Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Game 5: Red Sox 5, Yankees 4; 14 Innings

Pedro was on in the first inning striking out Jeter and Sheffield. Matsui smashed a lingering fly ball to deep right center field and Damon fought the wind to haul it in. Mussina looked like he was throwing batting practice. He gave up three consecutive singles and a bases loaded walk. On his 30th pitch of the inning, Moose struck out Mueller with the bases juiced. He's lucky the score was only 2-0.

Bernie Williams led off the second inning with a solo home run to right field to cut the lead in half. Red Sox 2, Yankees 1.

Moose retired the side in the second and settled down. Trot Nixon robbed A Rod of an extra basehit with a diving catch near the foul line. After a Sheffield walk, Matsui doubled once again, but Pedro ended the rally when he struck out Bernie Williams. Moose worked out of a jam to end the fourth.

Posada led off the fourth with a single. Pedro walked Sierra then struck out Tony Clark on four pitches and got Cairo to pop up. With two outs, Pedro had to face Jeter who already had two strike outs, and he grounded out to first. Jeter's series numbers stand out as way sub par as compared to the rest of his team mates. Moose retired the side in order and struck out Damon for the second time of the game. That was Damon's seventh of the series.

Pedro walked A Rod to start the fifth. But Sheffield killed the rally with a double play. Pedro threw at Matsui with a knock down pitch and later lined out. Red Sox 2, Yankees 1.

Moose gave up a lead off hit to Cabrera then got Manny to fly out, struck out Ortiz (for the second time) and got Cowboy Up to ground out to Jeter.

With one out, Posada reached first on an infield single. Sierra singled into center, but Posada failed to advance to third. Tony Clark struck out on a 3-2 pitch. Pedro hit Cairo to load the bases for Jeter. On his 100th pitch of the game, Jeter ended his slump and lifted a 3 RBI double down the right field line and moved to third on a play at the plate. Cairo's creative slide into home allowed him to avoid Varitek's tag. Yankees took back the lead, 4-2. The rowdy Boston crowd was silenced once again by a big Yankees rally. Pedro plunked A Rod on the next pitch. I thought that was another unclassy move from Pedro. Its one thing to throw a brushback pitch to Matsui, but it's not cool to intentionally try to hurt A Rod, which Pedro obviously did. In a moment of weakness he went after A Rod. He walked Sheffield to load the bases for Matsui. You know Godzilla wanted his revenge against Pedro. He crushed a ball at Nixon, who made another great play to end the rally. The damage was done. The Yankees got to Pedro. Yankees 4, Red Sox 2.

Moose took the mound for the sixth. He had been getting ahead of hitters all night long. Aside from the first inning, he pitched solid. Trot lined out to Bernie. Varitek grounded out to A Rod.

For the seventh, Moose came back out and gave up a double to Belhorn. Torre pulled Moose after that hit and brought in Sturtze to get a few of the last nine outs and pitch to the top of the order. He got Johnny Damon to pop out, but lost Cabrera and walked him. Torre went with Flash Gordon to get the Yankees out of the seventh. Another classic at bat for Manny Ramirez and Flash Gordon induced a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. Clutch! Yankees 4, Red Sox 2.

The Yankees threatened to put up insurance runs in the eighth. Cairo doubled off the Green Monster. Jeter bunted him over to third. A Rod struck out on a high pitch out of the strike zone. Sheffield walked and Matsui came to the plate. Francona went to his closer Keith Foulke to attempt to get out Goji-san. He ended up flying out.

Six outs to go. Flash Gordon hung a fastball over the plate and Ortiz cranked a home run on top of the Green Monster. He cut the lead to one. Millar walked and Dave Roberts came in to pinch run. He irritated Flash to the point where he forgot about Trot Nixon. He eventually ripped a single to center field. With no outs and only ahead by one run, Torre went to the Hammer of God. Although he got Varitek to fly out, it was deep enough to score Roberts. The Sox came from behind again. Mo got the next two guys out to end the ugly inning marred by another atrocious performance from Flash Gordon. Yankees 4, Red Sox 4.

Top of the ninth, Boston closer Foulke had a tie game to work with. He got two quick outs before he walked Sierra. Tony Clark roped a shot down the line towards the Pesky pole and after a lucky bounce, the ball jumped into the stand for a ground rule double. An inch or two in either direction, and the ball stays in play and the run easily scores. A fortunate bounce for the Sox kept the game tied. With runners on second and third with two outs, the Yankees looked to their number nine hitter. He popped up to Mientkewicz, who replaced Cowboy Up.

Bottom of the ninth and Mo Rivera had the top of the lethal Boston order on his plate. Johnny Damon continued his cluelessness at the plate against Rivera but somehow fought off a pitch and collected a busted bat infield hit on a deep ball to second base. Damon tried to steal second. Tried. Jorge Posada unleashed a bullet to Jeter and quickly tagged Damon in a close play. Cabrera grounded out to Jeter for the second out. It was up to Manny. On a 1-0 pitch both umps blew a check swing call when it was obvious that he swung. It didn't matter. He flied out on the next pitch. Yankees 4, Red Sox 4. Free baseball.

For a second night in a row, the Sox came from behind to force extra innings. Both instances I gave the edge to the Yankees. They had all their starters still in the game, while Boston used three bench players to tie Game 5. Plus the Yankees have never lost back to back extra inning games in the postseason. Francona went to Game 3 starter Bronson Arroyo to face the top of the order. Jeter popped up to short. On a full count, A Rod struck out, the Sheffield did the same.

