Yankees answer back

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NEW YORK (AP) – Alex Rodriguez had a powerful answer for George Steinbrenner, and the New York Yankees beat old nemesis Curt Schilling in their first victory over Boston this season.

Jason Giambi, Jorge Posada and Rodriguez all homered off Schilling, sending New York to a 7-3 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday night.

Mike Mussina (6-1) provided stability on a hectic day in the Bronx, settling down after a shaky start to become the American League’s first six-game winner.

David Ortiz hit a two-run homer and got four hits, ending his 2-for-24 skid. Mike Lowell’s solo shot gave Schilling a 3-0 lead, but he couldn’t hold it and the Red Sox had their five-game winning streak snapped.

Johnny Damon added an RBI single for New York, his first hit in 11 at-bats against his former team. The Yankees bounced back from a 14-3 drubbing the night before and beat Boston for the first time in three meetings this season.

Rodriguez, singled out in critical quotes attributed to Steinbrenner after making two errors Tuesday night, hit a tiebreaking shot in the fifth inning.

“I’m upset at a lot of them,” the owner was quoted as saying in New York newspapers on Wednesday. “The third baseman!”

Mussina won his fifth straight start, allowing three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings for his 230th career win. He struck out five, walked one and departed to chants of “Mooooose!” Scott Proctor, supplanting Tanyon Sturtze as Torre’s go-to guy in the seventh inning, brushed Manny Ramirez back, then struck out the slugger to strand two runners. Proctor also worked a perfect eighth and Mariano Rivera finished up. Schilling (5-2) gave up eight hits and a season-high six runs in five innings, his shortest outing this year. He had allowed four homers in 47 2-3 innings entering the game.

Ortiz homered off Mussina into the right-field upper deck in the first inning, his 17th homer against the Yankees and second this season. Lowell connected in the second.

Posada doubled in the bottom half and scored on Bernie Williams’ sacrifice fly. Ramirez made a running, over-the-shoulder catch of Damon’s drive in left to save two runs and end the inning.

Derek Jeter singled leading off the third and Giambi hit the next pitch into the right-center bleachers for his 12th homer and second in two days.

After tying the score at 3, Giambi took a curtain call from the crowd of 54,769. Schilling struck out Jeter and Giambi to start the fifth, then ran into trouble. Rodriguez drove a 2-1 pitch way over the left-field fence for his seventh homer this season and first at Yankee Stadium. Satisfied with his quick, powerful swing, Rodriguez tossed his bat aside as he began to round the bases. Schilling, of course, helped Boston rally from 3-0 down to beat the Yankees in the 2004 AL championship series and was co-MVP of Arizona’s World Series win over New York in 2001.

The right-hander also was one of several Red Sox to criticize A-Rod before the 2005 season. Rodriguez responded that it was “going to give us great motivation to beat him up in the future.”

Hideki Matsui walked after Rodriguez’s homer and Posada hit a two-run drive into the right-field upper deck.

Williams doubled leading off the sixth against Mike Holtz and scored on Damon’s single, making it 7-3.

Notes: Giambi has reached base safely in 26 consecutive games. … Boston sent RHP David Riske (lower back strain) to Triple-A Pawtucket to begin a rehabilitation assignment. Riske threw 26 pitches against Syracuse. … Holtz made his first major league appearance since 2002. … Boston outscored the Yankees 21-6 in their first two meetings. … Ortiz’s four hits matched a career best, done eight times.

AP-ES-05-10-06 2230EDT

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