Yankees beat Boston, 7-1

March 24, 2009 9:37:18 PM PDT
Tim Wakefield had his pitches moving all around the strike zone. The Red Sox knuckleballer allowed one run and four hits over 5 2-3 innings in Boston's 7-1 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.

"Today was a good test, probably facing their starting lineup the rest of the way," Wakefield said. "I'll take all the positives out of it and go on to my next one."

Derek Jeter went 1-for-2 with a walk in his first game since rejoining the Yankees from the World Baseball Classic. He grounded out in the first, hit a fourth-inning soft liner to right for a single and walked during the sixth against Wakefield.

"If I'd known that, I would have waited until Thursday (to play)," Jeter said, joking about facing Wakefield's knuckler.

The 42-year-old Wakefield struck out five and walked one. His spring ERA dropped from 7.71 to 5.40.

"The ball is starting to dance around a little bit better," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He's starting to get his legs under him. Like everybody else, he's got to build up arm strength."

New York right-hander A.J. Burnett allowed one run and three hits over 5 2-3 innings.

"We had fun out there," Burnett said. "It's getting better every time out there."

Burnett has given up two runs over 15 innings in his four starts.

"His stuff is as nasty as any pitcher in baseball," Jeter said.

The Yankees' starting lineup against Boston - Johnny Damon, Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Hideki Matusi, Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, Xavier Nady, Cody Ransom and Brett Gardner - could be what New York will use on opening day.

"That's pretty close," manager Joe Girardi said. "We might do something a little different."

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, the regular No. 4 hitter, is expected to be out until May after undergoing right hip surgery on March 9.

Austin Jackson hit a grand slam during the Yankees' six-run eighth, then was reassigned to minor league camp after the game with infielders Juan Miranda and Eduardo Nunez.

Jackson has been working with Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, a team special adviser, for the past couple of seasons in the minors.

David Ortiz had an RBI single for the Red Sox, who had won seven in a row.

The crowd of 11,113 was a record for George M. Steinbrenner Field, which originally opened as Legends Field in 1996.

Notes: Posada, coming back from right shoulder surgery, threw out Jacoby Ellsbury on a stolen base attempt at second. ... Boston RHP Manny Delcarmen allowed three runs in one-third of an inning. ... New York closer Mariano Rivera struck out two in a perfect seventh. He has given up one hit in four shutout innings overall. ... Boston OF J.D. Drew (right hand) is expected to play Wednesday. ... New York LHP Andy Pettitte will pitch in a minor league game on the Yankees' off day Wednesday. ... Red Sox OF Mark Kotsay (back surgery) could resume swinging a bat this weekend. ... Yankees GM Brian Cashman said minor leaguer Ramiro Pena is "definitely" in the mix with Angel Berroa for the backup infield spot.


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