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April 5, 2013

Pettitte, Rivera pitch Yankees past Sox

NEW YORK (AP) — Andy Pettitte was a rock on the mound in his latest gritty performance. Mariano Rivera jogged in from the bullpen to nail down a ninth-inning lead.

Following two straight duds to start the season, the banged-up New York Yankees finally looked like themselves last night.

Pettitte pitched the Yankees to their first win of the year and Rivera made a successful return to the mound in New York’s 4-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli homered for the Yankees, providing some unexpected power to a depleted lineup missing the “sore four” — Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson.

Lyle Overbay had a two-run single off Ryan Dempster (0-1), who struck out eight in his Boston debut but needed 101 pitches to get through five innings. The two-time All-Star signed a $26.5 million, two-year contract in December.

“Just got outpitched by the guy on the other side of the field,” Dempster said.

“I made a lot of good pitches and a couple balls fell in. That was enough to win the game.”

Looking for their first season-opening sweep at Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox were handcuffed by a pair of New York greats.

The 40-year-old Pettitte (1-0) tossed eight sharp innings on a 43-degree night and Rivera entered to a standing ovation from those left in the bundled-up crowd of 40,611 as the familiar chords of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” blared over the Yankee Stadium speakers.

Baseball’s career saves leader, set to retire after this season, missed most of last year after tearing a knee ligament May 3 while shagging flies during batting practice in Kansas City.

Rivera issued a leadoff walk to Dustin Pedroia and gave up a one-out double to Jonny Gomes before Will Middlebrooks drove in a run with a groundout. But the right-hander threw a called third strike past rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. for his 609th save and first since April 30 last year at Baltimore.

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