Yankees win World Series place

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The Independent Online

The New York Yankees had no intention of rewriting the ending in baseball's longest-running drama. The characters change, the story does not: The Yankees win the Red Sox lose.

The New York Yankees had no intention of rewriting the ending in baseball's longest-running drama. The characters change, the story does not: The Yankees win the Red Sox lose.

Orlando Hernandez pitched shutout bit a two-run homer as the Yankees won their record 36th pennant and a return trip to the World Series, beating Boston 6-1 last night in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.

"To repeat after the incredible year we had last year is a great accomplishment," said the Yankees manager Joe Torr. "I tried to warn the club in spring training that we cannot compete against ourselves because it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing," he said. "We had to earn it this year. It was probably more satisfying this year."

The wild-card Red Sox brought out all their good-luck charms at Fenway Park in Boston and yet it did no good against their longtime tormentors. Babe Ruth's 82-year-old daughter threw out the first ball - trying to reverse the Curse of the Bambino - and Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez roused the well-behaved crowd of 33,589 from the dugout and bullpen.

And still, it will be the Yankees heading off to defend their World Series title while the Red Sox, after an eighth-inning rally fell short. Their fans can only hope for better luck next century. "We really had a fine year I told those kids in there we had a fine year all year long," said the Red Sox manager Jimy Williams. "They really did a lot for this city this summer."

Game 1 of the World Series will be on Saturday night at the home of the National League champions. Atlanta leads the New York Mets 3-2 in the NLCS, with Game 6 on Tuesday night at Turner Field. The Yankees played both teams this summer and this will be the first time World Series opponents have met in the regular season.

Coming off its record 125-win season, New York became the AL's first repeat champion since Toronto in 1992-93 and earned its third trip to the World Series in four years.

The Yankees will have a chance to win their 25th title. All of them have come since the Red Sox won their last championship in 1918, two years before they sold Ruth to New York.

"We didn't have all the miracles all the other teams were having, but we just hung in there," said the Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Certainly it was special to Torre, who missed the first 36 games of the season while recovering from surgery for prostate cancer.

Hernandez, blowing on his hand to keep warm on a chilly night, improved to 4-0 with an 0.97 ERA in five career starts in the post-season. Two years ago, his half-brother Livan was MVP of the NLCS for the Florida Marlins. "This is a beautiful moment," El Duque said through an interpreter. "I'm very happy to be pitching in these situations." Hernandez got a no-decision in Game 1, allowing two earned runs in eight innings.

This post-season meeting between the Yankees and Boston ended up the same way regular-season duels did for so many years, from the days when Joe DiMaggio led New York over Ted Williams and the Red Sox, to the afternoon when Bucky Dent's homer won a 1978 AL East tiebreaker.

Despite the disappointment, the Red Sox fans did not let their frustration spill over. Maybe a heavy security presence was responsible but it was quite a different scene from Sunday night, when the Fenway faithful littered the field with debris after an umpire's bad call.

Twice during the series, umpires admitted blowing calls against Boston. The Red Sox did not help themselves in the five games, though, by making 10 errors. Rather, all that promise the Red Sox held - they rallied from an 0-2 deficit to beat Cleveland in the best-of-5 division series, then roughed up former star Roger Clemens in Game 3 of this series - went to waste.

"If you asked me before the season what would I want, I would say the opportunity to play the Yankees in the playoffs," Red Sox third baseman John Valentin said. "We had that opportunity."

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