Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees delivers a...

Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox. (April 6, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

BOSTON - There were no public displays of disaffection from the major leagues' most psychoanalyzed battery.

But more important for the Yankees, there wasn't a second straight bullpen implosion with the lead. They were able to build an effective bridge to 40-year-old Mariano Rivera in a 6-4 victory over the Red Sox last night at Fenway Park.

Alfredo Aceves, Dave Robertson, Damaso Marte and Joba Chamberlain were the links to Rivera, who allowed a one-out double to Marco Scutaro but otherwise was in control. Robertson was the only other Yankees reliever to give up a hit.

"We're capable of doing that; we have the ability to do that," Rivera said of the bullpen. "It doesn't surprise me at all. We have tremendous guys that can go there and do that job."

After Sunday's collapse, manager Joe Girardi called it "one game," far too small a sample size to draw any conclusions.

"Obviously, we threw the ball better than we did on Sunday night," Girardi said. "It's good to see everyone contribute. Ace gave us two big innings and then Joba got some big outs, as well."

Two perfect innings by Aceves kept the score tied at 4 heading to the eighth, when the Yankees untied it as Nick Johnson drew a bases-loaded walk off losing pitcher Hideki Okajima. Johnson's second walk of the game and fourth of the season scored Jorge Posada, who hit a leadoff double.

The run was unearned because of shortstop Scutaro's two-out throwing error.

"Just try to get on there any way possible and let those guys behind me do what they do," said Johnson, who has a .500 on-base percentage despite not having a hit.

Robinson Cano, again looking quite comfortable in the fifth spot, homered to deep rightfield in the ninth to make it 6-4. Cano doubled twice in the opener and added two hits and a walk last night.

"First two games, his approach has been outstanding," Girardi said. "And actually maybe his approach has been more patient. Every RBI situation that he's had, he's done the job."

Before the game, Girardi said he hadn't settled on an eighth-inning setup man for Rivera, but Chamberlain, after a poor debut Sunday, made a strong early-season case. With Kevin Youkilis on second with one out, Chamberlain came on to face Adrian Beltre and struck out the third baseman with a 96-mph fastball. He then struck out J.D. Drew on an 86-mph slider, punctuating the K with a fist pump that is sure to become talk-show fodder.

Just as it was silly to draw a sweeping conclusion after the first game, Girardi wasn't doing that regarding Chamberlain taking over the eighth-inning job, though Girardi was clearly pleased.

"It's what we feel he can do," Girardi said. "He can pitch at a high level and we saw that tonight."

Neither starter pitched at an especially high level, though A.J. Burnett, pitching to Posada, wasn't awful and turned in his best outing in two years at Fenway, where he had a 14.21 ERA in three starts last year.

Burnett allowed four runs (three earned) and seven hits in five innings, with his big mistake Victor Martinez's two-run homer in the third. (Martinez also doubled.) Boston's Jon Lester gave up four runs and five hits in his five innings.

"I thought for the most part, I was all right," Burnett said. "I was a little geeked up early but once I settled down . . . Like I said, the only two pitches that got away from me were the two to the same hitter."

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