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Red Sox At Yankees: New York Aims To KO Boston's Playoff Hopes

(Sports Network) - Andy Pettitte makes his second start after missing more than two months with a groin injury when the New York Yankees try to move one step closer to the postseason tonight in the first of three-games against the hated Boston Red Sox.

Pettitte took a big-league hill for the first time since July 18 Sunday in Baltimore and pitched well, as he allowed a run and three hits in six innings. He was in line to get the win, but the Orioles rallied against the New York bullpen for the victory.

"I didn't feel great the first couple of innings, but as the game went on I got real comfortable with my mechanics," said Pettitte, who is 11-2 with a 2.81 ERA. "I'm very encouraged."

The Yankees are going to need a big effort from Pettitte tonight if they plan on remaining on top in the American League East. Last night, CC Sabathia was rocked for six runs as a part of a seven-run seventh inning for the Tampa Bay Rays, who pulled within a half-game of the Yankees for first place in the American League East in a 10-3 rout.

Sabathia (20-7) allowed seven runs on 10 hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings to take the loss.

The Yankees also fell one-half game behind AL Central champion Minnesota for the league's best record.

While Tampa finishes its season against the likes of Seattle, Baltimore and Kansas City, the Yankees play six of their final nine games against Boston.

The Red Sox are still clinging to their own postseason hopes, but it is a longshot. They sit 7 1/2 games back of New York in the division and seven games back of Tampa Bay in the Wild Card race.

Boston has won just two of its last six games, but it has won its last four on the road.

Getting the call for the Red Sox this evening will be righty Josh Beckett, who has lost two of his last three decisions. Beckett absorbed the loss on Saturday against Toronto, as he surrendered four runs (three earned) and 10 hits in seven innings, dropping him to 5-5 on the year to go along with a 5.71 ERA.