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Hopes Sunk: Okajima Walks In Winning Run, Red Sox Lose To Yankees, 4-3

Bronx, NY (Sports Network) - Hideki Okajima walked Juan Miranda with the bases loaded in the 10th inning as the New York Yankees edged the Red Sox, 4-3, to secure at least a tie for the wild card spot and essentially squashing Boston's faint playoff hopes.

Robinson Cano singled in the tying run in the ninth inning and the Yankees loaded the bases in the 10th against Okajima (4-4) before Miranda walked on an inside pitch to drive in Brett Gardner and end the contest.

Alex Rodriguez belted a two-run homer for the Yankees, who snapped a four-game skid and climbed within a half-game of Tampa Bay for first in the AL East. The Rays lost at home earlier Sunday to Seattle.

"That's a real big win for us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "After giving up the lead in the ninth inning, to be able to come back, tie it up and get one in the 10th, that's a huge win."

The Red Sox, who went ahead with a two-run ninth, failed to sweep the three- game series as Jonathan Papelbon suffered his eighth blown save this season.

Boone Logan (2-0) retired David Ortiz for the final out of the 10th inning, and Curtis Granderson singled to right to start the winning rally. Gardner then put down a bunt toward first base. Catcher Victor Martinez lunged for the ball and threw off-balance to first and the ball caromed off Gardner and into foul territory, putting runners at the corners.

"The guy who made the bunt can fly," Martinez said. "I knew that if Okie got the ball there was no chance we were going to get him out at first. I was just trying to do my best right there. I didn't have time to see if he was in my way or not."

Derek Jeter was intentionally walked, but pinch-hitter Marcus Thames hit a sharp grounder for a force out at the plate. Miranda then walked on a 3-1 count.

Prior to the winning rally, there were some shifts of momentum in the seventh through ninth innings. Mark Teixeira singled in the seventh for one of his three hits and Rodriguez followed with his 29th homer of the year, giving New York a 2-1 lead.

Boston stole four bases with Mariano Rivera on the mound in the ninth to set up its two-run rally. Ryan Kalishsingled to center with one out, then stole second and third before Bill Hall's single under the glove of Rodriguez at third tied the game. Mike Lowell, who will retire following this season, then came to the plate as a pinch-hitter. Hall swiped second and then third, emphatically pumping his fist. Lowell lifted a sacrifice fly to center to give Boston the lead.

"It was a huge game to win," Rivera said. "Unfortunately it happened like this. It's a win, it doesn't matter how it was."

Nick Swisher singled off Papelbon with one out in the bottom of the ninth and Teixeira singled to right field. Pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez stole third and Rodriguez walked to load the bases to set up Cano's clean single to right field.

Lost in the shuffle was a stellar performance on the mound by Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, who fanned seven over eight innings. Phil Hughes started for the Yankees and allowed three hits and a run over six innings. That run came via Martinez's RBI single in the third inning.

The Red Sox head to Chicago for a four-game series with the White Sox before concluding the season at Fenway Park against the Yankees...New York plays in Toronto for a three-game series, starting Monday...The Yankees lead the season series, 8-7...The Yankees finished the 2010 home regular season with a 52-29 record...Rodriguez has four homers in his last eight at-bats...Cano is batting .611 (11-for-18) with 25 RBI with the bases loaded in 2010.