Sox rally to take rubber game

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NEW YORK (AP) – Hideki Matsui’s broken wrist left the Yankees without another power-hitting outfielder, and the Boston Red Sox rallied past New York 5-3 Thursday night on Mark Loretta’s two-run infield single.

Loretta finished with four hits. His first sent Matsui to a hospital, and his last put the Red Sox ahead in the seventh.

Boston’s No. 2 hitter sent a blooper into left field in the first inning, and Matsui landed hard on his wrist in an unsuccessful bid to make a diving catch. He immediately left the game, was put in an ambulance while still in uniform and was to have surgery Friday. The Yankees did not say when he would be able to return, and a lengthy absence appears likely.

Boston took two of three in the series, opened a one-game AL East lead and has won three of four against New York this year. With Matsui out, Bubba Crosby moved from right field to left, and Bernie Williams took over in right. They both wound up involved in key plays. Crosby leaped at the left-field wall with his glove extended over the top of the fence to rob Mike Lowell of a two-run homer and end the third.

Then, after Wily Mo Pena doubled leading off the fourth, Johnny Damon jumped to snare a drive by former Boston teammate Doug Mirabelli near the top of the center-field wall.

But Williams cost the Yankees in the seventh. With New York ahead 3-2 and Mirabelli at first, No. 9 hitter Alex Gonzalez lofted a ball into the right-field corner against Ron Villone (0-1). Williams overran it, and the ball dropped just fair, putting runners on second and third.

On eout later, Loretta hit a grounder into the shortstop hole. Derek Jeter went to the ground and threw from his knees to first.

His throw was high and wide, and the ball popped out of Miguel Cairo’s glove as he tried to tag Loretta, allowing two runs to score.

Boston, which stranded 15 runners, was 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position before that hit.

Tim Wakefield (3-4) struck out nine, allowing three runs and six hits. Jorge Posada hit a two-run single through the knuckleballer’s legs in the first inning, and Jeter had an RBI single in the fourth.

With Jeter on second and one out in the seventh, Mike Timlin struck out Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez. Williams doubled against Keith Foulke leading off the eighth but was stranded at third when Cairo fouled off four two-strike pitches against Jonathan Papelbon, then struck out.

Youkilis added an RBI single in the ninth off Mariano Rivera, and Papelbon finished for his 13th save in 13 chances. He retired Giambi on a popup with a runner on to end it after 3 hours, 59 minutes.

Shawn Chacon lasted just 4 2-3 innings and walked five, throwing 52 of 104 pitches for strikes. But he gave up only one run, on David Ortiz’s run-scoring grounder in the third.

After retiring Mirabelli on a bases-loaded flyout to end the fifth, Scott Proctor allowed three straight hits starting the sixth, including Loretta’s RBI single. But Mike Myers, Tanyon Sturtze and Villone got out of the inning without allowing any more runs.

Notes: Boston pitcher Curt Schilling left Yankee Stadium before the game to have a medical issue checked out, then returned before the start. Red Sox spokesman John Blake said the medical issue was not related to pitching. … A smoking object appeared to land on the field in the middle of the seventh.

AP-ES-05-11-06 2322EDT

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