Published: Sep 13, 2012 12:12 AM EDT
Updated: Sep 13, 2012 6:33 AM EDT

BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Red Sox were pretty fired up for a team supposedly playing out the final weeks of the season.

Manager Bobby Valentine and Cody Ross were both ejected in the eighth inning - along with third-base coach Jerry Royster - after heated arguments with home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez in Boston's 5-4 loss to the longtime rival New York Yankees on Wednesday night.

Ross was called out on strikes to end the inning with a runner second. He turned around, raised his bat above his head with both hands and started screaming at Marquez. He was quickly tossed and had to be restrained by Valentine and Royster.

"Cody was really upset," Valentine said. "I was just doing everything I could to get Cody away from him."

Valentine was tossed after he went back to the dugout.

"I didn't argue when I was on the field because I pulled both of my hamstrings trying to keep Cody away from the umpires," he said.

In a rotten season, the Red Sox may be embracing their role as spoilers.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit his 24th homer for Boston to get the Sox within a run in the ninth. But in a year filled with unfilled expectations, the Red Sox came up short again.

This was after Dustin Pedroia had left in the seventh inning for the expected birth of his second child.

"I just got the word and told him, 'It's time.' I told him to leave. I didn't ask him," Valentine said.

Valentine said it's understandable how things have changed from when he played, with players leaving for family issues.

"Yes it's a change, and I think family's the No. 1 important thing in everyone's life," he said.

Curtis Granderson hit two home runs, Robinson Cano also homered as the New York Yankees remained tied for first place in the AL East.

The Yankees finished the game without shortstop Derek Jeter, who left in the eighth after pulling up lame running out a double-play grounder to end the inning.

A day after Jacoby Ellsbury's game-ending single dropped New York into a tie with Baltimore atop the division, the Yankees got all their runs on homers to remain there. The Orioles beat Tampa Bay 3-2 on Wednesday night, preserving the tie and dropping the Rays three games back in the division.

David Phelps (4-4) gave up one run on five hits and a walk in 5 2-3 innings, striking out five. Rafael Soriano got four outs for his 37th save, but not before allowing the homer to Saltalamacchia to lead off the ninth, followed by a fly ball that left fielder Chris Dickerson caught at the base of the Green Monster.

Mauro Gomez grounded out meekly to second base for the second out, then Soriano misplayed Mike Aviles chopper to extend the game. But Ellsbury followed with another chopper and Soriano gloved it, throwing to first for the final out.

Aaron Cook (3-10) allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out two in five-plus innings. Saltalamacchia had a double, a triple, a homer and a walk for Boston, which lost for the 12th time in 14 games.

The matchup of longtime division foes lacked much of the intensity that had characterized their rivalry in the past decade, gaining life only at the end after the ejections. The game was officially announced as a sellout, the 787th in a row at Fenway Park, but there were thousands of no-shows and many of those who did attend were Yankees fans.

They saw Granderson lead off the fourth inning with a homer and, after Alex Rodriguez singled, Cano followed with his career-high 30th home run to make it 3-0. Granderson homered again in the seventh inning after Jeter singled to make it 5-1.

In all, the Yankees have hit 34 homers in 14 games against the Red Sox this season.

The Red Sox made it 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh after back-to-back doubles by Saltalamacchia and Daniel Nava left runners on second and third. One run scored on Gomez's groundout and another came in on Aviles' pinch-hit RBI double.

Jeter bounced into the inning-ending double play with runners on first and third in the eighth. After failing to beat the relay, he came up limping just after he stepped on the bag.

Manager Joe Girardi and a trainer rushed onto the field as Jeter walked back to the infield. Jeter walked with them to the dugout, slowly, then was replaced at short by Casey McGehee.

NOTES: Jeter scored his 1,860th run, passing Mel Ott for 12th on the career list. ... Red Sox broadcaster Joe Castiglione was honored for 30 years with the team in a pregame ceremony. ... The Red Sox activated RHP Scott Atchison (right elbow strain) from the 60-day disabled list and transferred LHP Franklin Morales (left shoulder inflammation) to the 60-day DL. ... Phelps had not won in four starts since Aug. 13. It's just the third time in nine starts that he has retired more than 15 batters. ... Cook has won just once in 12 starts since June.