BOSTON -- Derek Jeter sped down the first-base line for a chop single over the pitcher's head.
His 3,464th hit may have been the last play -- and injury -- of his career.
Jeter said before the series that he would be the designated hitter on Saturday and Sunday to finish his 20-year career, but Girardi said, "I'll text him in the morning and see what he wants to do."
Jeter walked out of the clubhouse without a noticeable limp and, of course, would have plenty of time to recover. He didn't talk with reporters.
Girardi said he planned to give Jeter just two at-bats and lifted him for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning after he went 1 for 2.
Boston chased Masahiro Tanaka (13-5) during an eight-run second inning that backed Joe Kelly (4-2). Tanaka made a windmill motion with his right arm as he left the mound in what at times can be a sign of elbow trouble, but Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild said he was healthy.
Tanaka allowed seven runs -- five earned -- in 1 2/3 innings, the shortest of his 20 starts with the Yankees. He pitched 5 1/3 innings last Sunday in his return from 2 1-2 months out while rehabilitating a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
"Sometimes the second time out is a little different, getting back into the flow of everything," pitching coach Larry Rothschild said.
After sitting out Friday night's series opener following his emotional Yankee Stadium finale the previous night, Jeter returned to his usual second spot in the lineup but as the designated hitter, not the shortstop. He received standing ovations before each at-bat as fans chanted "De-rek Je-ter! De-rek Je-ter!"
He struck out on three pitches in the first -- a called strike on the outside corner, a foul down the first base line and a swing. In the third, he hit a high bouncer over Kelly's head. Third baseman Garin Cecchini raced across to catch the ball but couldn't make a throw.
When Jeter's turn came in the fifth, Francisco Cervelli was booed when he pinch hit and grounded into an inning-ending double play.
"Normal at-bat, nothing crazy," Cervelli said. "I think in his career you never see someone pinch hit for him."
If Jeter plays Sunday, it would be his 153rd game at Fenway Park, breaking a tie with Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle for most among Yankees.
With the loss, the Yankees (83-78) ensured they will have declining wins totals in three straight seasons for the first time since 1986-90.
Kelly allowed four runs in 7 1/3 innings.
"I feel very good about Joe's presence in our rotation," manager John Farrell said of the right-hander obtained from St. Louis at the trade deadline. "It's premium stuff."
Farrell wasn't surprised at the warm reception fans gave Jeter.
"Our fans are great baseball fans and they recognize a guy that they've seen for 20 years here and to acknowledge the career he's had, not surprising in any way."
Cespedes went 2 for 4 with two RBIs, extending his hitting streak to seven games. CF Castillo was 3 for 3 with an RBI and his third stolen base in nine games since signing with the Red Sox. "He looks very comfortable," Farrell said of Castillo.
Yankees: CF Jacoby Ellsbury missed his eighth straight game with a right hamstring strain and won't play Sunday. In his first year with the Yankees after seven seasons with the Red Sox, Ellsbury played in 16 games against Boston, hitting .234 with no homers and nine RBIs.
Red Sox: Boston started six rookies, excluding pitchers, for the fourth straight game. DH David Ortiz missed his fourth consecutive game with a sore left wrist. 1B Mike Napoli missed his ninth in a row with finger, toe and back injuries. Brock Holt, who has played all the outfield and infield positions, has been out with a concussion since Sept. 5.
Michael Pineda (4-5) pitches for the Yankees against Clay Buchholz (8-10) in the season finale. It's the first time since 1993 that neither team reached the postseason. The defending champion Red Sox will come in last in the AL East for the second time in three years.