Sox can’t catch Yanks

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BOSTON (AP) – Johnny Damon hit a leadoff homer against his former team, Alex Rodriguez added a three-run shot and the New York Yankees roughed up Tim Wakefield before holding off the Boston Red Sox 7-5 Tuesday night.

Jaret Wright (2-3) pitched five shutout innings for the Yankees, allowing four hits and leaving with a 3-0 lead. New York added one run in the sixth and Rodriguez’s drive in the seventh to make it 7-1 and chase Wakefield (3-6).

The knuckleballer gave up six earned runs on six hits and five walks, striking out five in 6 2-3 innings. The Yankees scored an unearned run in the sixth when Doug Mirabelli had three passed balls that allowed Rodriguez to reach, take second and, after advancing to third on a fielder’s choice, score.

Wakefield threw 10 consecutive balls in the seventh, walking Derek Jeter and Gary Sheffield with two outs before Rodriguez put one over the Green Monster. Activated from the disabled list before the game, Sheffield went 0-for-3 with two walks.

Manny Ramirez hit a three-run homer in the seventh to make it 7-4, then Kyle Farnsworth walked consecutive batters with one out in the eighth. Mariano Rivera got David Ortiz to pop up behind second base before Ramirez singled in one run to make it 7-5.

Trot Nixon fouled out to third base to end the inning. Rivera finished for his ninth save and New York’s second victory in six games.

The Yankees are just 2-4 against Boston this year, and Wright hadn’t had much success against the Red Sox, either, going 1-3 with a 7.30 ERA in nine career starts against them. But on Tuesday night he twice pitched out of jams with a runner on third, getting Nixon to fly out in the first and Willie Harris on a grounder to end the fourth.

Boston stranded 13.

Scott Proctor gave up Mirabelli’s RBI single in the sixth and then walked two in the seventh before Ramirez, for the second night in a row, homered deep into the center-field bleachers. It was his 44th career homer against the Yankees, tying him with Rocky Colavito for ninth-most on the all-time list.

Notes: Yankees manager Joe Torre earned his 1,901st victory, tying Gene Mauch for 11th on the career list. … Damon’s leadoff homer was the 17th of his career and first this season. … To make room for Sheffield, the Yankees designated RHP Colter Bean for assignment. Bean appeared in two games, pitched two innings and had a 9.00 ERA. … 1B Kevin Youkilis made Boston’s first out of the game on a liner back to the mound that Wright caught in his gut. … Boston OF Wily Mo Pena missed his second consecutive game with a sore wrist.

AP-ES-05-23-06 2229EDT


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