Dismal Red Sox performance prompts fan rebellion

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The Independent Online

The New York Yankees not only took a 3-1 lead in the American League Championship Series, they caused the Fenway Park fans to embarrass themselves.

The New York Yankees not only took a 3-1 lead in the American League Championship Series, they caused the Fenway Park fans to embarrass themselves.

Pitcher Bret Saberhagenÿs bungled throw allowed the go-ahead run to score in the fourth innings, and the Boston Red Sox made three other errors before Ricky Ledeeÿs ninth-innings grand slam as New York won 9-2 last night in Boston.

Without Pedro Martinez, who threw seven shutout innings on Saturday in Boston's record 13-1 win, the Red Sox went back to their old, bumbling, ways and the frustrated fans turned angry. With New York clinging to a 3-2 lead in the eighth, a second-base umpire blew a key call for the second time in the best-of-7 series.

After a close call at first base went against the Red Sox opening the ninth, the game was stopped for eight minutes after manager Jimy Williams was ejected. Fans then threw bottles and other objects on the field as the Yankees went back to their dugout while an announcement was made of a possible forfeit.

"It's quite regrettable. I'm sorry it happened," the Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said. "The excitement level is pretty tremendous. We've been treated beautifully by Boston up to this point." Williams and the other Red Sox refused to go to the interview room after the defeat. "He really incited it," Steinbrenner said.

Andy Pettitte allowed two runs over 7 1-3 innings, improving to 2-0 in the postseason and again showing why the manager Joe Torre insisted he not be traded. Pettitte had his own slump during the first four months of this season, going just 12-9. But Torre told Steinbrenner to keep Pettitte because he could pitch under postseason pressure, and Pettitte proved his manager right. Pettitte allowed just seven hits against Boston.

Mariano Rivera, who got the win in Game 1 and the save in Game 2, relieved after Jose Offerman reached on an infield hit with one out in the eighth - Chuck Knoblauch fumbled the hard-hit grounder to second, then threw wide of first base. But second-base umpire Tim Tschida called Offerman out - it was not immediately clear if he thought Knoblauch tagged him or ruled the runner went out of the baseline.

In the series opener, the second-base umpire Rick Reed failed to call Knoblauch for dropping a throw, admitting he made an incorrect call when the right one would have given Boston two on and no outs in the 10th inning with the score tied. Bernie Williams' 10th-inning homer won it.

After that, the Yankees broke it open in the ninth. An Offerman throwing error allowed Knoblauch to score from third and Williams followed with an RBI single off Rich Garces for a 5-2 lead. Ledee then homered off Rod Beck.

The game was delayed in the bottom half after first-base umpire Dale Scott called Nomar Garciaparra out at first on a grounder to third. Williams threw his cap during the argument with Scott that led to his ejection.The Yankees try to wrap up their record 36th AL pennant tonight, when Orlando Hernandez pitches against Boston's Kent Mercker in a rematch of the Game 1 starters.

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