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Yankees Hold 3-2 Lead In 8th

Darryl Strawberry homered off the Pesky Pole, but the Boston Red Sox came back against Andy Pettitte to take a 2-1 lead over the New York Yankees after three innings Sunday night in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series.

The Yankees, coming back from a 13-1 pasting that was their most lopsided loss in 254 postseason games, were hoping to extend their 2-1 edge in the best-of-7 series.

Troy O'Leary and Jose Offerman had RBI singles for the Red Sox. But Boston missed a big chance in the third inning when Offerman was thrown out on the plate on a failed gamble by third base coach Wendell Kim.

Strawberry connected in the second off Bret Saberhagen, whose wife, Lynn, sang the national anthem.

Strawberry's ninth career postseason homer was a line drive off the screen attached to the right-field foul pole. At 302 feet from home plate, the pole got its nickname because former Red Sox player Johnny Pesky used to wrap shots around it for home runs.

The Red Sox tied it in the second when Butch Huskey doubled with one out and chugged home on O'Leary's broken-bat looper to center field.

Damon Buford singled with one out in the Boston third, stole second and scored on Offerman's single up the middle.

John Valentin followed with a double off the Green Monster that eluded left fielder Chad Curtis. With Kim waving home Offerman, center fielder Bernie Williams rushed over and made the relay to shortstop Derek Jeter, whose strong throw to catcher Joe Girardi was in time.

Had Offerman held, the Red Sox would have had runners on second and third with one out and Nomar Garciaparra at the plate.

Instead, Pettitte pitched around Garciaparra and walked him before striking out Mike Stanley.

Saberhagen, at least, made it out of th second inning, something that he did not do in his last outing. In the deciding Game 5 of the division series at Cleveland, he allowed five runs and did not escape the second.

Another sellout crowd at Fenway Park was in a festive spirit from the start, chanting "Nomar's Better" when Jeter batted in the first inning.

Game 5 was to be at Fenway Park on Monday night, with Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez starting for the Yankees against Kent Mercker.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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