BOSTON (AP) -- The New York Yankees are going to the playoffs,
and they will probably go there as AL East champions, too.
They just won't be clinching the division in Fenway Park. The
Boston Red Sox made sure of that on Saturday night with a seven-run
"They'll get their chance to celebrate somewhere else," Red
Sox center fielder Johnny Damon said. "And that's fine."
Manny Ramirez doubled in the tiebreaking run in the eighth, and
the Red Sox beat New York 12-5 to cut the Yankees' lead in the AL
East to 4½ games. Jason Varitek and Doug Mirabelli each doubled in
a pair of runs as Boston sent 11 men to the plate in the inning.
New York's magic number is four, so victories on Saturday and
Sunday would have won the division; instead, Boston clinched the
season series (10-8) against the Yankees for the first time since
"That doesn't matter once you get to the postseason," Damon
said, telling reporters jokingly: "Maybe you guys can rub it in
their face and make them think about it."
The Red Sox lead the AL wild-card race by six games over Anaheim
and Texas, and they had hoped to sweep New York to propel
themselves back into the division race. But the Yankees won the
series opener on Friday night when they rallied against tiring Red
Sox ace Pedro Martinez after manager Terry Francona left him in for
the eighth inning.
On Saturday night, Francona was ejected in the sixth arguing a
fan interference call and wasn't around to see the pivotal eighth
inning. Paul Quantrill (6-3), who extinguished a Boston rally in
the seventh, helped fuel one in the eighth, when he was charged
with four runs.
Boston closer Keith Foulke, who has blown his last two save
opportunities with ninth-inning homers, came on with the score tied
5-all, two outs in the eighth and runners on first and second.
Jorge Posada, who had a pair of two-run doubles, grounded out, and
Foulke (5-3) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.
Boston fought back from 1-0 and 3-1 deficits to tie it, then
took a 5-3 lead in the fifth that the Yankees erased in the sixth.
In the eighth, Johnny Damon singled and stole second with one out,
Mark Bellhorn walked and Ramirez lined Quantrill's pitch off the
center-field wall to make it 6-5.
But Boston wasn't done -- not after seeing a late lead evaporate
the night before.
After David Ortiz was intentionally walked, Varitek doubled in
two runs, Trot Nixon was hit by a pitch and Mirabelli doubled in
two more. Orlando Cabrera's sacrifice fly and Bill Mueller's single
each scored another run.
Mirabelli also hit a two-run homer off Yankees starter Javier
Vazquez in the fourth to tie the game 3-all and was hit by a pitch
twice. Vazquez had been expected to be in the playoff rotation, but
he could be passed over in favor of Jon Lieber.
"Vazquez concerns me. No question. I know he's a lot better
than this," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We have to stop this
thing because I want him to be a part of this. He's got too much
going for himself."
The Red Sox threatened in the seventh but couldn't take the lead
after Ortiz hit a one-out double and Kevin Millar walked. Felix
Heredia relieved Tanyon Sturtze and got Nixon to hit a potential
double-play grounder, but shortstop Derek Jeter couldn't handle the
throw from second with pinch-runner Doug Mientkiewicz bearing down
on him, and everyone was safe.
Quantrill came on and got Mirabelli on a weak bloop to the
shortstop, and Cabrera on a hard liner to third base.
Francona was ejected by plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth for
arguing about fan interference on a double that allowed the tying
run to score in the sixth inning.
With the Red Sox leading 5-3 and Yankee runners on first and
second, Posada hit a line drive down the first-base line that
bounced along the right-field wall. First-base umpire Jim Wolf
signaled that the ball had been touched.
Posada stopped at second and both runners came around to score.
Francona expected that Bernie Williams, who had been on first,
would be sent back to third because of the interference, but the
umpires used their discretion to allow Williams to score.
Vazquez allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings and has won just
once in his last eight starts. He has given up four runs or more in
six of those. ... Hideki Matsui hit a solo homer in the second. ...
Tim Wakefield allowed five runs -- three earned -- on five hits and
two walks, striking out one in 6 1/3 innings. ... Jeter was 0-for-4
with an error and grounded into two double plays.