Paul O'Neill walked with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, forcing home the winning run as the Yankees overcame a poor start by Hideki Irabu and rallied to beat the Chicago White Sox, 5-4, last night in New York.

New York, which tied the score on Jorge Posada's two-run, two-out single in the eighth, lowered the magic number for its fifth straight playoff berth to three.

The Yankees increased their AL East lead to four games over second-place Boston.

Keith Foulke's shutout streak ended at 25 1/3 innings when Bernie Williams singled with two outs in the eighth, Tino Martinez doubled, pinch hitter Chili Davis was intentionally walked and Posada singled up the middle on a 3-2 pitch. Foulke then fanned Ricky Ledee, striking out the side.

Then in the ninth, Jaime Navarro (8-13) walked rookie D'Angelo Jimenez leading off, Chuck Knoblauch reached on a bunt single, with first base umpire Gary Cederstrom ruling his head-first slide beat the throw from Paul Konerko.

Derek Jeter walked, loading the bases, and O'Neill walked on a 3-2 pitch that was low.

"That's the way we win games," said O'Neill, whose team was swept by Boston in a three-game series last week.

"We don't go out and just pound people. We take pride in the way we win, the way we play, and tonight was a good example."

Darryl Strawberry hit his second home run of the season, helping New York win for the seventh time in eight games and overcome the efforts of Chris Singleton. The former Yankees farmhand had the first two-homer game of his major league career and drove in three runs for Chicago.

"It's a wonderful feeling to play well, especially in a place like Yankee Stadium because there's so much history here and so much energy with the fans," Singleton said.

"I'm just sorry I had a good night and the team didn't win that the game."

TWINS 5, ATHLETICS 4: Oakland's bullpen, a patchwork of castoffs and rookies who have struggled to keep the A's in the playoff chase, fell apart at home.

Minnesota scored three times on bases-loaded walks in a five-run seventh to further dim Oakland's eroding playoff hopes.

The A's are five games behind the Red Sox in the AL wild-card race and 5 1/2 games in back of Texas in the AL West.

"It was a tough one because we handed it to them. They didn't even have to swing the bat," A's Manager Art Howe said.

"We just couldn't find the strike zone. It was just a tough day for the bullpen."

The Twins scored all of their runs with two outs in the seventh, an inning in which the A's used five pitchers. An Oakland error, a hit batsman and four walks led to the Minnesota runs.

Jacque Jones and Matt Lawton had RBI singles in the inning, while Marty Cordova, Ron Coomer and pinch hitter Brent Gates all walked with the bases loaded against Tim Worrell and Buddy Groom.

The Twins were down to their last strike five times in the inning.

"One out sometimes is very difficult to get," Howe said.

"That's what was so frustrating. We had two strikes on everybody."

Mark Redman (1-0) pitched one inning for his first major league win. Mike Trombley recorded the final five outs for his 24th save in 29 chances.

Worrell (2-2), who gave up one run, two hits and two walks while not getting an out in the seventh, was the loser.

John Jaha and Ben Grieve hit solo homers for the A's.

BLUE JAYS 14, RED SOX 9: Shawn Green hit his 40th home run and Toronto combined 22 hits and five Boston errors to stop the host Red Sox and stall their drive to the playoffs.

Toronto ended its seven-game losing streak and snapped Boston's winning streak at six.

The Blue Jays, who had lost six in a row at Fenway Park, maintained their slim playoff hopes. Toronto will be eliminated if it loses a game or the Red Sox win one.

Boston committed four of its season-high five errors in the first two innings. Those led to five unearned runs and an 8-1 Toronto lead.

Green and Vernon Wells each had four hits. By the time the third inning was done, everyone in Toronto's starting lineup had at least one hit -- by the end of the game, every Blue Jays batter had an RBI.

INDIANS 9, TIGERS 1: Jaret Wright allowed two hits in seven innings and Jim Thome's two-run double keyed a four-run Cleveland first in Detroit.

Wright (8-9), who was winless in six starts since July 6, allowed one unearned run. He issued one walk and matched his season high with eight strikeouts.

The Indians, who clinched the AL Central title on Sept. 8, had four runs and five hits off Brian Moehler (9-16) in the first.

Moehler, seeking his first win since Aug. 30, gave up single runs in the second, fifth and sixth, falling behind 7-1. Moehler allowed seven runs and 13 hits in six innings.

ROYALS 12, MARINERS 6: In Seattle, Ken Griffey Jr. hit his AL-leading 48th homer, but Jermaine Dye homered and drove in four runs for Kansas City.

Griffey homered in all three games of the series. He is three homers ahead of Texas's Rafael Palmeiro for the league lead.

ANGELS 8, DEVIL RAYS 5: Mo Vaughn reached the 100-RBI mark for the fifth time, driving in five runs with a homer -- his 29th -- and a double in Anaheim, Calif.

Gary DiSarcina drove in two runs as the Angels completed a three-game sweep. They scored 18 of their 24 runs in the series with two outs.