NEW YORK (AP) _ Mark McGwire's home run total wasn't the only number to slip this season. Regular season baseball ratings dropped and the playoffs are doing the same.

The 6.9 combined prime-time playoff rating is down 7 percent from last season's 7.4 mark.

NBC's three-game postseason average (7.0) dropped 10 percent from the three divisional series games the network televised last year.

Fox posted a 6.9 rating, down 3 percent, in five games. Monday night's Boston Red Sox clincher over Cleveland in Game 5 posted a 9.0 rating and a 14 share.

ABC's ``Monday Night Football,'' which was on opposite the Red Sox victory, gained a 10.4 rating, down 38 percent from last season.

A network ratings point represents 994,000 households.

ESPN, which televised eight games this year, saw its rating decrease 5 percent to a 3.03. However, that does not include the last three games, which were delayed until Wednesday because of Columbus Day.

A ratings point on ESPN represents about 769,000 homes.

The cable station was hurt by having to televise two 11 p.m. EDT New York Mets playoff games at Arizona.

Fox's regular season ratings for 18 weeks of Saturday regional games posted a 2.9 mark, down 6 percent from a 3.1. The first two years of Fox's coverage had a 2.7.

ESPN had a 17 percent drop from a 1.8 cable rating in 1998 to a 1.5 this season.

Baseball is in the fourth year of a $1.7 billion, five-year television deal with Fox, NBC and ESPN.