Pettitte outduels Lowe; Yanks win season series


NEW YORK (AP) -- For the New York Yankees, September is time to
refine postseason plans.

For the Boston Red Sox, it's just another month of heartache, weeks spent wondering what went wrong.

With another big Jason Giambi home run and another overpowering
Andy Pettitte start, the Yankees just about finished Boston's hopes for a division title, beating the Red Sox 3-1 Wednesday night.

"We're going to keep fighting, but we've kind of dug ourselves
in a pretty deep hole,'' said Derek Lowe, who failed to get his 19th win. "We're at the point when we can't say, 'We'll get 'em tomorrow.''

It always seems to turn out this way.

Boston dropped 8½ games back of New York in the AL East and to
make matters worse, fell 6½ games behind Anaheim in the wild-card
race with 25 games remaining.

While Yankees manager Joe Torre is starting to think which starters to use in the postseason, Red Sox manager Grady Little is starting to think time is running out.

"We've got a lot of work to do and a short time to do it in,''
Little said. "We've got ourselves in a position where we are
relying on other games.''

After the Yankees lost the series opener, Roger Clemens won 4-2 Tuesday and Pettitte (9-5) rebounded from a sore back with a big game Wednesday.

"There's sort of a sigh of relief because you always think with head-to-head, that's two games (swing) with every victory,'' Torre said.

Boston won five of its first six games against the Yankees this
year but lost six of its last seven as the Yankees, the AL East
leader since June 29, took the season series 10-9.

"We played great against them when we needed to down the
stretch,'' Giambi said.

Pettitte, scratched from his previous start because of a stiff
lower back, allowed consecutive singles with one out in the first
to Johnny Damon, Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez, but allowed
just three hits in the next six innings and improved to 10-4
against Boston in his career.

He had two key moments, pitching to Carlos Baerga with two on
and two outs in the first and third innings, and escaped both times
by inducing infield grounders. Pettitte was overpowering at times,
tying up hitters with high fastballs.

"A few days ago, I was still wondering if I would be able to make this start, so I was really happy,'' Pettitte said.

With Mariano Rivera still on the disabled list, Steve Karsay finished for his ninth save in 11 chances. He allowed two hits in the eighth but got Ramirez to hit into a double play.

"That's one big difference in our ballclub this year from last year: We left spring training with a deeper bullpen,'' Torre said. "Last year, we had to shore it up along the way and never really got the job done.''

Lowe (18-7), who had pitched six scoreless innings in May during
his first career start at Yankee Stadium, got out of a two-on,
no-outs jam in the first when he retired Giambi, Bernie Williams
and Jorge Posada in order.

But Lowe, 6-1 in his previous nine starts, couldn't hold the
lead in the third. He gave up a leadoff opposite-field double to
right to rookie Juan Rivera, then hit Alfonso Soriano just below the left shoulder with a pitch.

After Derek Jeter grounded into a double play, the Red Sox
shifted their infield to the right side for the pull-hitting
Giambi. He fouled off a pair of full-count pitches, then lined an
outside sinker that didn't into the left-field seats for his 34th

Lowe then hit Williams with a pitch just below the left knee, threw a wild pitch and gave up a run-scoring single to Posada. But the homer by Giambi was enough. He had hit just .224 in August.

"I was hitting the ball decent,'' he said. "I just ended up
hitting it into the shift last month.''

Game notes
Pedro Martinez, who threw in the outfield, probably will
miss his second straight start Sunday. Martinez was replaced by
Frank Castillo on Tuesday. ... Ramirez was 2-for-3 against
Pettitte, raising his career average against the left-hander to
.423 (22-for-52). ... Juan Rivera missed a hit-and-run sign. "I
don't want to sit on the bench and wonder are guys are getting
signs,'' Torre said. ... New York OF Shane Spencer is still bothered by a sore left hamstring and stretched it in the outfield
before the game. ... The Yankees and Red Sox don't play a team with
a winning record for the rest of the season.