Yankees 7, Red Sox 6
NEW YORK (AP) _ Derek Jeter singled home the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning as the New York Yankees rallied to beat the Boston Red Sox 7-6 Monday night, lowering their magic number for clinching a playoff berth to six.
On a night that included Tino Martinez’s first homer in three weeks and a weird, game-tying play in the sixth, Jim Corsi (3-2) walked Paul O’Neill leading off the ninth. O’Neill then tagged up and just beat the throw following Bernie Williams’ fly to deep left.
Martinez was intentionally walked, Chad Curtis struck out and Jeter singled just in front of a diving Michael Coleman in center, his third straight hit.
Mariano Rivera (5-4) pitched a perfect ninth, stopping Boston’s four-game winning streak. New York can clinch its third consecutive postseason berth with any combination of Yankees’ wins and Angels’ losses that total six.
The Yankees trail Baltimore by six games in the AL East.
New York tied the score off Derek Lowe in the sixth on an unusual play that followed singles by Jeter and Jorge Posada, and Andy Fox’s sacrifice.
Tim Raines hit a foul pop near the third-base dugout. Third baseman John Valentin caught it as he fell into the photo box, and Jeter tagged up and scored.
Posada, meanwhile, headed for third, and Valentin appeared to flip the ball off a fan to shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who was standing next to him. Garciaparra threw to second baseman Jeff Frye, who tagged Posada sliding into third.
Boston ran off the field, thinking it was an inning-ending double play. But umpires, citing rule 7.04 (c), called the ball dead when Valentin fell into the stands, allowed Jeter to score and awarded Posada third. After an argument and a pitching change, Wade Boggs hit an inning-ending foul pop.
David Wells, who had lost his five previous outings, was again hit hard, allowing 12 hits for the third consecutive start and giving up six runs in 5 1-3 innings.
Bret Saberhagen got his fifth no-decision in six starts since returning from arm surgery (the other was a loss), allowing five runs and five hits in four innings.
Boston broke out to a 3-0 lead. Troy O’Leary hit an run-scoring single in the second, and Wil Cordero had an RBI double in the third and came home on Reggie Jefferson’s single.
Mew York rallied for a 4-3 lead in the bottom half on Williams’ run-scoring single and a three-run homer by Martinez.
Martinez, who hit his first homer since Aug. 26, became the first Yankee to reach 42 homers since Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in 1961.
Raines homered in the fourth, but Boston took a 6-5 lead in the sixth on consecutive RBI doubles by O’Leary and Frye, and Garciaparra’s run-scoring single.
Notes: David Cone is scheduled to test his arm again before Wednesday’s game. ... Mo Vaughn, 19-for-39 against Wells with four homers coming in, was 0-for-3 against him.