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Ellsbury, Gardner excelling as 1-2 punch

MLB.com @BryanHoch

BOSTON -- One of the most exciting selling points for dressing Jacoby Ellsbury in pinstripes was envisioning how he might partner with Brett Gardner as a dynamic one-two punch atop the lineup, a development that the Yankees are beginning to see on a nightly basis.

Ellsbury reached base a career-high six times and tied his career best with four hits, while Gardner slugged a three-run homer and hit in his sixth straight game as the Yankees completed their sweep of the Red Sox with an 8-5 victory on Sunday at Fenway Park.

Full Game Coverage

BOSTON -- One of the most exciting selling points for dressing Jacoby Ellsbury in pinstripes was envisioning how he might partner with Brett Gardner as a dynamic one-two punch atop the lineup, a development that the Yankees are beginning to see on a nightly basis.

Ellsbury reached base a career-high six times and tied his career best with four hits, while Gardner slugged a three-run homer and hit in his sixth straight game as the Yankees completed their sweep of the Red Sox with an 8-5 victory on Sunday at Fenway Park.

Full Game Coverage

"It's meant a lot to our offense," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "These two guys, they're running the bases, they're stealing bases, putting the pressure on the defense, the pitchers. It's really nice to have."

Ellsbury singled in each of his first four at-bats, scoring a pair of runs, before Edward Mujica drilled him in the rear end with an eighth-inning fastball. The Yankees believed Mujica's pitch was intentional, coming after Hanley Ramirez was upset by being drilled by Adam Warren in the sixth inning.

Video: NYY@BOS: Ellsbury hit by Mujica pitch, benches warned

"I really wanted to score that time I got hit," Ellsbury said. "I was hoping they'd give me something to hit that last at-bat, but I got walked on four straight pitches. Any time I get on base, I'm the leadoff hitter. That's my job, to get on base, and I'm happy with how I played tonight."

Ellsbury became the first Yankee to reach base safely six times in a game since Russell Martin went 5-for-5 with a walk on Aug. 25, 2011, vs. Oakland. In 10 games since April 22, Ellsbury is 19-for-40 (.475) with nine runs, a double, homer, three RBIs and six steals.

"We're playing good baseball," Ellsbury said. "We had a chip on our shoulder through Spring Training, so it's nice to see that hard work play early on in the season."

Video: NYY@BOS: Gardner drives a three-run home run to right

Not to be left behind, Gardner has recorded three RBIs in consecutive games for the first time in his career and owns 15 hits in his last 43 at-bats (.348). Girardi said that he senses Ellsbury and Gardner seem to feed off each other, a sentiment which Gardner agrees with.

"For sure. We definitely push each other," Gardner said. "It's a lot of fun hitting next to him in the lineup. It feels like every time I come up, he's on base. I feel like he makes me better, and hopefully he feels the same about me. Like I said, we push each other.

"We take a lot of pride in getting on base, and that's our job at the top of the lineup. We feel like we're two leadoff hitters, and we can get on base for those guys in the middle of the lineup and give them RBI opportunities."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New York Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner