Yankees take two of four from Red Sox

Gritty Gardner at bat, single win it for Yankees in 10th Sunday night
July 6, 2008 9:36:21 PM PDT
Rookie Brett Gardner singled home the winning run off Jonathan Papelbon with two outs in the 10th inning, and the New York Yankees overcame a two-run deficit to beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Sunday night for a four-game split. Alex Rodriguez hit his 536th homer, tying Yankees Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle for 13th on the career list, and Robinson Cano had a two-run triple in the seventh off Javier Lopez that tied it 4-4.

Cano singled off Papelbon (3-3) leading off the 10th, Melky Cabrera sacrificed and pinch-hitter Wilson Betemit struck out. Gardner, who came to the plate just 2-for-20 this year, fouled off a pair of 0-2 pitches, took two balls, fouled off another pitch. He then sent a soft grounder up the middle that kicked off the glove of diving shortstop Alex Cora and into the outfield as Cano scored. Gardner was given a huge ovation when he came back on the field for a postgame interview.

New York remained a season-high nine games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays and closed within four games of the Red Sox. Boston lost its sixth straight one-run game.

Mariano Rivera (3-3) had an eventful six-pitch ninth inning, then pitched a perfect 10th. Sean Casey hit a soft single to short center on Rivera's first pitch of the night, Coco Crisp sacrificed on the next and pinch-hitter Jason Varitek shattered his bat on the third, moving the runner to third base. Manny Ramirez then pinch-hit, and Rivera froze him with a called third strike.

Before the game, the Yankees put outfielder Johnny Damon on the disabled list for the first time in his 13½-season major league career. Damon sprained his left shoulder Friday in an unsuccessful attempt for a leaping catch at the left-field wall. With Hideki Matsui (knee) also on the DL, Gardner became the starter.

New York manager Joe Girardi missed the end of the game. He was ejected by plate umpire Laz Diaz in the sixth inning for arguing a called strike to Gardner.

Boston, which finished a 3-7 trip, won't return to Yankee Stadium until its final regular-season series there, from Aug. 26-28. But many of the Red Sox will be back in a week. Seven Red Sox players were picked for the All-Star game, and Boston's Terry Francona will manage the AL All-Stars on July 15.

Joba Chamberlain, 1-0 with six no-decisons since joining the rotation on June 3, allowed three runs and four hits in six innings with five strikeouts and four walks. He had a one-hit shutout going into the fifth, but threw 36 pitches in the inning.

Following singles by Kevin Youkilis and Casey, and a run-scoring wild pitch, Chamberlain struck out Julio Lugo (swinging) and Kevin Cash (looking) on nasty sliders. Jacoby Ellsbury checked his swing and walked on a close 3-2 pitch catcher Jose Molina unsuccessfully appealed, and Dustin Pedroia fought off an inside pitch and slapped it into right-center for a two-run single and 3-1 lead.

After Girardi was ejected with one out in the sixth, Gardner singled, stole second and scored on Derek Jeter's single. Jeter advanced when Tim Wakefield threw wildly to first for an error on a pickoff but Bobby Abreu, 0-for-15 in the series, lined to a leaping Lugo at shortstop, and Lugo threw to second, doubling up Jeter.

Rodriguez, selected along with Jeter and Rivera for the All-Star game, put the Yankees ahead in the second against Wakefield with his 18th homer of the season, then took a curtain call after circling the bases. Next up for the 32-year-old Rodriguez is Mike Schmidt, who finished with 548 homers.

New York had a chance to take the lead after Cano's triple but, with the infield in, Cabrera hit a chopper to Pedroia, and the second baseman threw home, where catcher Cash took a low throw and got Cano on the left shoulder with a swipe tag.


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