BOSTON (AP) -- Sitting in fourth place in the AL East, the New York Yankees have no room for costly errors. Add in a missed call Saturday and it was all too much for them to overcome.
Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits, David Ortiz homered and John Lackey held down New York's resurgent offense as the Boston Red Sox broke a three-game skid by beating the Yankees 6-1.
With a chance to turn an inning-ending double play in the fourth, New York made a big error. When an umpire's call went against them moments later, the Yankees were on their way to a loss.
"We gave them some extra outs, we got some extra outs at times, lost an out," manager Joe Girardi said. "I think the game could have been a whole lot different than what it ended up, and it would have been interesting."
The Red Sox took advantage of an error and the missed call to jump ahead 3-0 in the fourth. With runners at the corners and one out, first baseman Lyle Overbay fielded Stephen Drew's grounder and fired wide of second. Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez had to jump to catch the ball and threw late to first, with Ortiz scoring from third to make it 1-0.
Mike Carp, who was safe at second, then stole third on the front end of double steal, though replays showed Alex Rodriguez made the tag in time. Umpire Bill Welke, who ejected Carp for arguing a called third strike Friday night, pointed that he was safe.
Will Middlebrooks and Ellsbury followed with consecutive RBI singles off Hiroki Kuroda.
"That fourth inning, I wish I could take that back. I feel bad about it," Kuroda said through a translator. "With the runners on, I wanted to minimize the damage. But I couldn't do that. ... It was a bad outing."
Kuroda (11-8) matched a season high by giving up five runs -- three earned -- and 11 hits. He struck out six and did not walk a batter in 5 2-3 innings. The 38-year-old right-hander was 4-1 with a 0.94 ERA in his previous seven starts.
"They are big losses in a sense," Girardi said. "But you can't make too much of one game and you've got to go out and win a series tomorrow. That's the bottom line. We have to win series. We have an opportunity to do that."
Ortiz, Middlebrooks, Carp, Shane Victorino, and Daniel Nava each had two hits for the AL East leaders, who won for only the third time in nine games.
Alfonso Soriano extended his hitting tear with two singles in four at-bats for the Yankees, but was held without an RBI after matching a major league record with 18 over his previous four games. He is 15 for 22 (.682) in his last five games with five homers and nine runs scored.
The Yankees had scored 10 or more runs in three of their last four. New York lost for just the second time in seven games.
Lackey (8-10) relied mostly on his fastball, slider and changeup. He gave up one run and six hits while walking three over 6 2-3 innings to halt a four-game losing streak, the longest of his career. He was 0-4 with a 4.96 ERA in his previous five starts.
"Lackey was outstanding today," said Rodriguez, booed loudly again during each at-bat. "Threw the ball very well. He's having a big year for them. And Papi, he's the heart and soul of that team. Obviously had another big day."
Leading 3-1 in the sixth, Boston added two runs and chased Kuroda. Jarrod Saltalamacchia had an RBI single and scored on Ellsbury's double off the base of the right-field wall. Ortiz homered into the center-field seats off reliever Adam Warren in the seventh.
Ichiro Suzuki's run-scoring grounder cut it to 3-1 in the fifth. New York had runners on second and third with none out after a single by Overbay and a double by Chris Stewart, but Lackey retired the next three hitters on grounders.
"The biggest thing is our pitching and defense," Drew said. "If we have that, we have a chance to win every day."
NOTES: Kuroda allowed a season-high 11 hits. ... Robinson Cano went 0 for 4, snapping his 11-game hitting streak. ... Yankees SS Derek Jeter, on the 15-day DL with a strained right calf, continued taking batting practice and fielding grounders at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., but is not running the bases. ... Boston sends RHP Ryan Dempster (6-8, 4.50 ERA) to the mound against LHP CC Sabathia (10-10, 4.66) in the series finale Sunday night.