Series: Game 1 of 3

NY Yankees leads 1-0 (as of 6/29)

Game 1: Tuesday, June 29
NY Yankees11
Game 2: Wednesday, June 30
NY Yankees4
Game 3: Thursday, July 1
in 13
NY Yankees5

Red Sox 3

(42-33, 17-19 away)

Yankees 11

(48-26, 26-10 home)

7:05 PM ET, June 29, 2004

Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York 

123456789 R H E
BOS 101001000 3 9 3
NYY 01332110 - 11 12 0

W: J. Vazquez (9-5)

L: D. Lowe (6-7)

Lowe allows career-high nine runs

NEW YORK (AP) -- Johnny Damon hit the second pitch of the night into the right-field upper deck. The Red Sox looked as if they were ready to burst by the Yankees again.

Then, New York made Boston's April dominance seem like distant history.

Tony Clark

Gary Sheffield

Gary Sheffield hit a three-run homer, Tony Clark sent a rare drive into the center-field bleachers and Javier Vazquez beat the Red Sox for the first time in his career, leading the Yankees to an 11-3 victory Tuesday night.

"We were jacked up for this one," Sheffield said.

With Vice President Dick Cheney looking on and a sellout crowd of 55,231 yelling from the first pitch, there was a postseason atmosphere at Yankee Stadium. And the Yankees, who went 1-6 against Boston in April and dropped 4½ games out of first, responded with a playoff-type performance, opening a season-high 6½-game AL East lead over the second-place Red Sox.

"After the way they manhandled us the first time, you're wondering how you stack up," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

New York has never failed to finish first after leading by at least 6½ games. The 1933 Yankees led by six, then finished behind Washington.

"You want to try to get some breathing room," Derek Jeter said.

Damon had a pair of solo homers and David Ortiz hit his 20th, tying teammate Manny Ramirez for the league lead. But the Red Sox, seeking to win four straight at Yankee Stadium in one season for the first time since 1986, were done in by atrocious defense and a poor outing by Derek Lowe (6-7), who allowed a career-high nine runs, although just five were earned.

"They beat us pretty much in every facet of the game," Lowe said.

After the long first-inning homer, Damon put the ball deep into the right-field bleachers in the third. That was the high-point for Boston.

"Johnny Damon was like Babe Ruth tonight," Rodriguez said.

Following a 15-6 start, the Red Sox have gone 27-27 since April, putting pressure on themselves to keep up.

"We have to do better," Boston manager Terry Francona said.

Hideki Matsui, 11-for-19 (.579) against Lowe with 11 RBI, hit a tiebreaking two-run single in a three-run third that made it 4-2. It came one pitch after Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, running on their own decision, pulled off a double steal.

"That's just some of the little things that help you win games," Jeter said. "You pick your spots."

New York had four steals to match its season high, and Jeter had three hits to raise his average to a season-best .272, up from .189 on May 26.

The Red Sox, who have lost six of nine overall, made three errors and allowed four unearned runs, raising their total to a major league-leading 58. Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who missed the April games with Achilles tendinitis, was Boston's Achilles' heel, allowing Jeter's two-out grounder in the fourth to kick off the heel of his glove for his second error of the game.

"There were just too many mistakes out there," Damon said.

Sheffield followed with a three-run homer that boosted New York's lead to 7-2. Fans responded with chants of "Thank you, Nomar!"

"We try to make plays. There's nothing wrong," Garciaparra said.

Second baseman Pokey Reese bobbled Jorge Posada's fifth-inning grounder, failing to help turn what would have been an inning-ending double play. Clark followed with a two-run homer, joining Bernie Williams and Danny Tartabull as the only players to reach the center-field bleachers more than once since the remodeled Yankee Stadium opened in 1976.

Rodriguez, 7-for-28 in the April games against Boston after going 1-for-17 at Fenway Park, was 1-for-4 with an RBI grounder, a walk and a single that bounded off third base and 20 feet into the air -- it would've been a run-scoring double had it not hit the bag.

Boston outscored the Yankees 35-19 in April and beat Vazquez (9-5) twice, dropping him to 0-3 against the Red Sox. This time, he matched his season best with eight strikeouts, allowing three runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. The three homers matched his career high.

Cheney, who visited both clubhouses after batting practice, watched part of the game from the box of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and part from a first-row seat next to the Yankees dugout, where he sat between New York Gov. George Pataki and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Cheney was booed when he was shown on the right-field videoboard during the seventh-inning stretch.

But mostly it was a night of cheering in the ballpark.

Next up, Boston sends Tim Wakefield (4-5) to face Jon Lieber (5-5) and Pedro Martinez to pitch against rookie Brad Halsey (1-1).

"This team is resilient," Kevin Millar said. "You shower, you think of what you could have done better and you come back tomorrow."

Game notes

Williams and Tartabull reached the CF bleachers three times each. Clark became the first player to do it with both the Yankees and a visiting team (Detroit). ... Millar had a 12-pitch at-bat when he struck out in the third. ... One fan hung pictures of former Boston manager Grady Little from the upper deck for each of Vazquez's strikeouts.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press