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Wilson Steps In to Slam Red Sox

June 02, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Enrique Wilson had only 20 minutes to prepare to play. Turned out to be plenty of time.

Wilson, a late addition to the starting lineup for injured Alfonso Soriano, hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the sixth inning to lead the New York Yankees over the Boston Red Sox, 10-2, Saturday.

"I was ready to play," Wilson said. "That was unbelievable. I'm not used to this. Today was the best time I've had in baseball."

The Yankees backed Mike Mussina with four home runs to win for the 19th time in 24 games.

Derek Jeter hit a first-pitch leadoff homer and Jason Giambi and Rondell White connected later as New York ended Boston's four-game winning streak and sent the Red Sox to only their fifth loss in 26 road games.

The Yankees scored eight runs in the sixth and seventh against the Boston bullpen.

"We'd probably be lying if we tell you we're not concerned," Red Sox Manager Grady Little said. "We're going to do some serious investigating here in the near future."

With "Moose" calls filling Yankee Stadium whenever he got two strikes on a batter, Mussina (8-2) gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings to win his fifth consecutive decision. Mussina has three of New York's four victories against the Red Sox this season.

"I will not complain one bit about run support," Mussina said. "I was able to keep us right there until we exploded. Sometimes things get a little contagious. One guy hitting homers leads to another guy hitting homers. You can't explain it."

Darren Oliver, whose recent struggles cost him his spot in the rotation, replaced Rolando Arrojo to start the sixth inning and walked Robin Ventura. With two out, Oliver (4-5) walked Nick Johnson before Rich Garces came in and hit Jeter with a pitch to load the bases.

Wilson drove an 0-and-2 breaking ball over the right-center field fence for his second career grand slam, giving the Yankees a 6-2 lead.

"[Wilson's] a good guy coming off the bench," Manager Joe Torre said. "He gets himself ready and he has a sense for when he's going to be needed. Grand slams are a bonus."

Wilson clapped his hands as he rounded first base and watched the ball clear the wall. Urged on by the sellout crowd of 55,699, the largest at Yankee Stadium since opening day, Wilson came out of the dugout for the first curtain call of his career.

"These fans are some of the best in baseball," he said. "To play with this team and put on this uniform is something special. If we keep playing this way I think we're going to go all the way."

Wilson's other grand slam came for Cleveland on Sept. 21, 1998, against New York left-hander Andy Pettitte at Yankee Stadium.

"All I heard then was 'Boo!'" Wilson said.

Bernie Williams followed with a single and Giambi crushed his team-leading 15th home run into the right-field upper deck to make it 8-2, then took a curtain call of his own.

Johnson added a run-scoring single and Jeter a sacrifice fly in the seventh for the second-place Yankees, who cut Boston's lead to one game in the AL East.

Arrojo, making his first start this season after 15 relief appearances, had given up only one home run in 341/3 innings. But the Yankees, who have 15 homers in their last six games and who lead the majors with 91 homers in 56 games, took him deep twice.

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