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Red Sox clinch berth, make Yanks' playoff road tougher

BOSTON (AP) -- The champagne had a brief wait and a short trip
after the New York Yankees clinched the AL East at Fenway Park.

A day later, across the diamond, the Boston Red Sox joined their
longtime rivals in the playoffs.

"Both of these teams went through a lot this year," said Curt
Schilling, who shut the Yankees down long enough for the Red Sox to
win 10-1 on Sunday and grab the AL wild-card berth. "To be where
we are says as much about the people as it does about the talent."

Reigning World Series MVP Manny Ramirez hit a three-run homer
and also threw out Derek Jeter from the outfield to put Boston in
the playoffs for a franchise-record third consecutive year. The Red
Sox open on Tuesday at Chicago with Matt Clement facing Jose
Contreras.

New York's loss meant it will start the postseason Tuesday in
Anaheim rather than at home against the Los Angeles Angels.

Schilling (8-8) held the Yankees scoreless for five innings; by
that time, the Cleveland Indians had already lost 3-1 to the
Chicago White Sox and assured Boston of the AL's last playoff spot.
The outfield message boards posted matching congratulations -- one
for the Red Sox and one for the Yankees, who celebrated in Fenway
Park's visitor's clubhouse on Saturday after clinching the AL East.

"That's got to be a first, huh?" New York general manager
Brian Cashman said. "Two teams playing each other, clinching in
the same stadium."

The Red Sox and Yankees each finished the year 95-67, though the
Fenway scoreboard listed them alphabetically, with Boston ahead of
New York. But the Yankees actually took the division title because
they beat the Red Sox 10-9 in the season series.

"Co-division champs. That's what I'm calling it," Red Sox
owner John Henry said. "I can understand why there isn't [a
playoff], but frankly, I would have liked to have had one. It would
have been nice to settle the division championship."

The Angels also finished 95-67 and earned the home-field
advantage against the Yankees because they won the season series
6-4.

Cleveland's game ended when Jason Varitek was at-bat in the
bottom of the fifth. Red Sox management hugged in their box seats
next to the field, and Henry passed the word along to the dugout.

After Varitek singled, the Fenway video screen showed a shot of
the manual scoreboard at the base of the Green Monster. The "9"
next to the White Sox and Indians score came out, indicating a
final, and the sold-out crowd stood and cheered.

"In my whole career, I've never seen this type of race that you
had to wait for the last day," said David Wells, who will follow
Matt Clement in the playoff rotation against the White Sox.
"There's so many teams that are involved. You've got to smile
because we're in it."

By the time this one was over, the starters were out of the game
and the much-anticipated season finale had the look of a spring
training game, except for the chill in the air and the anticipation
of a possible playoff rematch.

"There's a chance we'll meet again," Yankees manager Joe Torre
said. "If it does happen, it'll be a shootout."

The Red Sox counted down the last three outs with giant numbers
on an outfield scoreboard. Many of the fans had left because of the
blowout, but they cheered each pitch to Bubba Crosby. When he
struck out looking to end the game, the team that dubbed itself the
"idiots" last year poured out of the dugout for a mild
celebration on the mound.

"Even idiots can grow up a little bit," Red Sox general
manager Theo Epstein said. "It should be a bit more subdued. ...
The first celebration should be subdued, and the fourth one should
be crazy."

Doug Mirabelli also homered for Boston, making it 10-1 in the
sixth with a three-run shot that bounced off the base of the
flagpole that holds the 2004 World Series Champion pennant.

The Red Sox have not repeated as World Series champs since
1915-16.

Now they'll have a chance.

Jaret Wright (5-5) subbed for Mike Mussina, who will start
Tuesday against the Angels. Jason Giambi, who has been bothered by
back spasms, was the only other New York regular to take the day
off. Wright allowed three runs, three hits and five walks in 3 1/3
innings.

He left after Bill Mueller homered and Tony Graffanino walked
starting a five-run fourth. Johnny Damon singled and, one out
later, David Ortiz got his major league-leading 148th RBI.

The big hit in the inning came from Ramirez, who even hustled
around the bases -- after his usual pause to watch the ball bounce
into the center-field bleachers. It was his 45th homer of the year,
matching a career high; he has nine homers and 19 RBI in his last
12 games.

Ramirez threw out Jeter when he tried to stretch a Wall shot
into a double in the first. Jeter slid headfirst into second base
and walked off the field gingerly but stayed in the game until the
fourth. The Yankees announced that he was taken out so that he
could keep his knee iced as a precaution.

"Jeter's OK," Torre said. "He was a little gimpy."

Although the Yankees had a chance to avoid a trip to California
after the game, their victory on Saturday deprived the ballpark of
the drama of the winner-take-all playoff on Oct. 2, 1978 -- exactly
27 years earlier -- that Bucky Dent won with his popup into the
Green Monster's net.

Schilling gave up singles to three of the first four hitters,
but Jeter was erased on Ramirez's play and the others were stranded
when Hideki Matsui grounded out to first.

Game notes
Schilling tied Mickey Lolich on the strikeout list with
2,832. ... The Red Sox hold a 36-35 edge over the Yankees since the
start of the 2003 season. They've each won one AL pennant. ...
Ramirez, who also walked twice, was 17-for-44, a .386 batting
average in his last 12 games. ... Ortiz had a single, two walks, a
strikeout and ended the season with a .300 batting average
(.2995008). ... Rodriguez went 0-for-3 and won the AL home run race
over Ortiz 48-47. ... Rodriguez and Jeter finished first and second
in runs scored in the AL, the first time the Yankees accomplished
that since Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris each scored 132 runs in
1961.