Fri, Oct 17, 2003 - Page 24 News List

Boston comes back to take Game 6

AP , NEW YORK

Trot Nixon of the Red Sox hits a two-run home run against the Yankees in the ninth inning during Game 6 of the AL Championship series at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York, Wednesday. The Red Sox won 9-6.

PHOTO: AFP

National LeagueThe resilient Boston Red Sox, trailing by two runs and nine outs from ending their season, rebounded with a three-run seventh inning to beat the New York Yankees 9-6 and set up a whopper of a Game 7.

David Ortiz tied it with a run-scoring single Wednesday and Johnny Damon drove in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded walk in the seventh inning that tied the AL championship series.

That brings the series down to one game Thursday night, and it has all the makings of a classic: Roger Clemens versus Pedro Martinez, the central characters who set off fireworks and fights during Game 3 at Fenway Park. The winner goes on to play the Florida Marlins in the World Series starting Saturday night.

"Tomorrow should be an exciting day," Boston manager Grady Little said.

Slumping Nomar Garciaparra had four hits, including a wind-blown triple that started the three-run seventh and atoned for an earlier error. Jason Varitek hit a third-inning homer off starter Andy Pettitte, and Trot Nixon added a two-run shot in the ninth off Gabe White as the Red Sox beat up New York for 16 hits and moved within one win of their first trip to the World Series since 1986.

"I've never been around a club quite like this," Little said. "It typified our whole season."

New York and Boston will play for the 26th time Thursday -- the most meetings ever between two teams in one year. It marks the first time the championship series in both leagues will go a full seven games in the same season.

"We've just battled and fought against these guys all year," Varitek said.

During the regular season, the Yankees edged Boston 10-9 in the series.

"I guess it was supposed to come down to seven games," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "I don't know two clubs that are more evenly matched than we are."

Homers by Jason Giambi and Jorge Posada, and a two-run double by Alfonso Soriano staked New York to a 6-4 lead. But reliever Jose Contreras couldn't hold it.

A swirling wind floated napkins across the field all game, and the conditions made it difficult for fielders on both teams, spinning line drives into twisting gappers.

"It's all over the place," Giambi said after batting practice.

Boston, the top offense in the major leagues during the regular season, had been hitting just .230 in the playoffs and hadn't scored more than five runs in 10 postseason games. But the Red Sox remembered back to the first round, when they fell behind Oakland 0-2 before winning three in a row to advance.

Contreras relieved Pettitte to start the sixth and struck out the side, but he overthrew his pitches in the seventh and he wound up the loser.

Garciaparra, who didn't get his first postseason RBI until Tuesday, hit a deep drive to center leading off the inning, and the ball gusted over Bernie Williams for a triple. Garciaparra came home when the wind sent left fielder Hideki Matsui's throw to third sailing on a hop into the seats for an error.

"The one that Nomar hit looked like a routine fly ball," Torre said.

Manny Ramirez hit a similar shot over Williams for a double, took third on a wild pitch and scored the tying run when Ortiz smashed a single off first base.

Pettitte breezed through two innings but got in trouble in the third, when Varitek led off with a long homer to left -- his fourth of the postseason.

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