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Minor leaguer a major asset for Red Sox

Kason Gabbard came up from Triple A and stuck around just long enough to give the Boston Red Sox a win.

Kason Gabbard came up from Triple A and stuck around just long enough to give the Boston Red Sox a win.

Gabbard was called up from Pawtucket yesterday morning, waited through a storm that delayed his first pitch 2 1/2 hours, and went back down to the minors after striking out a career-high seven batters to lead Boston to a 6-3 victory over the Braves.

"It's not an easy thing for him," manager Terry Francona said. "He stayed ready. It's not an easy thing for anyone to do."

Making his 2007 debut, Gabbard (1-0) held Atlanta hitless through 3 2/3 innings and retired 12 of the first 13 batters he faced. He walked one and allowed six hits, leaving with a 6-0 lead after giving up back-to-back hits to start the sixth inning.

He was optioned back to Triple A after the game, and declined to comment on his start. Manny Delcarmen was called up so the Red Sox could have an extra reliever heading into this week's series with the Yankees, with Boston holding a double-digit lead over New York and Baltimore.

"If we need some help, we didn't want to get caught short," Francona said.

Brendan Donnelly relieved Gabbard and allowed both inherited runners to score. Atlanta reloaded the bases before Javier Lopez came in and retired Scott Thorman on a 3-6-1 doubleplay to end the inning.

Jason Varitek was 2-for-4 with three RBI for the Red Sox.

In other interleague games:

* At New York, Tyler Clippard, promoted from Triple A earlier in the day, allowed three hits over six innings to help lead the Yankees to a 6-2 win over the host Mets. Clippard (1-0), called up after Darrell Rasner broke a finger in Saturday's game, became the seventh rookie pitcher to start for the Yankees this season.

Alex Rodriguez hit his big league-leading 17th homer and Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada also connected for the Yankees.

* At Houston, Mark Teixeira and Victor Diaz each hit two of Texas' season-high six home runs, and Ramon Vazquez also homered and drove in five runs as the Rangers defeated the Astros, 14-1.

* At Anaheim, Calif., Kelvim Escobar (5-2) rebounded from his worst outing of the season with eight shutout innings, and the Los Angeles Angels completed a sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 4-1 victory.

* At Chicago, A.J. Pierzynski hit a grand slam in a seven-run seventh inning and Nick Masset won his first major league start as the White Sox averted a sweep with a 10-6 win over the host Cubs.

* At Oakland, Matt Morris (5-1) pitched a two-hitter and struck out a season-high nine and San Francisco defeated the Athletics, 4-1, to avoid getting swept in the first interleague installment of the Bay Bridge Series.

* At Seattle, Justin Germano (2-0) held the Mariners to an unearned run and six hits in six innings and San Diego beat the Mariners, 2-1. Germano, promoted from Triple A Portland on May 8, has allowed one run and 12 hits in 19 innings for a 0.47 earned run average.

* At Detroit, Justin Verlander (5-1) stayed unbeaten in May and Brandon Inge homered to help the Tigers defeat St. Louis, 6-3, in a World Series rematch with the defending champions.

* At Cleveland, Paul Byrd stayed unbeaten this season at Jacobs Field and the Indians matched the best home start in their 107-year history with a 5-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Byrd (4-1) improved to 4-0 in Cleveland and the Indians pushed baseball's best home record to 16-4. That record includes a 2-1 mark at Milwaukee's Miller Park where an April series was moved due to cold weather.

The only other time they started as well in home games was 1995, when the Indians also opened 16-4 - on the way to their first World Series appearance in 41 years.

* At St. Petersburg, Fla., Sergio Mitre (2-2) allowed three runs over seven innings and Florida rallied to complete a three-game sweep with a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay.

The Marlins rallied from a 3-1 deficit, scoring three runs in the eighth against the Devil Rays' struggling bullpen.

* At Washington, Nook Logan's two-run single off reliever Danys Baez with two outs in the eighth inning helped the Nationals rally from a two-run deficit in a 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

* At Milwaukee, Geoff Jenkins hit his 200th career homer and had five RBI, including the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, to help lead the Brewers to a 6-5 win over Minnesota.

* At Denver, Ryan Shealy's broken-bat single to right in the 12th inning brought in the go-ahead run and Joel Peralta added a two-run double in his first major league at-bat as the Kansas City Royals beat the Colorado Rockies, 10-5.

In a National League game:

* At Pittsburgh, Randy Johnson (2-2), rounding into shape following offseason back surgery, struck out 10 in 5 2/3 innings to win his second start in a row and pitch the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-2 victory over the Pirates.


* The New York Daily News, citing anonymous sources, reported the Yankees might attempt to terminate Jason Giambi's contract if he is found to have used illegal substances after he signed a 7-year, $120 million contract in 2001.

The newspaper reported that sources said Giambi's contract contains language that would allow the team to void the deal if he uses illegal substances while with the club.

On Friday, the designated hitter told USA Today that he once used steroids. The commissioner's office is investigating the comment.

* Rookie outfielder Josh Hamilton was sent back to Cincinnati by the Reds to be checked out by team doctors after he was diagnosed with a stomach ailment on Saturday. He was taken to Lutheran Hospital at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday. The club said he had gastroenteritis, an inflammation or infection of the gastrointestinal tract.

* The White Sox activated Jim Thome from the 15-day disabled list and optioned outfielder Ryan Sweeney to Triple A Charlotte. Thome, on the DL since April 29 with a strained muscle in his rib cage, was called back from a rehab assignment with Charlotte. *