NEW YORK -- After two games in which the Red Sox seemed to come up with a big hit whenever they needed one, they were unable to muster much of anything against the oldest starting pitcher in the major leagues.
Andy Pettitte, 40, limited the Red Sox to a single run over eight innings and was helped by three double plays as the Yankees averted a sweep with a 4-2 win over the Sox.
A double by Eduardo Nunez and a broken-bat single by Lyle Overbay staked Pettitte to a 2-0 lead in the second and Brett Gardner added a solo homer in the third to give the Yanks all the offense they would need.
The Red Sox, who scored 15 runs in the first two games, were blanked until the seventh when Will Middlebrooks singled with two outs and rode home on a double off the right field wall by Jackie Bradley, Jr.
Ryan Dempster, making his Red Sox debut, lasted just five innings, allowing three runs on five hits. He walked four and fanned eight.
The Yankees added an insurance run in the eighth when Francisco Cervelli homered off Clayton Mortensen.
Mariano Rivera, beginning his final season in the major leagues, allowed a ninth inning run but earned his first save of the year.
AT A GLANCE
STAR OF THE GAME: Andy Pettitte
The game's oldest starting pitcher hardly seemed past his prime in stifling the Red Sox on a single run over eight innings. Using his trademark cutter to induce groundouts galore -- including three key double plays -- Pettitte was masterful and helped the Yankees snap a two-game losing streak for their first win of the season
HONORABLE MENTION: Brent Gardner
Gardner was on base three times with a walk, single and solo homer and also made a fine catch on the warning track on a ball scalded by David Ross for the final out in the seventh.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Ryan Dempster
Making his Red Sox debut, Dempster didn't pitch badly -- three runs allowed on five hits -- but his high pitch count (led by four walks) forced him from the game after just five innings.
TURNING POINT: It may be hard to cite a play in the first as a game's turning point, but when Shane Victorino tried -- and failed -- to score from second base on a wild pitch, it might have taken the Sox out of a potentially big inning.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Red Sox have not homered in their first three games, their longest such streak at the start of the season since 1993 when they didn't homer in their first five games.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "That's the stuff we talked about in spring training -- being aggressive and taking advantage of those kind of things. I lost this one, but I'm sure there's going to be another opportunity and I'm going to try to take it again.'' -- Shane Victorino on being cut down at the plate in the first on a wild pitch going to be another opportunity.