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  Sunday, Oct. 17 7:45pm ET
Blown call, late outburst finish off Red Sox

BOSTON (AP) -- There was no Pedro to rescue the Red Sox in this game -- and now the Yankees are one win away from their third World Series trip in four years.

Pitcher Bret Saberhagen's bungled throw allowed the go-ahead run to score in the fourth inning, and the Red Sox made three other errors before Ricky Ledee's ninth-inning grand slam finished off New York's 9-2 win Sunday night for a 3-1 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Chuck Knoblauch
Chuck Knoblauch attempts to tag Jose Offerman in the eighth inning. Offerman was called out.

With New York clinging to a 3-2 lead in the eighth, a second-base umpire blew a key call for the second time in the series.

The Yankees then exploded for six runs in the ninth inning and after a close call at first base went against the Red Sox opening the bottom of ninth, Boston's frustrated fans turned angry, delaying the game for eight minutes by throwing bottles after Red Sox manager Jimy Williams was ejected for arguing a close play. Yankee players went back to their dugout while an announcement was made of a possible forfeit.

Andy Pettitte allowed two runs and seven hits over 7 1/3 innings, improving to 2-0 in the postseason and again showing why manager Joe Torre insisted he not be traded at midseason.

"It was a huge win for us, especially after last night," Pettitte said. "Let's hope we can close this out tomorrow."

The Yankees try to wrap up their record 36th AL pennant on Monday night, when Orlando Hernandez pitches against Boston's Kent Mercker in a rematch of Game 1 starters.

"We're really not looking at the three games right now," Boston third baseman John Valentin said. "Now, obviously, you have to look at tomorrow. We're facing a tough pitcher and he's had success against us in the past and we've got to go get him."

Indeed, a note on their clubhouse bulletin board after Sunday's loss read: "Pack for travel after Monday night's game."

It was 3-2 with one out in the eighth when Mariano Rivera, who got the win in Game 1 and the save in Game 2, relieved after Jose Offerman reached on an infield hit -- Chuck Knoblauch fumbled the hard-hit grounder to second, then threw wide of first base.

Every game a hero
The Yankees nearly traded Andy Pettitte at midseason, but Joe Torre wanted him around for October. Now you know why. Pettitte delivered in the clutch, pitching 7 1/3 innings and allowing just two runs for his second postseason victory this year.
Key number
Two. Number of key blown calls at second base that have hurt the Red Sox. In Game 1, Chuck Knoblauch dropped a throw in the top of the 10th inning that would have put runners at first and second with no outs. But Rick Reed ruled Knoblauch had caught the ball. In Game 4, Knoblauch clearly missed Jose Offerman on an attempted tag with the score 3-2 in the eighth, but Tim Tschida ruled him out, ending the inning.
Last word
"No, I didn't make the right call."
-- Umpire Tschida. Reed also admitted he blew his call in Game 1.

Valentin then hit a slow roller to Knobluach, who tried to tag Offerman. Knoblauch clearly missed the tag but second base umpire Tim Tschida called Offerman out.

"I didn't make the right call," Tschida said. "It appeared to me as though he got him."

In the series opener, second-base umpire Rick Reed failed to call Knoblauch for dropping a throw, when the correct call would have given Boston two on and no outs in the 10th with the score tied. Bernie Williams won the game with a homer in the bottom of the 10th.

"It feels like their taking it away from us," Boston's Darren Lewis said.

After that, the Yankees broke it open in the ninth. Offerman's throwing error allowed Knoblauch to score from third and Williams followed with an RBI single off Rich Garces for a 5-2 lead. Ledee then cleared the bases with a homer off Rod Beck.

"Tough loss," Saberhagen said. "I think the big thing is we've got to put this behind us and play baseball like we have."

After falling behind 1-0 on Darryl Strawberry's second-inning homer -- a drive off the screen attached to the Pesky Pole down the right-field line -- the Red Sox tied it in the bottom half on Troy O'Leary's RBI single and went ahead on Offerman's run-scoring single in the third.

But the Yankees' turnaround started with the next batter. Valentin doubled off the Green Monster in left, and center fielder Williams made a quick relay throw to Derek Jeter, who threw out Offerman at the plate.

Williams reached on an infield single with one out in the bottom half, and took second when Garciaparra's throw from shortstop bounced into the Boston dugout -- his fourth error of the series.

Tino Martinez followed with a game-tying double to right-center, with the 2-2 score on the old manual scoreboard in the Green Monster matching the 2-2 score of the NLCS game, then in the 14th inning.

Saberhagen walked Strawberry intentionally after falling behind 3-0 in the count, and Scott Brosius struck out, bringing up Chad Curtis.

He hit an easy grounder to Stanley at first, who made the throw to Saberhagen, covering the bag with plenty of time to spare.

But as Saberhagen stepped on the base while trying to catch the throw, the ball popped out of his glove and fell to the field, allowing Martinez to score from second.

"I was looking down at the bag," Saberhagen said. "I didn't watch it all the way in."

Pettitte took it home from there.

"It was a huge win for us in a very emotional game for me," Pettitte said.

Not bad for a guy that owner George Steinbrenner challenged in midseason to "show what kind of man he is."

Steinbrenner made the remark after Torre and general manager Brian Cashman persuaded the Boss not to ship Pettitte -- a deal was close with Philadelphia -- before the July 31 trading deadline.

At the time, Pettitte was 7-8 and seemed distracted, possibly by his father's heart problems back in Texas.

"Mechanically and mentally, I struggled," he said.

He's not struggling now.

The forecast called for an overnight rain, but weathermen predicted it would stop before game time. ... Ramon Martinez, Pedro's brother, got loud cheers when he walked to Boston's bullpen during the game. ... When Jeter batted in the first, fans chanted: "Nomar's Better!"


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NY Yankees Clubhouse

Boston Clubhouse

Yankees vs. Red Sox series page

Pettitte again comes through in big spot

Red Sox fans shower field with debris, profanities

Defense deserts Red Sox at crucial time

NY Yankees 9
Boston 2

NY Mets 4
Atlanta 3