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Yankees rip Bosox

The Associated Press

BOSTON – Fans were furious and frustrated.

Monday, October 18, 1999

BOSTON – Fans were furious and frustrated. They felt their Boston Red Sox had been robbed.

Yet all the bottles they threw on the field at Fenway Park on Sunday night didn’t change what bothered them most: The Yankees’ 9-2 win gave them a 3-1 lead in the AL championship series and moved New York within a win of a record 36th American League pennant.

”To have people throw stuff, that’s disgraceful, it really is,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said after his team’s win was marred by an eight-minute delay in the ninth inning caused by a downpour of objects tossed from the stands.

Boston made four errors that led to three unearned runs, including a dropped catch by pitcher Bret Saberhagen that allowed the Yankees to take a 3-2 lead in the fourth.

New York was clinging to that 3-2 lead in the eighth when Jose Offerman singled with one out, chasing starter Andy Pettitte, who once again showed he’s at his best under postseason pressure.

John Valentin followed with a grounder to second baseman Chuck Knoblauch, who missed a swipe tag by about a foot, then made a balloon toss to first for the out.

That’s when things got goofy at the old ballpark. Second-base umpire Tim Tschida thought Knoblauch tagged Valentin and called out the runner, creating an inning-end double play.

New York then broke open the game with a six-run ninth that included Ricky Ledee’s grand slam off Rod Beck.

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

Boston had seen this before. In Game 1, second-base umpire Rick Reed failed to call Knoblauch for dropping a throw, admitting he made an incorrect call when the right one would have given the Red Sox two on and no outs in the 10th with the score tied. Bernie Williams’ homer won it in the bottom half.

”We feel like it’s being taken away from us,” Boston’s Darren Lewis said. ”We don’t know why.”

Then it got even hairier.

When Nomar Garciaparra was called out on a close play leading off the ninth, Boston manager Jimy Williams ran out of his dugout and threw his cap during an argument with umpire Dale Scott that led to his ejection.

Fans had enough, too, and they released their anger by tossing objects onto the field.

”It’s quite regrettable. I’m sorry it happened,” Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said. ”The excitement level is pretty tremendous. We’ve been treated beautifully by Boston up to this point.”

Steinbrenner blamed Williams.

”He really incited it,” the owner said,

Williams refused to go to the interview room. Yankees players and staff were furious with the fans’ behavior.

”I think it’s inexcusable,” Torre said. ”Not that Jimy Williams did what he did. I’m a manager. I understand the frustration that goes on inside.”

Yankees wives were escorted from the ballpark by police, and New York reliever Jeff Nelson got involved in a shouting match with a Red Sox security official.

”The head of security for the Red Sox was screaming at my players about staying in the dugout,” Torre said. ”That was a disappointment, they showed absolutely no class whatsoever.”

Even Red Sox players were angry with their fans.

”We’re sorry for the way we acted,” Boston’s Mike Stanley said. ”That’s not right, not right at all.”

Fans and the Red Sox won’t have much time to recover. Orlando Hernandez pitches tonight against Boston’s Kent Mercker in a rematch of Game 1 starters.

”To be able to keep them from going 2-2 with us, it was huge,” said Pettitte, who allowed two runs and eight hits in 7 1-3 innings in winning his third straight postseason start. ”I think we feel real confident about tomorrow. I’m sure El Duque’s going to throw a great game for us. Hopefully, we can close this thing out.”

Boston must win the next two to give the ball back to Pedro Martinez, who stopped the Yankees’ 12-game postseason winning streak with seven shutout innings in Saturday’s 13-1 rout of Roger Clemens.

”Can we come back? Sure we can. We did it before,” Garciaparra said, remembering how Boston overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat Cleveland in the best-of-5 first round.

Darryl Strawberry’s second-inning homer – a drive off the screen attached to the Pesky Pole down the right-field line – put the Yankees ahead but 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. John Valentin doubled off the Green Monster in left, and Bernie Williams picked up the ball and made a quick relay to Derek Jeter, who threw out Offerman at the plate.

Tino Martinez’s RBI double tied it in the fourth after Garciaparra’s throwing error allowed Williams to advance. Saberhagen, covering first, then dropped the throw from first baseman Stanley on Chad Curtis’ two-out grounder as the go-ahead run came across.

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

Notes: It started raining minutes after the game, but weathermen predicted it would stop before game time tonight. … When Jeter batted in the first, fans chanted: ”Nomar’s Better!” Before Strawberry homered, fans were chanting ”Just Say No!” a reference to his past problems with drugs and alcohol.