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Red Sox-Yankees Preview

Red Sox-Yankees Preview
Chien-Ming Wang erased a long history of struggles at Fenway Park with a dominating performance last weekend, pitching the New York Yankees to a win against the Boston Red Sox.

Clay Buchholz's history at Yankee Stadium begins Wednesday.

New York's ace and Boston's rookie will square off for the second time in less than a week, as the rivals begin a brief two-game series with the Red Sox seeking their fifth straight win.

Wang (3-0, 1.23 ERA) called last Friday's two-hitter in Boston his best performance as a Yankee, as he walked none and allowed only J.D. Drew's solo home run and Coco Crisp's bunt single in New York's 4-1 victory.

"His sinker was outstanding," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He was at the top of his game."

The effort came on the heels of two other impressive starts, and Wang has now allowed just three runs and 12 hits in 22 innings this season. He had been just 2-3 with a 6.17 ERA in six career starts at Fenway before Friday.

"I felt especially good about this because I threw the ball well here in Boston and never pitched well here," Wang said through a translator.

He's been much better against the Red Sox at home, going 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA in six appearances. He carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of a 5-0 win against Boston last Aug. 30.

Buchholz (0-1, 3.27), meanwhile, had never faced the Yankees before last week, but he allowed only four hits and one run in six innings, keeping the game tied despite Wang's performance.

The rookie, who threw a no-hitter against Baltimore as a September call-up last year, is still looking for his first win as a starter since that game.

"That's the best start that I've had this year," Buchholz told his team's official Web site. "It's just something to build off of. I didn't do anything great. I think I did the little things good enough to get by and keep the team in the game to win."

The Red Sox (9-6) haven't lost since that game, taking the three-game series against the Yankees and sweeping a two-game set in Cleveland thanks to some late heroics. Ninth-inning home runs by Manny Ramirez and Jason Varitek broke ties on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

Varitek's was an opposite-field, pinch-hit home run as Boston won 5-3.

"I've had my fair share of appearances as a pinch-hitter over my career," Varitek said. "I haven't been able to do that very often."

Ramirez and Varitek have had different experiences against Wang, with Ramirez going 13-for-25 and Varitek hitting 1-for-19. David Ortiz, who has three hits in his last two games after totaling only three in 43 at-bats to start the season, also has 15 hits and 10 RBIs in 33 career at-bats against Wang.

The Yankees (8-7) also swept a two-game series this week, winning a pair of games at Tampa Bay. After blowing a five-run lead before winning 8-7 on Monday, New York won 5-3 on Tuesday behind seven strong innings from Andy Pettitte.

"I think it was important that we won these two games," Girardi said. "We go home with a 4-4 road trip that didn't start off too well. We lost the first two, won a couple, then lost two more. Hopefully it carries over."

Derek Jeter, back in the lineup the last two games after missing the previous six with a strained quadriceps, has gone 5-for-9 since returning. Jorge Posada may not be ready to catch until this weekend after serving as the team's DH while he recovered from a shoulder injury.

Boston's first trip to the Bronx in Yankee Stadium's final season coincides with the Yankees' only home games in a three-week stretch. The Red Sox have had plenty of ups and downs in the Bronx, losing Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS there before completing a comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the same series the next year in New York.

But Boston went just 3-6 at Yankee Stadium last season, dropping its last four games there.

After Josh Beckett and Mike Mussina face off Thursday, the rivals don't meet again until July 3 in Boston.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 16, 2008

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