Final

Yankees 9

(1-3, 1-2 away)

Red Sox 2

(5-2, 4-1 home)

7:05 PM ET, March 7, 2005

City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida 

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NYY 020211030 9 - -
BOS 000100100 2 - -

New York 9, Boston 2

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- Jason Giambi answered the boos with a blast -- and the Yankees beat the Red Sox when it didn't count.

In his best game since becoming the public face of baseball's steroids controversy, Giambi went 2-for-5 with a homer to center field and the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 9-2 Monday night in an exhibition game.

"A lot of the hard work paid off tonight," said Giambi, 3-for-12 this spring. "Every day is getting better and better."

The Yankees couldn't beat the Red Sox when it did count last season, losing four straight games after taking a 3-0 lead in the AL championship series. That was the worst postseason collapse in baseball history and Boston swept St. Louis in the World Series.

Monday night's game at City of Palms Park -- the first between the teams since the Game 7 loss at Yankee Stadium -- was much better for Giambi, who was not on the ALCS roster.

"Tonight was a good night for him," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "I'm sure he feels good about it. I know we were pleased because he didn't let the emotion of where we were and who we were playing against interfere with what he was working on."

The game was a minor event in the rich rivalry between the teams. It was the Yankees' first win since Game 3 of the ALCS. They were 0-4-1 in their previous four exhibition games.

Giambi took it all in stride despite the boos before each at-bat -- signing autographs for 25 minutes, knocking fists with on-deck hitter Bernie Williams after his homer in the fifth that made it 5-1 and trotting back to the dugout after a routine groundout in the ninth.

Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter didn't make the two-hour trip from Tampa, so he was the visitors' main attraction.

With fans chanting "Steroids!", Giambi hit a solo shot just to the right of the 410-foot mark in center field.

"Everybody knows that he's not using anything and he still hit the ball like that," Boston's David Ortiz said. "People ought to give Jason a chance. He's a great dude, man."

The San Francisco Chronicle reported in December that Giambi told a federal grand jury in 2003 that he had used steroids.

Hideki Matsui also hit a solo homer for the Yankees and Bubba Crosby drove in three runs with a double and triple as the Yankees pounded seven pitchers for 14 hits.

Starter Chien-Ming Wang, likely the first pitcher the Yankees would recall from the minors, threw two scoreless innings for the win.

Abe Alvarez allowed two runs on four hits in the first two innings and took the loss. He gave up Giambi's single after hearing fans boo the Yankees fallen star.

"I try to shut them out, but you still hear them," Alvarez said.

Trot Nixon homered for Boston, which lost its sixth straight exhibition game to New York. It was Nixon's criticism of Rodriguez on Feb. 15 that started a week of sniping by Boston players against the New York third baseman.

Monday's atmosphere was much different than the Yankees' last spring training victory over the Red Sox exactly one year earlier on the same field.

That was Rodriguez's first game against Boston with New York after the Red Sox had failed to obtain him in a trade with Texas. More of the Yankees' big names went to that game and the media contingent was larger.

The Yankees first baseman in that game also showed power -- two homers by Tony Clark in an 11-7 victory that Giambi didn't play in. Giambi's homer Monday was his second after last June 20.

The Yankees went ahead 2-0 in the second on RBI singles by Russ Johnson and David Parrish. They made it 4-0 on Crosby's triple in the fourth. Nixon homered in the bottom of the fourth before Giambi connected. Johnson's sacrifice fly made it 6-1 in the sixth. ^Notes:@ Ruben Sierra was a late scratch from the Yankees' lineup when he strained the left side of his rib cage in batting practice. ...The seven Yankees regulars who made the two-hour trip from Tampa were Giambi, Matsui, Crosby, Sierra, Williams, Tony Womack and, Rey Sanchez. ... Boston scored a run in the seventh on Adam Hyzdu's RBI single. ... David Wells threw a simulated game for Boston before the game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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