Ellsbury blasted a game-winning, three-run homer in the 14th inning late Sunday night to lift the Red Sox to a had-to-have-it, 7-4 win over the Yankees. The victory gave the Red Sox a split of a day-night doubleheader and left them with a one-game lead in the wild-card race with three games remaining.
In the opener, a 6-2 Red Sox loss, Ellsbury went deep twice against Yankees starter A.J. Burnett. His solo shot to right field in the sixth inning marked both his 30th homer and 100th RBI. Ellsbury is the first player in Red Sox history to have at least 30 homers and 30 steals in a season. He also joins Jim Rice (1977-79) and Mo Vaughn (1996, 1998) as the only players in team history with at least 30 homers, 100 runs, 100 RBI and 200 hits in a season.
Then, there's this: In major league history, Ellsbury is one of only seven players to reach 30 homers, 30 steals, 100 RBI, 100 runs and 200 hits. The others are Hank Aaron (1963), Ellis Burks (1996), Larry Walker (1997), Alex Rodriguez (1998), Vladimir Guerrero (2002) and Alfonso Soriano (2002).
Lately, Ellsbury hasn't had much time to bask in his historic season. The Red Sox are 6-18 in September and have seen their wild-card lead shrink from nine games on Sept. 1.
So, it was hardly surprising that Ellsbury focused on the big-picture significance of his big day and night in New York.
"This is a huge win. It allows us to control our own destiny," said Ellsbury, an AL MVP candidate.
"We know if we win out that we're in. We don't have to scoreboard-watch or anything like that. We know if we play like we can, it's in our hands. We know what's at stake, so it's definitely a huge win for us."