At least I had some good news. Monday Night Football started and Marc Bulger tossed a 52 yard TD to Torry Holt on the opening drive of the game. I needed just 15 more points to win! Alas, the inept Felix "I'm only on the team because I'm a lefty" Heredia shuffled to the mound replacing Rivera. I almost expected to see Ortiz smash a game winning home run since I knew that Heredia's control was sketchy, at best. Somehow he got Ortiz 1-2 to check swing at a pitch in the dirt and the third base umpire rung him up. Whew. One down. The game reached its fourth hour for the third consecutive night. These games were brutal for the fans! Do you know how many awful commercials I had to sit through all those extra innings and pitching changes? Heredia battled Mientkewicz to a full count who kept fouling off pitches and all I could think was how the hell did this classic rivalry boil down to a matchup between two scrubs? Mientkewicz smoked a shot to right field over Sheffield's head and the ball bounced into the stands for a one out ground rule double. Sigh. Torre gave Heredia the quick hook and called on last night's goat Paul Quantrill to get them out of the jam. Man the Yankees weren't looking too good. At least instead of another mindless commercial I got to see a 20 yard completion from Bulger. Another point closer to a victory. Back to baseball. Another bench player Gabe Kapler had his chance at Quantrill, the once steady set up guy for Gordon and Rivera. Kapler grounded out to second. It was up to Varitek with Mientkewicz on third. On a 2-1 pitch, he popped up to Jeter. Bring on the 11th inning.

I was shocked to see that Arroyo was pulled in favor of lefty Mike Meyers after a perfect 10th. Matsui rocked a home run off him late in Game 3. OK, Matsui struck out and Francona went to his bullpen again! Why? Both Bernie and Posada were switch hitters. Chef Embree to face Bernie who ripped a single to shallow right field. Posada chased a ball and struck out. Sierra had a chance to do something but swung at another pitch out of the strike zone to end the inning.

Quantrill gave up consecutive hits before he got Johnny Damon to pop up to Posada on a failed bunt play. Quantrill who had a bum knee for most of the year looked hobbled and Torre went to his bullpen and Estaban Loaiza. The ghost of Jose Contreras loomed over Fenway Park. In late July the Yankees traded their overpaid Cuban super dud to the White Sox for Loaiza who also never pitched well (60 plus hits in 43 innings as a Yankee), nor looked comfortable in pinstripes. Who would have expected Loaiza to pitch out of the jam and get the ground ball double play! If teh yankees were going to win, they needed Loaiza to pitch his best.

Wakefield came in to pitch the12th inning as it reached it's fifth hour! With one out, Cairo hit a ball to Manny Ramirez who booted the ball and let it scoot past him. Cairo ended up at second, but the Yankees couldn't get a hit off of Wakefield's knuckle ball. In the bottom of the 12th, Loaiza walked Ortiz. On a 2-1 pitch to Mientkewicz, Ortiz shocked everyone an a stolen base attempt. Posada threw a high ball to Jeter who tagged Ortiz as he barreled into second. Replays showed he was safe by a hair. Again, it was another bang-bang play, but a poor base running choice by Ortiz. He killed a possible rally and Mientkewicz struck out.

In the 13th inning, my eyes were tired. I was sick of seeing Fenway Park. I was jonesin' to go gamble because Mohegan Sun casino has an ad plastered in right field! Wakefield struck out Sheffield but the ball raced past the catcher Varitek and Sheffield took first base. Should Mirabelli been catching Wakefield? I didn't care at that point. After a fielder's choice ground ball, Matsui took first. Posada was intentionally walked and it was up to Ruben Sierra to drive home the runners at first and second and two outs. Varitek gave up his third passed ball of the inning and the runners advanced. Wakefield ending up striking out Sierra to end another Yankees rally. More runner left on base in crunch time, 18 in total. That's why the Yankees were in extra innings again. The Red Sox also left 10 runners in scoring position. They could drive home runners. Ugh. Yankees 4, Red Sox 4.

Bulger had 147 yards and a TD with a minute left in the second quarter. I was down by 11 points. If he matched his first half stats, I would win out right. Loaiza was still pitching and he got Kapler to line out right back to him. Varitek grounded out to Jeter for the second out. Loaiza was looking solid and retired the side when Bill Mueller flied out to short right field when Matsui and Jeter nearly collided and Godzilla called him off at the last second. That was a close one.

Wakefield struck on Tony Clark to lead off the 14th inning. Then he retired both Cairo and Jeter. The 7th inning was almost over in the Houston-St. Louis game. The NFL game was at half time already.

The Passion of Johnny Damon drew a one out walk on a boderline pitch. Cabrera looked like a fool when Loaiza blew a pitch by him. My brother commented that he had never seen Loaiza pitch that well, with that much velocity, movement, and zip on the ball. As Snail Trax would say, "pure sickness". He had his chance to shine after behind being designated as the last guy on the end of the bench. He only made the playoff roster because Giambi was still sick from BALCO withdrawl. With Manny at the plate he threw two identical pitches inside, one called for a ball and the other a strike. Either way his pitches were looking sharp. He walked Manny and it was up to Ortiz. He blew a fastball by Ortiz for strike one. Would Big Papi pop one out? Outside and high, ball one. Ortiz fouled off the next five out of six pitches, missing a home run by a few feet on a shot down the left field line that hooked foul. Whew. That was close. On a 2-2 count he blooped a single to center field. Ball game over after almost six hours and 14 innings. Red Sox 5, Yankees 4.

Back to the Bronx after the bullpen blew two leads in consecutive nights.

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