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Yankees inflict frustration on Red Sox

The Associated Press

Orlando Hernandez, Derek Jeter and the Yankees earned a return trip Monday night, once again frustrating the Boston Red Sox and their fans with a 6-1 victory in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

Tuesday, October 19, 1999

Orlando Hernandez, Derek Jeter and the Yankees earned a return trip Monday night, once again frustrating the Boston Red Sox and their fans with a 6-1 victory in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

”To repeat after the incredible year we had last year is a great accomplishment,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

”I tried to warn the club in spring training that we cannot compete against ourselves because it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” he said.

Still, the defending champs did just fine. They wrapped up their record 36th pennant, and became the first AL team to win two in a row since Toronto in 1992-93.

The World Series opens Saturday night at the home of the NL champion. Atlanta leads the New York Mets 3-2 in the NLCS, with Game 6 tonight at Turner Field.

The Yankees faced both teams this summer in interleague play, meaning this will be the first time World Series opponents have met in the regular season. Torre formerly managed both clubs.

”The best part about it is I don’t have to pull for anybody to win now,” Torre said. ”It’s nice to take a day or two off.”

While the Yankees won for the 14th time in 15 postseason games, Boston will now get a whole winter to figure out how to beat the New Yorkers next century.

The wild-card Red Sox brought out all their good-luck charms at Fenway Park, and yet it did no good against their longtime tormentors.

Babe Ruth’s 82-year-old daughter threw out the first ball – trying to reverse the Curse of the Bambino – and Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez roused the well-behaved crowd of 33,589 from the dugout and bullpen.

”We really had a fine year. I told those kids in there we had a fine year all year long,” Red Sox manager Jimy Williams said. ”They really did a lot for this city this summer.”

From DiMaggio and Bucky Dent to El Duque and Derek, the result stayed the same in baseball’s longest running drama.

Yankees win, Red Sox lose.

”With the rivalry getting back to where it was, it’s sweet to wrap it up here,” said third-base coach Willie Randolph, a longtime Yankees star.

Coming off its record 125-win season, New York headed back to the World Series for the third time in four years.

The Yankees will have a chance to win their 25th title. All of them have come since the Red Sox won their last championship in 1918, two years before they sold Ruth to New York.

Certainly it was special to Torre, who missed the first 36 games of the season while recovering from prostate cancer surgery.

”You’re never sure you’re going to care once you get back,” Torre said.

Hernandez, blowing on his hand to keep warm on a chilly night, improved to 4-0 with an 0.97 ERA in five career starts in the postseason. Two years ago, his half-brother Livan was MVP of the NLCS for the Florida Marlins.

”This is a beautiful moment,” El Duque said through an interpreter. ”I’ve very happy to be pitching in these situations.”

Hernandez got a no-decision in Game 1, allowing two earned runs in eight innings.

El Duque shut down the Red Sox on three hits through seven innings, striking out nine. He left after Jason Varitek homered to start the eighth and Nomar Garciaparra followed with a double.

Mike Stanton relieved, setting off a series of mix-and-match moves by Torre and Williams.

Allen Watson wound up walking pinch-hitter Butch Huskey to load the bases with one out. But Ramiro Mendoza, New York’s fifth pitcher of the inning, struck out pinch-hitter Scott Hatteberg on a 3-2 pitch that bounced and got Trot Nixon on a foul pop.

Jorge Posada hit a clinching two-run homer off Tom Gordon in the ninth, and Mendoza closed for a save.

This first-ever postseason meeting between the Yankees and Boston ended up the same way regular-season duels did for so many years, from the days when Joe DiMaggio led New York over Ted Williams and the Red Sox, to the afternoon when Dent’s homer won a 1978 AL East tiebreaker.

Despite the disappointment, the Red Sox fans did not let their frustration spill over. Maybe a heavy security presence was responsible but it was quite a different scene from Sunday night, when the Fenway faithful littered the field with debris after an umpire’s bad call.

Twice during the series, umpires admitted blowing calls against Boston. The Red Sox did not help themselves in the five games, though, by making 10 errors.

”If you asked me before the season what would I want, I would say the opportunity to play the Yankees in the playoffs,” Red Sox third baseman John Valentin said. ”We had that opportunity.”

Chuck Knoblauch led off the game with a single against Kent Mercker, and Jeter homered into a stiff wind for a center-field shot that made it 2-0. After only eight pitches, Bryce Florie was warming up for the Red Sox.

”We wanted to score early and give El Duque some breathing room,” Jeter said. ”All he needed was two runs.”