Alex Cora led off the winning rally with a leadoff triple off Jose Veras. With one out, the Yankees intentionally walked Jeff Bailey and Sean Casey to load the bases. David Ross struck out. That left it in the hands of Van Every, who hammered one into right to send everybody home.
"Van Every gets a hit that will mean nothing in the standings, but it's more fun to go home with a win," Francona said.
For Van Every, who spent most of the year at Triple-A Pawtucket, it was a fun way to end the season.
"We got to go home -- that's what we were trying to do," said Van Every. "Fortunately, I came through in the situation. Any time you get to beat the Yankees in walk-off fashion, it's something special."
The Red Sox finished at 95-67, while the Yankees went home at 89-73.
Across five shutout innings, Wakefield allowed two hits and no walks, striking out three. He left after just 56 pitches, as the Red Sox weren't about to risk injury with all that will be at stake in the coming days.
"He was great," said Red Sox catcher Kevin Cash. "In the bullpen it wasn't that good, but he's got that capability of just locking it in for the game, which is good. He threw a lot of first-pitch strikes -- he had great movement. He had a big punchout against, I think, [Jason] Giambi in the third or fourth inning. But it's got to be a confidence boost for him going into the playoffs."
After playing all of his regulars except the ailing Mike Lowell in Game 1 -- a 6-2 Red Sox loss -- Francona emptied his bench for the nightcap, but the Red Sox still prevailed.
Cora started at shortstop and batted second. Chris Carter was the designated hitter, batting third. Bailey hit cleanup and played left. Van Every occupied the No. 7 hole and played right field. As always, Cash caught Wakefield. Gil Velazquez hit ninth and played second base. In their finale, the Yankees sat Johnny Damon, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu.
Casey's two-run single up the middle gave the Red Sox a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth, but the Yankees came back to score two off David Aardsma in the top of the ninth.