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Yanks walk off with a thriller

Published Sep. 3, 2005

No matter what the Yankees do wrong, somehow everything seems to go right. Especially against the Boston Red Sox.

Jason Giambi led off the ninth inning with an excuse-me single, rightfielder Trot Nixon's error let the tying run score and Jorge Posada drew a bases-loaded walk from Ugueth Urbina that gave New York a 9-8 win over the Red Sox on Sunday.

"It's unbelievable the magic that happens around here," Giambi said.

Yankees starter Jeff Weaver tied a team record by giving up five home runs, two each to Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez, as the Red Sox rallied to take an 8-7 lead.

But Giambi began the ninth with a check-swing single toward third base against an overshifted defense. Pinch-runner Enrique Wilson scored when Bernie Williams' ground single rolled right through Nixon.

"It took a funny hop," Nixon said. "Either way, I made the error. People can say what they want, but that cost us the game."

Williams went to third, and Robin Ventura and Raul Mondesi were walked intentionally to load the bases. Boston manager Grady Little lifted Nixon for Lou Merloni and played five infielders, with leftfielder Ramirez in shallow center.

It didn't matter. With the sellout crowd of 55,581 on its feet, Urbina walked Posada, hitless in 13 at-bats, on a 3-and-2 pitch to force in the winning run. It was Urbina's third blown save in 27 chances.

Mike Stanton pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

"It was one of the most exciting weekends I've ever spent in the game of baseball," Little said. "I don't know if it's us being snakebit or them having some Irish luck."

After Pedro Martinez won 4-2 in the opener, the Red Sox lost 9-8 twice. Had it won both games, Boston would have moved into first place in the AL East, percentage points ahead of New York.

Instead, the Yankees have a season-high four-game lead and victories in five of their past six games. And it was just another example of how things have gone for most of the past 80 years in baseball's most heated rivalry.

"To come back against them two days in a row, and they're a good club; I hope we're in their heads, but I doubt it," New York manager Joe Torre said. "They're still beating us the season series."

The Red Sox are 8-6 against the Yankees this season. The teams play five more times, starting in late August.

Giambi and Williams hit consecutive homers in the first for the Yankees, who battered Boston starter John Burkett as usual. New York took a 4-0 lead after eight pitches, but Weaver couldn't hold it in his first pressure start since being acquired from Detroit in a three-way trade July 5.

Shea Hillenbrand singled with two outs in the seventh, and Garciaparra lofted an 0-and-1 pitch down the leftfield line for his 13th homer of the season and an 8-7 lead.

Ramirez homered in the second. Garciaparra connected leading off the fourth, and Ramirez followed with his 14th of the season.