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Sox lose Game 3 melee

Yanks frustrate Boston in wild playoff, 4-3

Full moon Friday. Lots of howling Saturday.

The Red Sox and Yankees took their century-old conflict to a new level yesterday. Brushback pitches flew, tempers flared, benches emptied, a Yankee starter left with an injury after a fistfight with a Sox groundskeeper in the Yankee bullpen, and Don Zimmer, a 72-year-old Yankee coach (and former Sox manager) wound up on the ground with a bloodied nose after charging Pedro Martinez.

Oh, and Roger Clemens and the Yankees beat Pedro and the Sox, 4-3, to take a 2-1 lead in a best-of-seven Hardball Harvest that has officially taken this ancient rivalry to a new and ugly level. If you're keeping score at home, the Red Sox are now 9-15 in Pedro's career starts against the Yankees.

Sox manager Grady Little said, "When this series began everyone knew it was going to be quite a battle, very emotional, with a lot of intensity, but I think we've upgraded it from a battle to a war."

"A whole lot of testosterone flying around out there," Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon said.

Things started to get out of hand in the fourth inning when Martinez was getting roughed up by Yankee hitters. After Hideki Matsui's ground-rule double put the Yankees ahead, 3-2, Martinez threw a pitch behind Karim Garcia. The pitch grazed Garcia's shoulder and the outfielder had some words for Martinez. Plate umpire Alfonzo Marquez warned both benches, taking away any chance of Clemens retaliating without risk of ejection.

"There's no question in my mind that Pedro hit him on purpose," said Yankee manager Joe Torre. "He was probably frustrated with the fact that we hit some balls hard . . . I didn't care for that."

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