The Boston Red Sox followed up their most dominating pitching performance of the year with one of their worst. Both were good enough to beat the New York Yankees.
Nomar Garciaparra hit two of Boston's five homers as the Red Sox nearly blew a pair of five-run leads before holding on to beat the Yankees, 11-10, yesterday at Yankee Stadium and cut New York's lead to 4 1/2 games in the AL East.
"It was exhausting," Garciaparra said of the 3-hour, 50-minute game. "But it makes it easier when you come out on top. It would have been nice to win easier. But we know it's never going to be an easy win against the New York Yankees."
One day after winning 3-1 behind Pedro Martinez's 17-strikeout, one-hit gem, the Red Sox held on in a game that featured 21 runs, 16 walks and 349 pitches.
"This was just a hitter's day," said Rod Beck, who pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save. "They are a very resilient club. They know how to win and how to win late."
Troy O'Leary, Trot Nixon and Butch Huskey also homered for the Red Sox, who improved to 7-4 against New York to clinch the season series. Boston has won nine of 11 games overall.
The Red Sox, who are three games ahead of Oakland in the wild-card race, have stayed in contention with contributions from unheralded players such as Brian Daubach and Pat Rapp.
But in their showdown with the Yankees, it has been their stars, Martinez and Garciaparra, who have taken control. Garciaparra hit a solo homer off Allen Watson in the third to put Boston ahead 5-0 and added a three-run shot off Ramiro Mendoza in the sixth to make it 9-4.
Garciaparra has 23 homers, including five multi-homer games this season. He went 2 for 5 and is hitting .351 to lead the AL, one point ahead of New York's Derek Jeter.
Boston's bullpen almost blew the lead, allowing four runs in the seventh to cut the lead to 9-8. Pinch hitter Jim Leyritz hit an RBI single, second baseman Jose Offerman made a two-base error allowing two runs to score and Jeter had an RBI groundout.
With two on, Derek Lowe got Bernie Williams to ground out to end the threat.
Huskey then hit a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the eighth off Mike Stanton to put Boston up 11-8. The Yankees got back within one on Tino Martinez's two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth off Lowe.
Rich Garces (5-1) pitched one scoreless inning for the win.
The Red Sox scored three runs in the first off Hideki Irabu (10-6) on an RBI double by O'Leary and a two-run single by Mike Stanley. Nixon added a solo homer in the second and O'Leary hit a solo shot in the third.
ROYALS 9, RANGERS 6: Sal Fasano hit a pair of two-run homers to hand Texas pitcher Rick Helling his first loss in almost three months as Kansas City won at home.
Fasano, called up from Class AAA Omaha on Sept. 1, recorded his first multihomer game in the majors. He drove in a career-high four runs with a 406-foot shot in the second inning and a 425-foot drive in the fifth.
Helling (13-8) had won his last four starts and a career-best seven straight decisions. But the Royals tagged him for a season-high eight runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Ivan Rodriguez and Rusty Greer drove in two runs apiece for AL West-leading Texas.
Jeff Suppan (9-9) went 5 2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits and six runs. Chris Fussell pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings and Jeff Montgomery worked the ninth for his 11th save.
INDIANS 4, WHITE SOX 3: Dave Burba won his sixth straight decision, Richie Sexson homered and Cleveland overcame the loss of major league RBI leader Manny Ramirez to beat host Chicago.
Ramirez, who has 144 RBI, left in the first inning with a bruised right knee after being hit by a pitch from Jim Parque. The AL Central champions said his status is day-to-day.
David Justice replaced Ramirez, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Sexson then hit a three-run homer, his 28th of the season, to give Burba an early cushion.
Burba (14-7) gave up six hits and three runs in six innings. Mike Jackson pitched a perfect ninth for his 36th save.
ATHLETICS 5, DEVIL RAYS 4: Oakland's Doug Jones recorded his 300th save with help from defensive replacement Jason McDonald, and Matt Stairs and Jason Giambi hit two-run doubles as the Athletics won on the road.
Jones got one out for his ninth save in 15 chances. He became the 11th major leaguer with 300 saves.
BLUE JAYS 9, TIGERS 5: In Detroit, Tony Batista homered and drove in three runs as Toronto snapped a four-game losing streak.