Giambi comes off bench, saves Yanks against Boston

NEW YORK — Jason Giambi saved the New York Yankees, coming off the bench to hit a tying homer in the seventh inning and a game-winning single in the ninth for a 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.

Desperate to get back in the playoff race, New York salvaged the finale of a three-game series and won Boston’s final regular-season game at Yankee Stadium.

Mariano Rivera (5-5) entered a tie game in the eighth and pitched 1 1-3 hitless innings for the win, helping the Yankees overcome another poor performance by Alex Rodriguez.

Booed vociferously all afternoon, A-Rod struck out three times and popped up with runners at the corners and one out in the sixth. The three-time MVP also had a terrible game Tuesday night, going 0-for-5 and grounding into a pair of double plays during a 7-3 loss.

This time, Giambi brought the Yankees back.

Rested against lefty Jon Lester, Giambi pinch hit with two outs in the seventh and connected for a two-run homer off Hideki Okajima that tied the score 2-all.

With the bases loaded and one out in the ninth, Giambi lined Jonathan Papelbon’s 0-2 pitch into center field and was mobbed by jubilant teammates at first base.

Finally showing some vigor, New York moved within six games of the Red Sox, who lead the AL wild-card race. A series sweep by Boston would have left the Yankees eight games back with 29 to play — perhaps too steep a hill to climb.

The Yankees haven’t missed a postseason since 1993.

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