Bullpen Wastes Weaver's Gem, Yanks Drop Series

Jeff Weaver left Sunday night's game in the bottom of the seventh inning having allowed just two hits in the game, but with two runners on base. Chris Hammond allowed a game-tying three-run homerun to Jason Varitek before serving up a go-ahead blast to Johnny Damon. The Red Sox nailed down the 6-4 victory to take the weekend series and draw to within 1 1/2 games of the Yankees for first place.

With just one out in the seventh, Weaver walked Trot Nixon and then hit Bill Mueller in the foot with a pitch. With two on, Joe Torre pulled Weaver for Hammond, and the game swayed into Boston's favor.

Damon's homerun forced Hammond from the game before he could record an out. One out later and with two runners on, Jesse Orosco allowed a triple to David Ortiz that put Boston ahead 6-3.

The Yankees attempted a comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning against Byung Hyun Kim. Kim had already lost the first game of this series and blown a save in the second, so the Yankees seemed to have a chance.

Derek Jeter led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a fielder's indifference. With one out, Bernie Williams singled and Hideki Matsui grounded into a fielder's choice that scored Jeter. But Kim got Jorge Posada to fly out to shallow left field – where Manny Ramirez made a slick sliding catch – to end the game.

The Yankees opened up the scoring in the first on Jason Giambi's 29th homerun of the season. Matsui added a run in the third with an RBI single, and Raul Mondesi tacked on a third run by grounding into a bases-loaded fielder's choice.

With a three-run cushion, Weaver cruised through what seemed likely to turn into one of his best starts as a Yankee. Unfortunately the bullpen faltered for the second straight night, denying Weaver – and the Yankees – a victory.

The series between the two AL East powerhouses was everything it promised. Close games, exciting games and unexpected finishes. The Yankees managed to pull out just one win, but going into Fenway Park and expecting much more would be just plain foolish.

After an off-day Monday, the Yankees trek out to Anaheim for a three-game series starting on Tuesday night at 10:05 pm Eastern time. Andy Pettitte (12-6, 4.55) will start the series against the Angels on Friday. The defending World Champions will send Kevin Appier (7-6, 5.28) to the mound.

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