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Red Sox 7, Yankees 5

FORT MYERS, Fla. --Carl Pavano's trouble-filled tenure with the New York Yankees took a positive turn Monday night.

The right-hander felt "pretty good" while allowing two runs in the first three innings of a 7-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox after returning from a bruised foot and missing a start Friday because of his girlfriend's medical problem. He drove 135 miles from Tampa rather than take the team bus.

"It was a long drive," he said. "It was a nice ride just to clear my head a little bit."

Pavano, in the third season of a $39.95 million, four-year contract, last pitched in the major leagues on June 27, 2005, before being sidelined by shoulder, back, buttocks, elbow and rib injuries.

"Considering I hadn't pitched in eight days, I felt pretty good," he said. "It felt good just to get out there and work fastballs in and out and get ahead of some hitters."

Before the game, another pitcher, Boston rookie Daisuke Matsuzaka, posed for photographers near home plate with fellow Red Sox pitcher Hideki Okajima and Yankees left fielder Hideki Matsui. The Japanese players bowed several times to one another and smiled.

"I said to Matsui-san, `I'm sorry to bother you right before your game,' " Matsuzaka said through a translator. "He said, `Don't worry about it. Thanks for coming over to say hello.' He wished me good luck, so I wished him the same and said thanks."

Then the latest installment in one of the biggest rivalries in sports began.

"It's still the rivalry," Yankees manager Joe Torre said, "wherever the players come from."

But the Yankees brought only three regulars -- second baseman Robinson Cano, designated hitter Jason Giambi and Matsui, who went 2-for-4. Left behind in Tampa were Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon and Jorge Posada.

Still, people outside the stadium held signs saying they needed tickets to the 55th consecutive sellout at City of Palms Park.

"It's hard to believe," Torre said. "You'd like to win, but to me, spring training is just getting people in shape and getting the work they need. Again, the attention, the fans crave it. That's good enough for us."

Boston starter Tim Wakefield allowed four runs in four innings before the Red Sox relievers did a nice job.

"This wasn't the Yankee lineup you're going to see in July, but it's still nice to see them pound the strike zone," Boston manager Terry Francona said.

Pavano allowed two runs and four hits with one walk and a strikeout.

"He looked like he was free and easy," Torre said. "I really didn't care about results as much as I did just how he pitched."

Trailing 4-2, Boston scored two runs in the sixth, when J.D. Drew hit a leadoff homer, and three in the seventh.

Notes:@ Giambi, who sat out Sunday's game with a sore calf, returned to the lineup and reported no problems. ... Yankees C Todd Pratt (bruised left heel) played for the second time this spring. "It just feels good to get back out in the field," Pratt said. "The first test was passed today."

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