Rodriguez hitless for series


BOSTON (AP) -- The New York Yankees turned themselves around
Sunday -- except for Alex Rodriguez and Jose Contreras.

Derek Jeter went 2-for-4 with two walks and an RBI single in the
six-run third inning, leading the Yankees to a 7-3 victory over the
Red Sox. It was New York's first win against its archrival since
turning Boston back just five outs from the World Series.

"We got a good win today," said Rodriguez, who walked twice
but was 0-for-4 on the day, dropping to 0-for-12 in the series and
.156 on the year. "I'm going to be there offensively, there's no
question in my mind. But it feels good to contribute in some other

Contreras was spotted a six-run lead in the third, but Boston
scored twice in the bottom half and knocked him out after 2 1-3
innings, the shortest of his 11 major league starts. With Paul
Quantrill (1-0) pitching, Rodriguez threw out Manny Ramirez on a
close play at the plate and Travis Lee made a diving stop on Jason
Varitek's grounder, throwing back to the pitcher to barely beat the
runner to first base.

"That probably decided the game," Boston's Kevin Millar said.

Quantrill held Boston to one hit over 2 2-3 innings, and Gabe
White, Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera added four more scoreless

Gary Sheffield doubled twice to help the Yankees rebound from a
poor start by Contreras, who gave up three runs and six hits in his
second rough outing in as many tries.

"I'm not angry at him or upset with him or disappointed,"
Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "It's something we're going to get
right before this thing is over with, because his stuff is

Torre could said the same thing about Rodriguez's troubles at
the plate. The reigning AL MVP, who flirted with the Red Sox before
he was traded to the Yankees this winter, stranded seven runners on
Sunday and drew a sarcastic cheer when he lofted a harmless fly to
center with the bases loaded, ending the ninth.

"You can't keep a good player down. You can't keep a good team
down," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "I have total
confidence in him. ... The numbers are going to be there at the

Pitching on 10 days' rest because of a pair of rainouts that
cost him a start, Derek Lowe (1-1) lasted just 2 2-3 innings. He
allowed seven runs, eight hits and four walks.

"Pitching is a thing of feel and control, and I didn't have
either. ... It was one of the worst outings I've ever had," Lowe
said. "A starter's job is to stop the big inning. The only thing
that saved me was that they actually missed the point after: They
only scored six instead of seven."

Ramirez had two hits for the Red Sox, who beat the Yankees in
the first two games of the series but need a win in the Patriots
Day game on Monday to avoid a split.

Fenway Park was sold out for the 71st consecutive game, but the
scoring outburst in the third took away a lot of the excitement for
the Boston fans who waited all winter for this series. The rivalry,
already intense in the eight decades since Babe Ruth went to New
York in 1920, hit a new high when Aaron Boone homered in the 11th
inning of the seventh game of the AL championship series beat
Boston and send the Yankees to the World Series.

The Red Sox tried to get Rodriguez from Texas over the winter in
an effort to avoid finishing second to New York for the seventh
consecutive year, but they failed to land him. When Boone blew out
his knee, New York closed the deal, and the animosity between the
two cities spiked again.

Jeter was 2-for-10 with three strikeouts and two errors in the
first two games of the series. But his RBI single tied the game 1-1
in the second. Lowe was knocked out in the third, allowing six
runs, six hits and a walk in the inning.

Rodriguez drew a leadoff walk, Jason Giambi singled, Sheffield
doubled, Hideki Matsui singled and Jorge Posada doubled.

Travis Lee struck out, but Enrique Wilson singled and, after
Jeter grounded out, Bernie Williams doubled to make it 7-1.

Mark Malaska relieved Lowe and got Rodriguez to hit a line drive
to center that Johnny Damon snagged by reaching high above his

Given a cushy lead to work with, Contreras almost gave it back.

Damon singled to lead off the bottom half and Bill Mueller
walked. After Damon took third on a flyout, Ramirez doubled in two
runs and Kevin Millar walked.

Contreras left after his first offering to Ellis Burks was a
wild pitch that put runners on second and third. Quantrill got
Burks to ground to Rodriguez, who made the play home.

Game notes
New York placed OF Kenny Lofton (strained muscle in his
right quadriceps) and RHP Jorge DePaula (sprained right elbow) on
the 15-day DL. ... RHP Scott Proctor and LHP Alex Graman were
recalled from Triple-A Columbus. Graman is scheduled to start
against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. ... The Yankees went 27
innings over four games without a multi-run inning before scoring
six in the third inning on Sunday. ... Boston acquired minor league
pitcher Scott Cassidy from Toronto for a player to be named.
Cassidy went 1-4 with a 5.73 ERA in 58 games with Toronto in 2002.
He will report to Boston's Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket.