Yankees 2, Red Sox 1

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NEW YORK (AP)—Pedro Martinez and Mike Mussina matched each other pitch for pitch, so the New York Yankees just waited for a fortunate bounce.

Todd Walker booted Curtis Pride’s bases-loaded grounder in the ninth inning, giving New York a 2-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Monday and a split of their four-game series.

“If there’s a blueprint for beating Pedro, that’s the blueprint. Keep it close and hope for a break,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “He doesn’t give you much.”

Martinez and Mussina locked up in a marquee matchup that lived up to its billing, and Red Sox reliever Byung-Hyun Kim had another forgettable day at Yankee Stadium.

New York won without Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano, who left early after bruising their hands on high-and-tight pitches from Martinez, and increased its AL East lead to four games over Boston.

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner thought Martinez was coming up and in on purpose.

“I don’t know what was going through his mind, but if it’s what it looked like, it’s not good,” Steinbrenner said. “It’s not good for his team, not good for baseball. … Fortunately, both of our men are OK.”

Hideki Matsui and Karim Garcia singled off Kim (2-2) to start the ninth. Pinch-hitter Jorge Posada was hit by a pitch, loading the bases, and Robin Ventura struck out.

With the infield drawn in, Pride hit a grounder to second base that knocked Walker’s glove off as he tried to backhand it. By the time Walker corralled the ball with two bare hands it was too late, and his high throw to the plate had no chance to get Matsui.

“It was a short hop,” said Walker, who was charged with an error. “Infield in cuts down your reaction time. It was a play that should have been made. It just slipped out of my glove. It was a tough way to lose.”

Pride, who is almost totally deaf, homered in his Yankees debut Sunday for his first longball in more than two years. He had been out of the majors since 2001 before being called up by the Yankees on Friday.

Mariano Rivera (3-0) pitched a scoreless ninth for the victory as the Yankees shut down Boston’s big offense for the second straight day after getting blown out in the first two games of the series.

“I think it’s important. I hope it says a lot about us,” Torre said. “Moose kept us right there. After the first two games, we were reeling a little bit, but we had two great games pitched for us.”

Pitching inside all day, Martinez struck out 11 in seven sharp innings. But Mussina was just as good, retiring 21 in a row after Manny Ramirez’s RBI double in the first.

Soriano, New York’s leadoff hitter and All-Star second baseman, injured his left hand on a pitch from Martinez in the first inning. The ball appeared to glance off Soriano’s hand, but plate umpire Ed Montague ruled Soriano swung for a strike.

Martinez said he didn’t mean to hit Soriano.

“Are you crazy? The guy’s right on top of the plate,” Martinez said. “The only way you’re going to get Soriano out is inside. He hits curveballs, he hits changeups, he leans over the plate. He’s that good. You’ve got to give him a lot of credit. When you throw inside, you’re going to hit guys sometimes. I don’t try to hit anybody, it was just an accident.”

Soriano remained in the game and struck out. Jeter, the next batter, was hit on the right hand by Martinez’s 1-2 pitch, drawing boos from the crowd.

Jeter immediately yanked his hand away in pain. He bent over as he was attended to by a trainer and Torre, but stayed in the game until the third.

X-rays on Jeter and Soriano were negative, and both were day-to-day with bone bruises.

Their departures left the Yankees with a makeshift infield—Ventura at second base for the first time in his 15-year career. But in a tight ballgame with pennant-race implications, Mussina never retaliated.

“It was a situation that was pretty delicate,” Mussina said. “I think if I go inside to somebody, the umpire’s going to warn both benches. I didn’t want to lose half the plate. It’s a tough spot. You try to do what’s right. I’m not sure what anybody was thinking, but I felt I had to get guys out.”

Kim relieved Martinez and got a loud ovation from 55,016 fans who remember the two game-tying homers and one game-winning shot he gave up to the Yankees with Arizona during the 2001 World Series. Kim got through the eighth before faltering in the ninth.

“It’s kind of hard to say if they have my number,” Kim said through an interpreter.

Mussina allowed two hits in eight innings, striking out nine. Martinez gave up one run and five hits, walking none.

Jason Giambi’s RBI single in the sixth tied it at 1.

Notes

It was Martinez’s third double-digit strikeout game this season and the 90th of his career. … It was the seventh consecutive sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium. … The series drew 220,026 fans, the largest turnout for a four-game set in the 28-year history of remodeled Yankee Stadium. The previous mark was214,510 in September 1985 against Toronto.

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