Boston Forces Game Seven

A good old-fashioned shootout happened at Yankee Stadium in game six of the ALCS on Wednesday. The Yankees and Red Sox finally showed off their high-powered offenses and feasted on the pitching staffs of the opposing teams. The Sox bats proved to be too much for the Yankees and Boston forced a game seven with a 9-6 victory.

The game featured four lead changes and 24 hits and featured the first time that either team had mustered more than six runs in the series. The Boston win sets up a dramatic game seven scenario that will feature Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez in a rematch of the controversial game three.

Johnny Damon's bases-loaded walk to cap a three-run, seventh-inning Boston inning was the final lead change of the game as Boston hung on for the rest of the way. The Sox rallied against Jose Contreras when Nomar Garciaparra – as part of a 4/5 night – lifted a ball off the wall in centerfield for a triple. Hideki Matsui fielded and fired into the infield, but the wind took his throw into the seats and allowed Nomar to score.

That made the score 6-5 New York, but Boston was far from done. Manny Ramirez followed Nomar with a double to the wall in centerfield, moved to third on a wild pitch and came around to score the tying run on David Ortiz' ensuing infield single.

After an out and another base hit, Contreras was lifted from the game for Felix Heredia. The runners moved to second and thid on a wild pitch before Heredia struck out Trot Nixon for the second out. Jason Varitek was intentionally walked to load the bases for Damon, who walked on four pitches to give Boston the lead.

Nixon made up for his earlier strikeout with a two-run homerun in the ninth inning off of Gabe White that put the game out of reach.

The Yankees drew first blood in the first on Jason Giambi's first postseason homerun. His solo shot to left gave the Yanks a 1-0 lead against John Burkett.

A four-run Boston third against Andy Pettitte gave the visitors the lead, but it was short-lived as the Yankees rallied for four runs of their own in the fourth.

Jorge Posada's solo homer in the fifth gave the Yanks a temporary 6-4 lead.

Andy Pettitte wasn't nearly as good as he was in game two. The southpaw allowed four runs on eight hits and a pair of walks in just five innings of work. He struck out five batters before giving way to the bullpen.

Contreras (0-1) picked up the loss for the Yanks as well as a blown save. He allowed three runs in 1 1/3 innings and was very wild toward the end of his performance.

Boston's pitching staff wasn't much better, but the bullpen was collectively better than the Yankees'. Burkett allowed five runs – three earned – on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings. Bronson Arroyo relieved him and allowed the homerun to Posada, but Todd Jones, Alan Embree, Mike Timlin and Scott Williamson combined to pitch the last four innings scorelessly.

Embree (1-0) earned the win for his 1 2/3 innings of work, and Williamson notched his third save of the postseason.

The stage is set for game seven now, which will be Thursday at 8:18 pm. The winner of it will face the winner of game seven of the NLCS between Florida and Chicago. Clemens (2-0, 2.08) will go for the Yanks after taking a win in Boston in game three. Pedro Martinez (1-1, 4.29) will face his Boston-ace predecessor when he starts for the Sox.

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