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Thursday May 24, 2001
Red Sox 1 @ Yankees 2

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BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- The New York Yankees need not worry about facing Pedro Martinez three times in a 13-day span. They will have Mike Mussina on the mound each time.

Mussina struck out a season-high 12 batters over eight innings to outduel the three-time Cy Young Award winner as the Yankees edged the Boston Red Sox, 2-1.

Bernie Williams homered and slumping Paul O'Neill had a run-scoring single for the Yankees, who completed a sweep of the abbreviated two-game series and moved ahead of the Red Sox into first place in the American League East.

Mussina (5-4) allowed one run and six hits and bailed out left fielder Chuck Knoblauch of a potentially disastrous gaffe in the seventh inning.

Mariano Rivera retired the side in order for his 13th save.

Because of Tuesday's rainout, Mussina and Martinez are scheduled to oppose each other next Wednesday at Fenway Park and again on June 4 in a makeup game at Yankee Stadium.

"I'm not pitching against Pedro as much as the nine guys who go up to the plate," Mussina said. "My concern is what I can do with their guys."

Martinez (6-1) also struck out 12 in his first complete game of the season but lost for the first time since September 20 against Cleveland. He allowed six hits, walked three and reached double digits in strikeouts for the 76th time in his career.

But the Yankees have no fear against a pitcher recognized by many as the best in baseball. Martinez has lost his last three decisions against New York, and the Yankees have won the last five games he has started.

"I have no idea why," Boston manager Jimy Williams said. "We have had a lot of key pitching performances against him."

Martinez scattered three singles over the first three innings before Williams homered for the second straight game, belting a 1-2 pitch over the right-center field wall to open the fourth.

The Yankees manufactured a run off Martinez in the fifth. Scott Brosius led off with a single and advanced to second on a one-out walk to Knoblauch. Derek Jeter hit a potential double-play ball to shortstop, but second baseman Jose Offerman failed to get the ball out of his glove in time to make the throw to first base.

That set the stage for O'Neill, who was battling a 2-for-28 slump. He reached for a low, outside pitch and golfed it into left field for an RBI single.

"I'm not thinking about Pedro, I'm just thinking about putting the ball in play and get a base hit with men in scoring position," O'Neill said. "I'm going to do that more and I'm going to hit one into the upper deck."

With Shea Hillenbrand on first in the seventh, Brian Daubauch hit a short fly ball down the left field line. Knoblauch appeared to lose the ball momentarily in the sun and backed off as shortstop Jeter approached.

The ball bounced into the stands for a ground rules double, keeping Hillenbrand at third base. Mussina took advantage by striking out Trot Nixon to end the inning.

"That ball never got out of the sun," Yankees manager Joe Torre said of Daubach's fly ball. "We caught a break when it went into the stands."

Manny Ramirez gave Mussina a scare when he flied out to deep right-center field in the top of the sixth. Carl Everett had no success against Mussina, striking out four times.

The 12 strikeouts were the most for Mussina since he tied a career high with 15 on September 24 at Boston while with Baltimore.

"Both (pitchers) were on top of their games," Boston catcher Jason Varitek said. "It was just one run. We didn't do it offensively."

The Red Sox scored their only run in the third. Mussina retired the first eight batters he faced with four strikeouts before Nixon lined a single to right field and scored on a ground single to right by Offerman.