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Ball Bounces Yankees' Way

Baseball: Williams' hit in the ninth goes past Boston's Nixon to tie the score and New York wins it, 9-8, moments later on a walk.

July 22, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — No matter what the New York Yankees do wrong, somehow everything seems to go right--especially against the Boston Red Sox.

Jason Giambi led off the bottom of the ninth inning with an excuse-me single, right fielder Trot Nixon's error let the tying run score and Jorge Posada drew a bases-loaded walk from Ugueth Urbina that gave the Yankees a 9-8 victory over the Red Sox on Sunday.

"It's unbelievable the magic that happens around here," Giambi said.

Yankee starter Jeff Weaver tied a team record by giving up five home runs--two each to Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez--as the Red Sox rallied to take an 8-7 lead.

But Giambi began the ninth with a check-swing single toward third base against an overshifted defense. Pinch-runner Enrique Wilson then scored when Bernie Williams' ground single rolled right through Nixon.

"It took a funny hop," Nixon said. "Either way, I made the error. People can say what they want, but that cost us the game."

Williams reached third, and Robin Ventura and Raul Mondesi were walked intentionally to load the bases. Manager Grady Little lifted Nixon for Lou Merloni and played five infielders, with left fielder Ramirez in shallow center.

It didn't matter. With the sellout crowd of 55,581 on its feet, Urbina (0-5) walked Posada, hitless in 13 at-bats, on a 3-and-2 pitch to force in the winning run. It was Urbina's third blown save in 27 chances.

Mike Stanton (4-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory.

"It was one of the most exciting weekends I've ever spent in the game of baseball," Little said. "I don't know if it's us being snakebit or them having some Irish luck."

After Pedro Martinez won, 4-2, in the series opener, the Red Sox lost two games, each 9-8. Had they won both games, the Red Sox would have moved into first place in the American League East by percentage points ahead of the Yankees.

"To come back against them two days in a row--and they're a good club--I hope we're in their heads, but I doubt it," Manager Joe Torre said. "They're still beating us in the season series."

The Red Sox are 8-6 against the Yankees. The teams play five more times, starting in late August.

Weaver couldn't hold a 4-0 lead in his first pressure start since being acquired from Detroit on July 5.

"Five home runs is quite embarrassing to say the least," Weaver said. "At the same time, guys around here have been good about letting me know that there's an adjustment period, no matter who it is."

John Cumberland gave up five homers for the Yankees on May 24, 1970, at Cleveland. The major league record is six, by several pitchers.

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