout crowd of 49,005, the largest at New York's plush new ballpark, delivered a loud chorus of boos when Ortiz came up with two outs and two on in the first. A fan sitting in left field held up a sign with an asterisk. Ortiz then flied out, leading to an even louder cheer.
Ortiz and incoming players' union head Michael Weiner plan to hold a news conference before Saturday's game. The Boston slugger has said he's still waiting for more information on the positive test result.