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No rain, no fights as Red Sox tie series

Todd Walker got hugs after his fourth inning home run gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.

Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

Todd Walker got hugs after his fourth inning home run gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.

After 48 hours of nonstop accusations, arguments, shame, and blame, the Red Sox and Yankees went back to playing baseball last night.

As a waning orange squash of a moon rose beyond the bleachers, Tim Wakefield threw baseballs that danced and dazzled and the Sox beat the Yankees, 3-2, to even the American League Championship Series at 2-2. Some are already thinking about the bombastic prospect of Pedro Martinez vs. Roger Clemens in a Game 7 Thursday night in Yankee Stadium. It would be the first Game 7 in Yankee Stadium since 1957.

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Trot Nixon (3 for 3) broke a 1-1 tie and put the Sox ahead for good with one of his patented parabolic shots into the center-field bleachers in the fifth. Fenway folklore no doubt someday will hold that Trot promised little Paul Williams that he’d hit a homer just for him, as the Babe did back in the day. Williams, a Sox groundskeeper, suffered injuries Saturday in an altercation in the visitors’ bullpen.

All kidding aside, it was good to get back to baseball after two days of dueling mayors and Don Zimmer vs. Pedro.

“It was great to get back out there and see Fenway Park at its best,” said Sox general manager Theo Epstein. “This showed what Boston baseball is all about. That was an October classic right there and that’s what we all wanted to get back to.”

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Indeed, there was a decided dearth of acrimony. Saturday’s rowdiness yielded to “Could you pass the Grey Poupon?” as Sox fans remained under control and the ballplayers behaved professionally.

“That stuff [Saturday] was just a 20-minute delay from two great teams playing,” said Sox Cowboy Upper Kevin Millar. “These games have been unbelievable. That other stuff? You can put it on the shelf now.”

The Game 4 tone was set by former Sox batterymates Luis Tiant and Carlton Fisk, golden boys from the golden days who collaborated on the ceremonial first pitch. Wearing his No. 23 jersey, Luis went into his corkscrew windup and fired a strike to his Hall of Fame catcher, the pride of the Granite State. In that moment, all was right in Red Sox Nation. It was 1975 again.

Taking his cue from Boston’s best big-game pitcher of the modern era, Wakefield won his second game of the series. He’s been a member of the team longer than any other active player and it’s hard to fathom that he was left off the playoff roster when the Sox lost the ALCS to the Yankees in 1999. He is clearly inside the heads of the Yankee batters and could be a great weapon for Grady Little in Games 6 and 7.

Think about it. Pedro or Wake in Game 7? Whoever would have guessed that would be a question?

After New England’s floody, floody Sunday, the weather for Game 4 was perfect, reminiscent of some great October nights of years past. Sox fans waved white “cowboy up” towels as Wakefield and Yankee Mike Mussina threw zeroes for the first three innings.

Sox second baseman Todd Walker got things going in the fourth inning, lofting a 2-and-2 Mussina pitch into the seats in right. It was Walker’s fifth homer of the postseason - not bad for a guy who hit only 13 during the regular season. The Yankees are pitching lefthanders in the next two games (David Wells and Andy Pettitte), but it might be time for Little to stick with Walker no matter who pitches.

“I’m just more focused than I’ve ever been in my life,” said Walker.

The Yankees came back with a weird run in the top of the fifth, but that was it until Ruben Sierra hit a pinch homer off Sox closer Scott Williamson in the ninth.

In the bottom of the fifth, Nixon - who hit the dramatic walkoff homer to win Game 3 of the Division Series against Oakland - crushed another home run. Nixon’s solo shot broke the tie and seemed to recharge Wakefield, who struck out the side in the top of the sixth. Wakefield was pitching like the young man who stuffed the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 playoffs. He needed only four pitches to get through the seventh.

Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Jason Varitek’s hustle to prevent a double play allowed what turned into the winning run to score in the sevenfh inning.

The Red Sox chased Mussina and got an apparent insurance run in the bottom of the seventh. Nixon was in the middle of things again with a Wall double and Millar scored from third on pinch hitter Jason Varitek’s force-play grounder to short. Varitek made the play with great hustle down the line, avoiding a double play that would have negated the run.

After Varitek’s RBI, Felix Heredia replaced Mussina and Jeff Nelson started throwing in the Yankee bullpen, much to the titillation of the bleacherites. Nelson was one of the Yankees involved in Saturday’s bullpen fracas. Fenway fans got their wish in the bottom of the eighth when Nelson came into the game after Heredia hit Walker in the arm with a pitch. After Nelson’s first pitch, Little came out of the dugout and asked the umpires to check if Nelson was doctoring the baseball. The umpires did a thorough inspection and Nelson looked like a man trying to clear security at Logan as the men in blue inspected his belt buckle.

