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Red Sox Win Hand With an Ace in Hole

Boston gets three homers and a big effort by Wakefield in a 5-2 win over the Yankees.

October 09, 2003|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — There is a shadow looming over this series. That shadow will be awfully large tonight.

Pedro Martinez did not pitch Wednesday, in Game 1 of the American League championship series. He will not pitch tonight. But the New York Yankees can peek over their shoulders and into the visiting dugout, with Martinez uncomfortably in their sights.

The mission facing the Yankees tonight: win, or face the most dominant pitcher in the league in Game 3, already down two games to none.

In the aftermath of their jolly 5-2 victory on Wednesday, the Boston Red Sox did not wish to needlessly rouse the giants in the other clubhouse. The pressure shifted to the favorites, but Boston's Gabe Kapler knew better than to address that issue publicly.

"That's a good question, but it's not one I want to field right now," he said. "It's getting just slightly ahead of ourselves."

To win, the Yankees must hit, which they neglected to do against the third-best starter Boston has to offer. The Yankees mustered three hits in all, two against knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who started only because the Red Sox required Martinez and Derek Lowe to secure victory in the final game of the division series.

David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Todd Walker all hit home runs for the Red Sox, who have outhomered opponents 11-1 in six postseason games. Mike Mussina, who gave up three home runs in his final 36 innings during the regular season, gave up all three Boston homers, within a span of nine batters.

The game between baseball's most bitter rivals included a bit of gamesmanship. In the eighth inning, New York Manager Joe Torre suggested that plate umpire Tim McClelland inspect a potentially illegal substance on the cap of Boston reliever Mike Timlin.

Timlin removed his cap for McClelland and shrugged as McClelland found nothing amiss. The stuff was rosin, Timlin said. He smiled, ever so slightly, toward the Yankee dugout.

"I must be pretty dad-gum good if they're checking to see if I'm cheating," he said.

The Yankees already had lost one debate with the umpires. In the fifth inning, umpires originally ruled Walker's home run foul, then caucused and reversed the call, deciding the ball had hit the foul pole. The Yankees argued that a fan touched the ball, and indeed a fan claimed to Associated Press the ball hit him and not the pole, but replays appeared to show the ball hitting the pole.

"When Tim McClelland tells me that three other umpires saw it the way he did, I've got to walk away," Torre said.

"McClelland obviously has better eyes than anybody on the field, including myself," Walker said.

Ortiz snapped a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, with his first home run in 51 postseason at-bats and his first hit off Mussina in 21 career at-bats. Walker, who hit three home runs in the first round, tagged Mussina for his homer in the fifth inning. So did Ramirez, for one of his four hits.

The Yankees collected back-to-back singles off Wakefield with one out in the second inning. He retired the next 14 hitters in order, his unpredictable knuckler dancing with stunning effectiveness.

"You never know with Wake," Timlin said. "He can go out there and throw a no-hitter. It's like trying to hit a butterfly with a boat paddle."

Timlin retired New York in order in the eighth and Scott Williamson did the same in the ninth. In Timlin and Williamson, the erratic Boston bullpen has two men who have combined to pitch 11 1/3 scoreless innings in the playoffs, with 16 strikeouts.

Although Williamson nearly coughed up the division series, walking two with a one-run lead in Game 5, he is the closer of the moment.

Boston 1, New York 0. Lowe tonight, Pedro on deck.

*

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HOW THEY SCORED

FOURTH INNING: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0 -- Ramirez singled to first. Ortiz homered to right, his first. Millar struck out. Nixon singled to center. Mirabelli and Kapler struck out. Two runs, three hits, one left.

FIFTH INNING: Red Sox 4, Yankees 0 -- Walker homered to right, his first. Mueller flied to center. Garciaparra struck out. Ramirez homered to right, his first. Ortiz grounded out, catcher to first. Two runs, two hits.

SEVENTH INNING: Red Sox 5, Yankees 0 -- With one out, Nelson replaced Heredia. Garciaparra grounded out, catcher to first. Ramirez singled to right. Ortiz was hit by a pitch, Ramirez stopping at second. Millar singled to left, Ramirez scoring with Ortiz stopping at second. White replaced Nelson. Nixon singled to right, loading the bases. Mirabelli forced Nixon. One run, three hits, three left.

Red Sox 5, Yankees 2 -- Giambi and Williams walked. Embree replaced Wakefield. Posada doubled to right center, Giambi scoring with Williams stopping at third. Matsui flied to left, Williams scoring. Boone flied to center. Johnson lined to center. Two runs, one hit, one left.

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