NEW YORK – The resilient Boston Red Sox (search) rallied just in time.
Trailing by two runs and nine outs from ending their season, they rebounded with a three-run seventh inning to beat the New York Yankees (search) 9-6 Wednesday and set up a whopper of a Game 7.
David Ortiz tied it with a run-scoring single and Johnny Damon drove in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded walk in the seventh inning that tied the AL championship series.
That brings the series down to one game Thursday night, and it has all the makings of a classic: Roger Clemens (search) versus Pedro Martinez (search), the central characters who set off fireworks and fights during Game 3 at Fenway Park.
Slumping Nomar Garciaparra had four hits, including a wind-blown triple that started the three-run seventh. Jason Varitek hit a third-inning homer off starter Andy Pettitte, and Trot Nixon added a two-run shot in the ninth off Gabe White as the Red Sox beat up New York for 15 hits and moved within one win of their first trip to the World Series since 1986.
New York and Boston will play for the 26th time Thursday -- the most meetings ever between two teams in a season. It marks the first time the championship series in both leagues will go a full seven games in the same season.
Homers by Jason Giambi and Jorge Posada, and a two-run double by Alfonso Soriano staked New York to a 6-4 lead. But reliever Jose Contreras couldn't hold it.
A swirling 25 mph wind floated napkins across the field all game, and the conditions made it difficult for fielders on both teams, spinning line drives into twisting gappers.
"It's all over the place," Giambi said after batting practice.
Boston, the top offense in the major leagues during the regular season, had been hitting just .230 in the playoffs and hadn't scored more than five runs in 10 postseason games. But the Red Sox remembered back to the first round,deep drive to center leading off the inning, and the ball gusted over Bernie Williams for a triple. Garciaparra came home when the wind sent left fielder Hideki Matsui's throw to third sailing on a hop into the seats for an error.
Manny Ramirez hit a similar shot over Williams for a double, took third on a wild pitch and scored the tying run when Ortiz smashed a single off first base.
Felix Heredia relieved with one out and two on, threw a wild pitch that moved up the runners, then threw a called third strike past Nixon.
After an intentional walk to Varitek, Heredia walked Damon on four pitches -- two of them close -- forcing in the go-ahead run. Heredia then fanned Todd Walker.
Alan Embree, who struck out Giambi to help escape a big jam in the fifth, got the win. Scott Williamson, Boston's sixth pitcher, got three outs for his third save of the series.
Following the Game 3 fights at Fenway Park, security was increased as the series returned to Yankee Stadium. Two dozen police officers were in Monument Park, behind the bullpens, at start of the game. Fans greeted Ramirez, a central party in Saturday's confrontations, with the loudest boos.
Giambi's first postseason homer for the Yankees, the third of his career, put New York ahead in the first.
Pettitte breezed through two innings but got in trouble in the third, when Varitek led off with a long homer to left -- his fourth of the postseason.
A walk to Damon and a single by Walker put two men on for Garciaparra, who grounded to the hole at shortstop. But Derek Jeter made a fine backhanded pickup and threw to third for the force. Pettitte then walked Ramirez on four pitches and Ortiz lined a single just over a leaping Jeter, driving in two runs. Kevin Millar lofted a soft single to center for 4-1 lead.
But Boston starter John Burkett, a 38-year-old who relies on offspeed pitches, couldn't get through the fourth. Posada and Matsui singled to put runners on the corners, and Nick Johnson hit a long liner to the right-center gap. The ball seemed to be held up by the wind and hopped over the wall for an RBI ground-rule double.
Aaron Boone grounded out sharply to shortstop on the next pitch to drive in Matsui and pull the Yankees within a run. Karim Garcia bounced the next pitch to shortstop, but Garciaparra let the ball bounce out of his glove for an error.
Soriano hit the following pitch hard to center, and the wind pushed it to left-center, where it dropped for a two-run double that put New York ahead.
Posada made it 6-4 in the fifth with a solo homer that appeared to ride the wind over the wall in left.
Giambi came up with runners at second and third with one out in the sixth but Embree struck him out. Giambi also struck out with two on, ending the fourth, and again leading off the ninth.