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Red Sox hold off Yanks

Eduardo Nunez charged Gleyber Torres' four-hopper toward third base and whipped the ball across the diamond. Steve Pearce stretched, falling on his chest for a sprawling catch. The umpire signalled: "Out!"

The Boston Red Sox gathered around exhausted closer Craig Kimbrel, hugging and celebrating after the New York Yankees' two-run rally in the ninth inning fell short. But wait!

In 21st century baseball, the game doesn't always end when it seems, hanging in limbo until umpires in a downtown Manhattan replay room agree.

A Yankee Stadium crowd of 49,641 wondered and the Red Sox paused as they watched from the infield in suspended celebration, fixated on the centre-field video board.

After 63 seconds that felt like a lot longer, crew chief Mike Winters heard the decision, took off his headset, raised his right fist and made it official: The Red Sox beat the Yankees 4-3 Tuesday night to win the AL Division Series 3-1, setting up a post-season rematch with the World Series champion Astros.

"I've been talking about them the whole season, so now we go," said Red Sox rookie manager Alex Cora, Houston's bench coach last year. "Best of seven. They know me. I know them. It should be fun."

J.D. Martinez and the 108-win Red Sox reached the AL Championship Series for the first time since Boston won the title in 2013. A year after losing to Houston in a four-game ALDS, the Red Sox open the best-of-seven matchup against the 103-win Astros on Saturday night at Fenway Park. Houston went 4-3 against Boston this year.

"Awesome to clinch this one," Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes said, "but we've got eight more."

A New Jersey native who grew up a Mets fan, Rick Porcello held the Yankees to one run over five innings for his first post-season win in 13 appearances. Barnes and Ryan Brasier followed with a perfect inning each to protect a 4-1 lead.

Red Sox ace Chris Sale told Cora when he arrived at the ballpark that he wanted to pitch, and he followed with a 1-2-3 eighth in a rare relief appearance that extended the Yankees' streak of consecutive outs to 11.



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