NEW YORK (AP) -- Johnny Damon hit the second pitch of the night
into the right-field upper deck. The Red Sox looked as if they were
ready to burst by the Yankees again.
Then, New York made Boston's April dominance seem like distant
Gary Sheffield hit a three-run homer, Tony Clark sent a rare
drive into the center-field bleachers and Javier Vazquez beat the
Red Sox for the first time in his career, leading the Yankees to an
11-3 victory Tuesday night.
"We were jacked up for this one," Sheffield said.
With Vice President Dick Cheney looking on and a sellout crowd
of 55,231 yelling from the first pitch, there was a postseason
atmosphere at Yankee Stadium. And the Yankees, who went 1-6 against
Boston in April and dropped 4½ games out of first, responded with a
playoff-type performance, opening a season-high 6½-game AL East
lead over the second-place Red Sox.
"After the way they manhandled us the first time, you're
wondering how you stack up," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
New York has never failed to finish first after leading by at
least 6½ games. The 1933 Yankees led by six, then finished behind
"You want to try to get some breathing room," Derek Jeter
Damon had a pair of solo homers and David Ortiz hit his 20th,
tying teammate Manny Ramirez for the league lead. But the Red Sox,
seeking to win four straight at Yankee Stadium in one season for
the first time since 1986, were done in by atrocious defense and a
poor outing by Derek Lowe (6-7), who allowed a career-high nine
runs, although just five were earned.
"They beat us pretty much in every facet of the game," Lowe
After the long first-inning homer, Damon put the ball deep into
the right-field bleachers in the third. That was the high-point for
"Johnny Damon was like Babe Ruth tonight," Rodriguez said.
Following a 15-6 start, the Red Sox have gone 27-27 since April,
putting pressure on themselves to keep up.
"We have to do better," Boston manager Terry Francona said.
Hideki Matsui, 11-for-19 (.579) against Lowe with 11 RBI, hit a
tiebreaking two-run single in a three-run third that made it 4-2.
It came one pitch after Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, running on their
own decision, pulled off a double steal.
"That's just some of the little things that help you win
games," Jeter said. "You pick your spots."
New York had four steals to match its season high, and Jeter had
three hits to raise his average to a season-best .272, up from .189
on May 26.
The Red Sox, who have lost six of nine overall, made three
errors and allowed four unearned runs, raising their total to a
major league-leading 58. Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who missed
the April games with Achilles tendinitis, was Boston's Achilles'
heel, allowing Jeter's two-out grounder in the fourth to kick off
the heel of his glove for his second error of the game.
"There were just too many mistakes out there," Damon said.
Sheffield followed with a three-run homer that boosted New
York's lead to 7-2. Fans responded with chants of "Thank you,
"We try to make plays. There's nothing wrong," Garciaparra
Second baseman Pokey Reese bobbled Jorge Posada's fifth-inning
grounder, failing to help turn what would have been an
inning-ending double play. Clark followed with a two-run homer,
joining Bernie Williams and Danny Tartabull as the only players to
reach the center-field bleachers more than once since the remodeled
Yankee Stadium opened in 1976.
Rodriguez, 7-for-28 in the April games against Boston after
going 1-for-17 at Fenway Park, was 1-for-4 with an RBI grounder, a
walk and a single that bounded off third base and 20 feet into the
air -- it would've been a run-scoring double had it not hit the bag.
Boston outscored the Yankees 35-19 in April and beat Vazquez
(9-5) twice, dropping him to 0-3 against the Red Sox. This time, he
matched his season best with eight strikeouts, allowing three runs
and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. The three homers matched his
Cheney, who visited both clubhouses after batting practice,
watched part of the game from the box of Yankees owner George
Steinbrenner and part from a first-row seat next to the Yankees
dugout, where he sat between New York Gov. George Pataki and former
New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Cheney was booed when he was
shown on the right-field videoboard during the seventh-inning
But mostly it was a night of cheering in the ballpark.
"This team is resilient," Kevin Millar said. "You shower, you
think of what you could have done better and you come back
Williams and Tartabull reached the CF bleachers three times
each. Clark became the first player to do it with both the Yankees
and a visiting team (Detroit). ... Millar had a 12-pitch at-bat
when he struck out in the third. ... One fan hung pictures of
former Boston manager Grady Little from the upper deck for each of