Yanks edge past Sox

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BOSTON (AP)- Randy Johnson had another rough outing but Melky Cabrera’s four RBIs led the New York Yankees to an 8-6 win over the Boston Red Sox despite two long homers by Manny Ramirez on Wednesday night.

Johnson (6-4) allowed at least five runs for the sixth time in eight starts before settling down after Jason Varitek’s single put Boston ahead 5-4 with no outs in the third. Johnson struck out the next three batters and retired nine of the last 10 he faced before leaving after five innings.

His ERA rose from 5.62 to 5.89 while he allowed nine hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.

Cabrera, who began the game with one RBI in his career, batted first as manager Joe Torre decided to rest center fielder Johnny Damon, who has an injured foot. Cabrera had two-run singles during New York’s four-run rallies in both the second and fifth.

Ramirez, meanwhile, kept providing plenty of power with two blasts onto the street beyond the left-field seats. That gave him 11 homers for the season, with at least one in each of the three games against the Yankees. He finished 8-for-12 with four homers and 10 RBIs during the series.

Matt Clement (4-4) pitched well until he was struck on the lower right leg by Bernie Williams’ single in the second.

Before that, Clement retired the first five batters then walked Robinson Cano. After a visit to the mound from manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Al Nipper, Clement walked Terrence Long to load the bases then hit Kelly Stinnett with a pitch. Cabrera’s two-run single and Derek Jeter’s RBI double made it 4-2.

That gave Jeter 1,999 hits, one shy of becoming the eighth Yankees with 2,000.

He went hitless in his other four at-bats.

Clement struggled through the next two innings without a run but gave up another four runs in the fifth when the first four batters singled. Alex Rodriguez and Cano started the rally before Williams and Long each singled in a run.

Clement left after striking out Stinnett, playing because Jorge Posada had a sore hamstring. But Cabrera greeted Julian Tavarez with another two-run single, making it 8-5.

Ramirez’s second homer cut it to 8-6 in the seventh and the Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth. But Kyle Farnsworth caught David Ortiz looking on an 86-mph slider, Ortiz’s fourth strikeout of the game.

Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 11 opportunities.

The Red Sox had taken a 2-0 lead in the first against Johnson when Ramirez homered after singles by Kevin Youkilis and Mark Loretta, who was out trying to stretch his hit into a double.

Trailing 4-2, Boston tied it in the second on a single by Alex Gonzalez and Youkilis’ fifth homer of the year.

The Red Sox went ahead 5-4 in the third when Ramirez doubled, then ran through third-base coach DeMarlo Hale’s stop sign and scored standing up on Varitek’s single.

Notes: Jeter has 1,999 hits in 1,570 games. The fastest Yankees to 2,000 hits are Joe DiMaggio in 1,537 games and Lou Gehrig in 1,576. The other five – Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Williams, Don Mattingly and Yogi Berra – needed more time. … Torre got his 1,902nd career win, breaking a tie with Gene Mauch for 11th place on the career list. … 3B Mike Lowell’s error in the sixth was the first by a Red Sox starting position player in 19 games. … Ramirez had his 45th multihomer game, 15th in major league history.

AP-ES-05-24-06 2250EDT


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