“I guess they wanted to undress him to see if he had anything to doctor the ball,” said Yankees manager Joe Torre.

It just never stops with these teams. Game 5 is this afternoon at Fenway at 4:18.After 48 hours of nonstop accusations, arguments, shame, and blame, the Red Sox and Yankees went back to playing baseball last night.

As a waning orange squash of a moon rose beyond the bleachers, Tim Wakefield threw baseballs that danced and dazzled and the Sox beat the Yankees, 3-2, to even the American League Championship Series at 2-2. Some of us are already thinking about the bombastic prospect of Pedro Martinez vs. Roger Clemens in a Game 7 Thursday night in Yankee Stadium. It would be the first Game 7 in Yankee Stadium since 1957.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Tim Wakefield pumped his fist after getting a fly ball out to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning.

Trot Nixon (homer and double) broke a 1-1 tie and put the Sox ahead for good with one of his patented parabolic shots into the center-field bleachers in the fifth. Fenway folklore no doubt someday will hold that Trot promised little Paul Williams that he’d hit a homer just for him, as the Babe did back in the day. Williams, a Sox groundskeeper, suffered injuries Saturday in an altercation in the Yankees’ bullpen.

For Fenway fans, the Game 4 tone was set by former Sox batterymates Luis Tiant and Carlton Fisk, golden boys from the golden days who collaborated on the ceremonial first pitch. Wearing his No. 23 jersey, Luis went into his corkscrew windup and fired a strike to his Hall of Fame catcher, the pride of the Granite State. In that moment, all was right in Red Sox Nation. It was 1975 again.

Taking his cue from Boston’s best big-game pitcher of the modern era, Wakefield won his second game of the series. He’s been a member of the team longer than any other active player and it’s hard to fathom that he was left off the playoff roster when the Sox lost the ALCS to the Yankees in 1999. He is clearly inside the heads of the Yankee batters and could be a great weapon for Grady Little in Games 6 and 7.

After New England’s floody, floody Sunday, the weather for Game 4 was perfect, reminiscent of some great October nights of years past. Sox fans waved white “cowboy up” towels as Wakefield and Yankee Mike Mussina threw zeroes for the first three innings.

Sox second baseman Todd Walker got things going in the fourth inning, lofting a 2-and-2 Mussina pitch into the seats in right. It was Walker’s fifth homer of the postseason - not bad for a guy who hit only 13 during the regular season. The Yankees are pitching lefthanders in the next two games (David Wells and Andy Pettitte), but it might be time for Little to stick with Walker no matter who pitches.

The Yankees came back with a weird run of their own in the top of the fifth. After back-to-back one-out singles by David Dellucci and Alfonso Soriano, Derek Jeter hit a grounder that bounced off the third base bag, allowing Dellucci to score. Jeter got a cheesy double out of it, but the Yankees stranded runners on second and third.

In the bottom of the fifth, Nixon - who hit the dramatic walkoff homer to win Game 3 of the Division Series against Oakland - crushed another home run. Nixon’s solo shot broke the tie and seemed to recharge Wakefield, who struck out the side in the top of the sixth. Wakefield was pitching like the young man who stuffed the Atlanta Braves in 1992. He needed only four pitches to get through the seventh.

The Red Sox chased Mussina and got what they thought was an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh. Nixon was in the middle of things again with a Wall double, and Kevin Millar scored from third on pinch hitter Jason Varitek’s force-play grounder to short. At that point, Felix Heredia replaced Mussina and Jeff Nelson started throwing in the Yankee bullpen, much to the titillation of the bleacherites. Nelson was one of the Yankees involed in Saturday’s bullpen fracas.

Things got dicey for the Sox in the eighth (you thought this was going to be easy?). Wakefield walked Jason Giambi on a 3-and-2 pitch to start the inning and was immediately lifted. It seemed like a quick hook given that Wakefield struck out the side in the sixth and threw four pitches in the seventh, but Mike Timlin retired the next three batters. The suddenly amazing Timlin has retired 22 of 22 batters in the postseason, but he was replaced in the ninth by Scott Williamson.

Never easy, remember? Williamson blew away Nick Johnson to start the inning, then surrendered a homer on a 1-and-2 pitch to pinch hitter Ruben Sierra. He then struck out Dellucci and Soriano to end it.

Naturally, there was one last sideshow before the nervous ninth: Fenway fans got their wish in the bottom of the eighth when Nelson came into the game after Heredia hit Walker in the arm with a pitch. After Nelson’s first pitch, Little came out of the dugout and asked the umpires to check and see if Nelson was doctoring the baseball. The umps did a thorough inspection, and Nelson looked like a man trying to clear security at Logan as the men in blue inspected his belt buckle.

It just never stops with these teams. Game 5 is this afternoon at Fenway at 4:18.

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