Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 4, Yankees 2

BOSTON -- The New York Yankees lost as Andy Pettitte struggled early and New York again didn't have enough offense.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees are now seven games behind the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox.

ROUGH START: Not only did the Yankees begin the second half by putting their captain back on the shelf, on the second pitch Pettitte threw, Jacoby Ellsbury nailed a homer. In the second, Jonny Gomes, who has always hit Pettitte, drilled a two-run homer off him. After two innings, the Yankees were down three-nil.

It appeared the struggles that Pettitte finished with in the first half had continued into the second half.

STAYING POWER: Considering the way Pettitte started, it was pretty amazing that he lasted into the seventh. After a cheap double to Gomes that blooped just inside the right-field line and popped into the seats, and a groundout, Shawn Kelley relieved Pettitte. Kelley let the inherited runner score.

So Pettitte's line was fine considering how he began. He went 6 1/3 innings and gave up four runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked one. The Yankees just have no offense.

NUMBERS NEVER LIE: Still, this was the seventh straight start in which Pettitte has allowed four runs or more. That is tied for the longest such streak in his career, which occurred in -- of all years -- 1998, according to ESPN researcher Katie Sharp.

LITTLE-LEAGUE RUN: Through four innings, the Yankees didn't have a hit, but they did have a run off Felix Doubront. Brett Gardner walked and then took advantage of Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the dish. Gardner first stole second. Then, with Robinson Cano up, Gardner took third and Saltalamacchia's throw ended up on the wrong side of third base and down the line. Gardner scored.

TWO-LIVE STEW: To lead off the fifth, Lyle Overbay broke up the no-no with a double to left-center field. After two outs, Chris Stewart came through with an RBI double to cut Boston's lead to one.

OVERREACTION: The Yankees don't have many really good players in their lineup these days. After Robinson Cano, Gardner is the most valuable, healthy regular. He has to know that -- and act accordingly.

With Stewart on second in the fifth and a chance to tie the game, Gardner took a 3-2 pitch. He thought it was low. Home plate ump Mike Everitt called it strike three. Gardner slammed down his helmet with both hands. He was ejected. The Yankees instantly got worse on offense and defense. A depleted team can't afford that.

ZOILO CATCHES THE BUG: Zoilo Almonte is the latest hurt Yankee. He had to leave in the game in the middle of the fifth with a sprained ankle. Almonte appeared to hurt the ankle running through first, trying to beat out a double play. X-rays on Almonte were negative, but we will see in the postgame if he must go to the DL.

MUSICAL CHAIRS: With Gardner and Almonte out, the Yankees had to move Brent Lillibridge from third to right. Luis Cruz came in at third, while Alberto Gonzalez played left. Ichiro Suzuki shifted from right to center.

EIGHTH WONDER: In the eighth, Ichiro singled and Cano doubled, putting the tying run at second with one out against Craig Breslow. Vernon Wells popped meekly to short, while Cruz grounded out to short.