New York Yankees defeat Boston Red Sox, 5-3

It's getting a little stuffy in here.

Was it only three short weeks ago that a certain baseball pundit declared the American League East race a runaway? (That's right, Shaughnessy, I'm talking to you.) Manny had begun smashing the cover off the ball the way we knew he would. Pitcher Matt Clement was so impressive we actually speculated he might start the All-Star Game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees were reeling, the Orioles were fading, and after a 7-4 victory in Texas July...

Doug Mirabelli knew he and the Red Sox were in trouble long before Al Leiter, the 11th starting pitcher used by the Yankees this season, a major league high, left the mound in the seventh inning, having allowed only three Boston hits en route to a 5-3 New York win.

Mirabelli, up in the fourth, fell behind 0 and 2, and Leiter, staring in at catcher Jorge Posada, began to shake off pitch after pitch after pitch. Mirabelli stepped out to collect himself.

''I asked Posad...