Yankees chase Beckett en route to 13-5 rout of Red Sox

NEW YORK (AP) -- Even without Derek Jeter, the New York Yankees
slugged their way to a satisfying blowout against Boston.

Jason Giambi and Andy Phillips each hit a three-run homer in a
seven-run second inning Monday night, and New York battered old
nemesis Josh Beckett in a 13-5 rout of the Red Sox.

Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano added two-run doubles in the
third, making it an easy night for ace Mike Mussina (8-1) in the
opener of a four-game series.

"The guys came out and hit the ball all over the place,"
Mussina said.

The Yankees batted around in the second and third -- and hardly
missed Jeter. The captain sat out with a bruised right thumb after
he was hit by a pitch Sunday in Baltimore.

"I'm not counting on him for a couple of days," manager Joe
Torre said.

Also missing injured sluggers Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui
for some time now, New York finished with 11 hits -- its 12th
consecutive game with at least 10. That broke the franchise record
of 11 straight games set in May 1937.

"We care about those guys and you want to see them get back,"
Phillips said. "But at the same time, we use that as an excuse and
we'll be at the bottom looking up."

The longtime rivals have now split eight meetings this season --
the Yankees have won three in a row. New York (34-22) won for the
eighth time in 10 games overall, matched a season-best 12 games
above .500 and leapfrogged Boston into first place in the AL East
by a half-game.

The anticipated pitching duel between Mussina and Beckett (7-3)
never materialized. The Boston right-hander was gone by the second

"When it gets out of hand so quickly, it's not a lot of fun,"
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

Staked to a 13-2 cushion after three, Mussina improved to 7-0 in
10 starts since his only loss on April 14 at Minnesota. He allowed
five runs -- four earned -- and eight hits in six innings, striking
out a season-high eight.

By the numbers, it was Mussina's worst outing this season -- he
hadn't allowed more than three earned runs in any of his 12
previous starts.

"It wasn't at all a smooth game," Mussina said. "I knew they
weren't all going to be smooth."

At 23, Beckett was the 2003 World Series MVP with Florida after
pitching a shutout on three days' rest at Yankee Stadium to clinch
the title in Game 6.

But the Bronx Bombers teed off on him this time. He gave up
eight runs -- seven earned -- and seven hits in 1 1-3 innings, his
shortest start since May 7, 2003, with Florida, when he left after
one inning against San Francisco because of a sprained elbow.

Things got ugly for the Red Sox right away, when Cabrera scored
from first base in the first inning as Boston fielders scrambled
all over the place like Little Leaguers.

Cabrera hesitated between first and second on Beckett's wild
pitch, which didn't squirt far from catcher Jason Varitek. Cabrera
finally took off for second, and an off-balance Varitek threw the
ball into right-center for an error, sending the runner to third.

Boston's infielders had been shifted to the right against
Giambi, which left nobody covering third. So Varitek hustled over
there to no avail, which left nobody covering the plate -- neither
Beckett nor first baseman Kevin Youkilis realized Varitek needed to
be replaced.

"It's such a freaky play because of the way we were defensing
it," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Once it got away, we
had guys all over the field."

Cabrera alertly broke for the plate as Varitek made a futile
attempt to keep up, and Boston's relay throw sailed to the backstop
as the Yankees scored on an embarrassing miscue.

"The way we got that first run may never happen again,"
Mussina said. "That was just pure youth and speed and

The Red Sox went up 2-1 in the second, but New York began the
bottom half with six straight hits off Beckett. Phillips' three-run
shot was his third homer in four games. Johnny Damon added an RBI
single, and Giambi's drive off the facing of the right-field upper
deck made it 8-2.

Giambi has connected in his last three games and four of his
past five, giving him 16 home runs.

The season-high crowd of 55,246 roared when Beckett was pulled
after walking Alex Rodriguez, and the pitcher looked straight up to
the sky in frustration.

"It was kind of disbelief. Almost in awe that this was going
on," Beckett said.

Francona lifted Varitek and Manny Ramirez in the fourth. The Red
Sox got a home run from Doug Mirabelli and two RBI singles from
Mike Lowell.

Game notes
Mariano Rivera worked a scoreless ninth for the Yankees. He
had been unavailable the previous four games because of back
spasms. ... Beckett has allowed 14 earned runs and six homers over
six innings in his last two outings.