Boston takes 2 out of 3

BOSTON (AP) -- The revived Red Sox are playing with such
intensity that even John Kerry offered a high-five.

The Democratic presidential candidate cheered from a seat next to the Boston dugout Sunday night and slapped hands with Kevin Millar after the first baseman's fifth-inning homer during Red Sox's 9-6 win over the New York Yankees.

"He was fired up," Millar said. "I was just high-fiving the
fans and his hand was the last one."

The Red Sox gave their fans plenty to cheer in the last two
games of the series with the Yankees, who were threatening to run
away with the AL East title. Boston fell a season-high 9 games
behind after an 8-7 loss Friday, then cut that to 7 with an 11-10
win Saturday and Sunday's victory.

"We got the feeling back last night," Millar said. "We had to
get that swagger back that we had last year."

Kerry, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch, left after the
eighth inning.

Starting with Bill Mueller's winning homer in the bottom of the
ninth against Mariano Rivera on Saturday, Boston's renewed
intensity has paid off.

"It was a World Series atmosphere," said Johnny Damon, who
went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer. "The fans across America got
to see the greatest rivalry in sports."

Millar went 10-for-13 in the series with four homers and eight
RBI after hitting six homers with 24 RBI in 87 games. He
attributed that to a change in his stance he made in Wednesday's
home game against Baltimore that allowed him to pull the ball

"It's all feel," he said after raising his batting average to
.297. "Now I feel good."

The win came one day after a bench-clearing brawl.

"Maybe that's something we needed," Damon said. "We do have a
little more fire in us."

Derek Lowe (9-9) pitched one of his best games in a subpar
season, helping the Red Sox improve to 8-5 in the season series
with six games remaining.

"They gained a game on us, but we can't worry about what
they're doing," Derek Jeter said.

Jose Contreras (8-4) struggled again against the Red Sox,
allowing eight runs in 5 1-3 innings. Contreras is 0-4 in five
career appearances against the Red Sox since the Yankees outbid
Boston for him before last season.

"He wasn't good right from the get-go," Yankees manager Joe
Torre said. "We had a two-run lead and he just wasn't aggressive

Hideki Matsui's fourth career grand slam cut the lead to 9-6 in
the seventh against Mike Timlin, but the Yankees wasted an
opportunity in the eighth with one out and runners at second and

Jeter lined the ball off Keith Foulke's leg. It bounced to Doug
Mirabelli whose throw to first hit Jeter as Enrique Wilson crossed
the plate.

Home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt ruled Jeter out for running
inside the baseline and Wilson returned to third. Gary Sheffield
then lined out to left-fielder Manny Ramirez.

"The rule doesn't make much sense," Jeter said. "The
home-plate umpire said that I got hit when I was lunging for the
bag. The bag is not in the lane you're supposed to run in."

Foulke, who gave up the winning run in the ninth inning Friday,
then got three outs for his 16th save in 21 chances.

Asked before the game if Saturday's brawl involving New York's
Alex Rodriguez and Boston catcher Jason Varitek reminded him of
politicians' behavior, Kerry said with a smile, "Don't we do that
every day?"

Rodriguez and Varitek were ejected after A-Rod was hit by a
pitch by Bronson Arroyo in the third inning. After what Varitek
said were some "choice words," the catcher pushed Rodriguez in
the face, bringing both teams out of their dugouts. Outfielders
Gabe Kapler of Boston and Kenny Lofton of New York also were

Varitek was out of the lineup Sunday with a sore right wrist, an
injury he thinks he might have gotten during the fight. He said he
could have played if necessary.

There were three hit batsmen Sunday, New York's Jorge Posada in
the first and Boston's Mirabelli and Millar in the second.

After Millar was hit, Wendelstedt warned Contreras and both
dugouts then talked with Torre near the plate. All three runners
went to first base without incident.

The Yankees led 2-0 in the first on Sheffield's RBI single and
Matsui's sacrifice fly. The Red Sox tied it in the bottom half on
Millar's two-run single.

Boston made it 6-2 in the second, scoring four runs with no
outs. Mirabelli was hit by a pitch, Kapler singled, Damon hit his
13th homer of the year off the right-field pole and Mark Bellhorn
hit his 12th.

Millar, who had three homers Friday, hit his 11th in the fifth
and Boston made it 9-2 in the sixth on David Ortiz's RBI double and
Millar's run-scoring single.

Game notes
Kerry was among at least five U.S. senators at the game and
sat next to former Sen. John Glenn. ... New England Patriots coach
Bill Belichick also attended. ... Contreras allowed eight earned
runs in 5 1-3 innings after giving up three in his previous 21 2-3.
... Lowe allowed two unearned runs, giving him a major league-high
23 this season.