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Justice is served at Fenway

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The Cleveland Indians are headed back to the AL championship series - and smack into one of the best teams in baseball history.

David Justice, whose two-run, eighth-inning double led Cleveland to a clinching 2-1 win over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, knows the task the Indians face against the Yankees."They've got a great ballclub from top to bottom, but I feel confident we can play on the same field," Justice said. "But we don't have any advantage over them."

The Yankees followed an AL-record 114-win regular season with a three-game sweep against Texas in the first round. The Rangers managed just one run and 13 hits after leading the AL in hitting during the regular season.

The Indians, who beat Boston 3-1 in the best-of-5 series, overcame a formidable foe Saturday in Tom Gordon, who ended the season with a major league record 43 straight save conversions. Before Justice's hit, he hadn't blown a save chance since April 14.

"I don't think you get to postseason by being lucky. I don't think you continue in postseason by being lucky," Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove said.

In the series that opens at New York on Tuesday night, Cleveland will field several players who weren't on the team that beat the Yankees 3-2 in the first round last year. Gone are starters Orel Hershiser and Chad Ogea, replaced by Dwight Gooden and Bartolo Colon. Travis Fryman, Joey Cora and Kenny Lofton also came on board.

While the Indians are headed to the ALCS for the third time in four seasons - they lost the 1997 World Series in an 11-inning seventh game to Florida - the Red Sox weren't expected to get this far.

"This team's got nothing to be ashamed of. We kept ourselves close and it didn't work out," said Mo Vaughn, who has said he will entertain free-agent offers in the offseason.

Vaughn had given the Red Sox a strong start, tying a postseason record with seven RBIs in an 11-3 opening victory. He was 4-for-12 in the final three games but didn't drive in any runs.

Nomar Garciaparra did that for Boston on Saturday with his third homer of the series, a fourth-inning drive that gave him a division series record 11 RBIs. And manager Jimy Williams' controversial decision to start Pete Schourek, obtained from Houston on Aug. 6, rather than use Pedro Martinez on three days' rest, was working.

Schourek left after allowing two hits in 51/3 shutout innings. He had to be sharp considering how well Colon pitched in his first postseason game. The winner of this year's All-Star game left trailing 1-0 after allowing five hits in 51/3 innings.

Derek Lowe replaced Schourek and retired all five batters he faced. Then Gordon entered a game at the start of the eighth for the first time this season.

Cora, pinch-hitting for Enrique Wilson, flied to left. Lofton then singled and took second on a single by Omar Vizquel, who was hitless in all 14 of his previous at-bats in the series.

Lofton stole third and both runners scored on Justice's double to center field.