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Red Sox complete Yankees' sweep

THE Boston Red Sox rallied from a two-run deficit in the eighth inning to maintain their domination of the New York Yankees with a 4-3 victory over the Bronx Bombers on Thursday.

Trailing 1-3 in the bottom of the penultimate inning, the Red Sox scored three runs to secure a 3-game sweep of their bitter rivals and improve to 8-0 against the Yankees this season.

The perfect run marks the first time Boston (36-24) has started the season with eight straight wins over the New York franchise since 1912.

The Red Sox also opened a two-game lead over the Yankees at the top of the American League East division after starting the series a game behind.

J.D. Drew ignited the rally with an run-scoring single, Jason Bay then tied the game with an RBI single before Mike Lowell delivered the go-ahead sacrifice-fly.

Jonathan Papelbon nailed down the final three outs for his 16th save of the year.

"It was electric. You could feel it," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I'd like to sit up here and say it never means more than it means, but it's hard not to get excited.

"I know the fans probably love it."

The Yankees (34-26) appeared to have finally figured out their American League East rivals when they took the lead with three runs in the seventh, capped by a two-RBI double from Alex Rodriguez.

However, prized starter C.C. Sabathia got into trouble in the next inning when he allowed a lead-off single, a walk and then an RBI single before being relieved by Alfredo Aceves.

Pitching in his first game as a part of the historic rivalry, Sabathia was charged with all four runs and struck out six in seven innings. "It definitely stings a lot," Sabathia said. "We lost a ball game we probably should have won. But the bottom line is we have a lot of games left."

Brad Penny, Boston's own off-season signing, threw six scoreless innings and struck out five as David Ortiz smacked a solo homer in the bottom of the second to open the scoring for the home team.

Luckily for the New York Yankees, they have a two-month break before they face the Red Sox again on August 6.

In Oakland, California, Rajai Davis slapped an RBI single in the ninth inning as the Athletics rallied from a late 3-run deficit for a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Adam Kennedy hit a tying 2-run homer in the 3-run eighth for the A's. In other AL action, it was: Red Sox 4, Yankees 3; Rangers 1, Blue Jays 0; White Sox 4, Tigers 3; Rays 11, Angels 1; Indians 4, Royals 3; and Mariners 6, Orioles 3.

In the National League, Aaron Cook pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning as the Colorado Rockies won their eighth straight game by holding off the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4.

In New York, Raul Ibanez hit a 3-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning as Philadelphia handed its NL East rival New York Mets another difficult loss with a 6-3 win.

Elsewhere, it was: Cardinals 6, Marlins 5; Pirates 3, Braves 1; Astros 2, Cubs 1, 13 innings; Diamondbacks 2, Giants 1; and Nationals 3, Reds 2.


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