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Red Sox 2, Yankees 4: Andy Pettitte shuts down Sox, Yankees avoid sweep

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Andy Pettitte threw eight strong innings, and Mariano Rivera finished the job as the Yankees avoided the sweep and dealt the Red Sox their first loss of the young season.

Elsa

The Yankees avoided a sweep and dealt the Red Sox their first loss of the season behind a gem of an outing from Andy Pettitte.

On a night when Pettitte was simply finding the strike zone with pitch after pitch, it was up to the Red Sox to rise to the challenge and knock enough of them into the outfield to give the veteran lefty some pause. Simply put, they did not. The first inning was the closest they'd get to scoring in the first six. Following a pair of hits, a pitch would get past Francisco Cervelli to the backstop. Cervelli was in no great rush to get to the plate, and Pettitte wasn't covering, so Shane Victorino just rounded third and kept right on running. In the end, it was a close play at home, but Victorino was out, and the inning was over.

From there, it was just a fat lot of nothing. The Sox would put men on in both the second and third innings, but both times double plays would erase them. With the knowledge that taking a pitch was basically giving up a strike to Pettitte, the Red Sox swung early, and Pettitte cruised through the first six with ease.

Things were not going nearly so smoothly for Ryan Dempster. With the umpire not giving him an inside corner he desperately wanted, Dempster struggled to get ahead in the count, and found himself with plenty of three-ball counts. While sometimes his stuff was up to the task of making hitters look bad--Ichiro at one point struck out on a pitch that bounced--Dempster was inconsistent enough that every at bat that didn't result in a walk or strikeout seemed to be a hard hit.

The result: lots of baserunners, lots of scary moments, and a couple times when those fears were realized. The first came in the second , when singles from Travis Hafner, Eduardo Nunez, and Lyle Overbay produced a pair of runs. The second time came on the first pitch of the third, when Brett Gardner found the stands in right for a solo shot that made it 3-0.

The Sox would finally show some life in the seventh, when Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled home Will Middlebrooks to make it 3-1, but Clayton Mortensen quickly let the Yankees make up for that by surrendering a long homer to Francisco Cervelli in the bottom half of the inning. The Red Sox would mount a rally against Mariano Rivera, but a ground ball out from Will Middlebrooks got the Red Sox just one run, and Jackie Bradley Jr., representing the tying run, struck out looking at a pitch away to end the game.