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YANKEES 6, RED SOX 2

6-2 and even

Pettitte wins, Red Sox lose, and Yankees tie

NEW YORK -- Why waste a perfectly good broom? Keeping faith with New England's legendary heritage of flinty frugality, the Red Sox last night spared the faithful back home from depleting their broom closets before they flock to Fenway Park this weekend all dressed in red with shaved heads.

There will be no sweep in the American League Championship Series. Sox slayer Andy Pettitte made certain of that as he rebounded from a rocky start and stifled Grady Little's big guns to propel the Yankees to a series-tying 6-2 victory before 56,295 in the Bronx.

How big was the victory for the pinstripers, who otherwise confronted the prospect of riding an 0-2 deficit into the Hub to face Pedro Martinez tomorrow in Game 3?

In the eyes of Yankee manager Joe Torre, it was nothing less than a "must" win.

And how big a loss for the championship-famished Sox? Certainly far from crushing, considering the best-of-seven series instantly became a best-of-five with three games in the Fens and Martinez scheduled to pitch two of the final five.

"We didn't get done what we wanted to get done, but the way it turned out we are going back to Fenway Park after splitting here in a ballpark where it's very hard to win a game," Sox manager Grady Little said. "We don't have any choice but to be happy about it right now."

Nonetheless, it stung just a bit.

"I don't really think of it in those terms," said general manager Theo Epstein of looking favorably on a split. "I think of it as we had a chance to win a game and move one step closer, and we didn't do it. It's a tough defeat, but it's not the end of the world. We're playing OK."

Pettitte, a career 13-5 in the regular season against Boston, restored emotional order in Gotham by defeating the Sox for the second time in as many ALCS starts against them. Nearly as nasty as he was when he flummoxed the Sox, 9-2, in Game 4 of the 1999 ALCS, the lefthander surrendered only two runs on nine hits and a pair of walks over 6 2/3 innings. From there, one of Boss Steinbrenner's prized offseason trophies, Jose Contreras, held off the Sox until the ninth, when Mariano Rivera took over and mowed down the side as the jubilant crowd chanted, "We want Pedro."

Martinez, who smiled broadly as if to say, "Bring it on," cordoned off his locker area for a second straight night with tape, this time emblazoned with the message, "Do not enter. Bad mood."

The Sox ace jokingly warned reporters to enter his space -- "my cage" -- at their peril.   Continued...

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