New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner issued another challenge to his team Saturday before their game with the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox.

"Now we'll find out about this team," Steinbrenner said in a television interview with WPIX-TV. "If they can come back now and win it, they'll compare with the '78 team."In 1978, the Yankees rallied from a 14-game, first-half deficit before winning a one-game playoff against Boston to capture the AL East crown.

New York suffered a heart-breaking defeat Friday night when Boston scored three runs in the ninth for a 10-9 victory. New York avenged the loss Saturday with two runs in the ninth for a 5-4 triumph.

Steinbrenner, who has reportedly already decided to fire Manager Lou Piniella for the second time in a year, was unusually calm following Friday's loss.

"Rafael Santana has played hurt and done well," the owner said. "Claudell Washington has had a good year, and Dave Winfeld has been super all year. Some others, I think they would agree, have done less than they would have liked to.

"If they come back and win it, they will have shown us something," he continued. "We have some young players we want to work into the lineup, but talk about changes now is premature."