Originally created 08/22/06

Yankees savor sweet sweep



BOSTON - The New York Yankees celebrated in the dugout as if they'd just clinched a playoff berth.

In a way, they've done everything but.

Hugging and shaking hands after a demoralizing five-game sweep of the rival Red Sox, the Yankees took a season-high 6-game lead in the AL East with a 2-1 victory over Boston on Monday. The Yankees hadn't swept Boston in five games in more than half a century.

"A sweep in Boston?" winning pitcher Cory Lidle said, pausing before breaking out in a big smile. "Pretty awesome."

After outscoring the Red Sox 47-25 in four games over three days and two early mornings, the Yankees rediscovered their pitching to win the sleepy series finale at Fenway Park.

"Everything went about as wrong as it could," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

Lidle (2-2) pitched six shutout innings in his third - and best - start since coming to New York at the trading deadline along with more-heralded slugger Bobby Abreu.

With All-Star closer Mariano Rivera unavailable after pitching two innings to win Sunday night's game - actually, it ended at 1:26 a.m. Monday - Kyle Farnsworth pitched the ninth for his second save in six tries.

"It was emotional," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "When you're sitting there, a manager's dream is to have these guys, their attitude. The guys that didn't play today - you had to be in the dugout to hear the support that they gave each other."

There were a lot of regulars not playing for the Yankees, who rested three regulars - center fielder Johnny Damon, catcher Jorge Posada and first baseman Jason Giambi - and used Derek Jeter at designated hitter.

David Wells (2-3) coasted through the makeshift lineup for five innings before Abreu doubled in Melky Cabrera to break the scoreless tie.

Nick Green doubled and scored on a wild pitch in the eighth to make it 2-0. Wily Mo Pena homered off Scott Proctor for Boston's only run.

It was 28 years ago that the Yankees came to Fenway in September with a four-game deficit and left tied for the division lead, a series remembered in baseball as the "Boston Massacre." New York, which had trailed by as many as 14 games, won the AL East in a one-game playoff settled when Bucky Dent's popup settled into the net above the Green Monster.

The Red Sox hadn't been swept in a five-game series since the Cleveland Indians did it in 1954.

"It's been an emotional weekend," Red Sox second baseman Mark Loretta said. "It's been physically challenging and emotionally challenging for both sides. It's a little easier to take if you're winning."