New York's applause on Friday showed appreciation for a century of Red Sox baseball, but the Yankees are forever linked in that history as a blood rival. It was almost fitting, then, that the Yankees spoiled the party with a 6-2 victory over the Red Sox on the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park's first big league game.
"I thought it was absolutely awesome," the Yankees' Nick Swisher said. "Whether you're a Red Sox fan or you're not, I'm a baseball fan. To be able to go out there and see all those guys coming out, the ovations all those guys were getting, it was great. What a great day for baseball."
Honoring the oldest operating facility in the big leagues, both clubs were attired in more comfortable replicas of what they would have worn on April 20, 1912, as the gates along Yawkey Way opened for business just five days after the sinking of the Titanic.
The Red Sox won that opening game, 7-6, in 11 innings, but New York spoiled any chances of a reprisal behind a 15th consecutive winning decision from Ivan Nova and a display of offensive thunder.
"It was a great day," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "To me, I'm really glad we were a part of it; I really am. I loved it."
New York honored the live-ball era with five home runs, including two by Eric Chavez. Swisher, Alex Rodriguez and Russell Martin also slugged roundtrippers off losing pitcher Clay Buchholz, as the Yankees connected for nine homers in a two-game span for the first time since 2007.
Rodriguez's blast moved him past Ken Griffey Jr. for sole possession of fifth place on the all-time list with 631, which Rodriguez called "flattering," but the veteran slugger was far more effusive in his praise of Nova.
"He's a monster -- I don't know when people are going to realize that," Rodriguez said. "He is a fantastic pitcher. He has four plus pitches; all four pitches are above Major League average. All he knows how to do is win."
Nova hasn't lost since a June 3, 2011, start against the Angels, and the confident right-hander said he has no problem believing that he has pieced together a 15-decision winning streak.
"If you ask me who is the best pitcher in the world, I say me," Nova said, drawing laughter. "You have to believe that. That's why you win so many games. I like to win, and like I say, every time I get a chance, that's what I go for."
Nova permitted a second-inning homer to David Ortiz that was reversed from a double following a brief video review, and Mike Aviles rapped a sun-aided RBI double in the fifth that Swisher simply hoped wouldn't catch him in the teeth.
Otherwise, Nova was stellar once again, permitting two runs on seven hits in his six innings. The right-hander struck out five and did not walk a batter, and he continues to impress the Yankees with his developing maturity.
"He was able to work all of his pitches," Boston's Adrian Gonzalez said. "I don't think he threw his changeup much, but he had his fastball, his cutter and his curveball. He used his curveball effectively, especially in those middle innings. He pitched well."
Nova needs one more victory to equal Roger Clemens' 2001 string of 16 consecutive wins, the longest by a Yankees pitcher since 1920.
"Every time I win, like I win today, I can't wait until my next start to try to win again," Nova said. "It feels special. When you win, you make a lot of people happy, especially my family. I like to make my family happy if I can win all the time."
Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia dropped a Derek Jeter popup that led to an unearned first-inning run before Swisher and Chavez teed off on Buchholz for solo homers in the second inning.
Chavez added a second homer in the fourth off Buchholz, before Rodriguez slugged No. 631 in the fifth and Martin cleared the 37-foot-high Monster in the sixth. On a day when the Red Sox honored their favorite Fenway moments, Chavez said the second blast created his.
"It's good for my own confidence," Chavez said. "I hit two home runs all last year, so to be able to do that in a single game is definitely rewarding."
The five homers would have been a dream performance for the last-place Highlanders, who hit 18 as a club during the 1912 campaign. But for the Yankees roster that followed them a century down the line, they felt a certain pride in putting a "W" up in Boston.
"I was just happy and lucky that we were the team here to be able to experience this," Swisher said. "This is something that I'll never be able to experience again. I'll be long gone before 100 years happens again."