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Yankees rally to top Red Sox

Those Red Sox managers just never learn. With an eerie similarity to last year's postseason debacle, Pedro Martinez took a lead into the eighth inning before tiring and the Yankees rallied to win 6-4, which opened a 5{-game advantage in the East.

Grady Little was the Red Sox manager last fall when he left Martinez in during the eighth inning of Game 7 in the AL championship series; the Yankees overcame a 5-2 deficit to tie it and earned a World Series berth when Aaron Boone homered in the 11th.

Little was let go after the season and replaced by Terry Francona. But Francona, much as his predecessor did, sent Martinez back out for the eighth despite needing 101 pitches to get through the first seven innings; the Boston fans let Francona hear about it, much as they did for his predecessor.

Hideki Matsui homered on pitch No. 103 to make it 4-4, and Bernie Williams followed with a ground-rule double. Martinez struck out Jorge Posada, who hit the game-tying double off the Red Sox ace in the ALCS, but Ruben Sierra singled home the go-ahead run and _ finally _ chased Martinez.

Matsui added an RBI double in the ninth _ his third hit of the game.

Tom Gordon (8-4) pitched two innings and allowed a solo homer to Johnny Damon that gave Boston a 4-3 lead. Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his 51st save; he had blown four saves all season, two against the Red Sox.

Manny Ramirez hit his AL-leading 42nd homer and Trot Nixon also connected for Boston, which had been hoping to close ground on the Yankees but now needs to win the final two games of the series to have any realistic hope of winning the division.

If not, the Red Sox are comfortably in the lead for the AL wild-card spot.

Martinez had one consolation: he improved on Sunday's outing, an 11-1 loss to the Yankees in which he allowed eight runs in five-plus innings. On Friday, he allowed five runs on nine hits and two walks, striking out five in 7 innings to lose his third consecutive start for the first time since 1998.