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Game 4 not a hit for Yankees
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10/14/2003 12:15 AM ET 
Game 4 not a hit for Yankees
Hitters can't figure out Wakefield in Game 4 loss
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com

Jorge Posada went 0-for-4 with two of the Yankees' 12 strikeouts Monday. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
  • Game 4 wrapup:
    Red Sox 3, Yankees 2

    BOSTON -- It turns out that neither Pedro Martinez nor Derek Lowe is the Red Sox secret weapon against the New York Yankees.

    That title belongs to Tim Wakefield, the knuckleballer who baffled the Yankees for the second time in four games and led the Red Sox to a 3-2 victory Monday night in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

    "He was terrific. We had him on the ropes a couple of times and we couldn't get the hit," said manager Joe Torre. "I have a great deal of respect for him."

    The series is now tied at two games apiece with Game 5 scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at Fenway Park. The series will return to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday for Game 6.

        Bernie Williams   /   CF
    Height: 6'2"
    Weight: 205
    Bats/Throws: S/R

    More info:
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    Yankees site

    "It's not going to be easy," said Bernie Williams. "We never thought it would be easy. We have our work cut out for us in this series."

    After the emotions that flared in Game 3, cooler heads prevailed Monday. The only exception came in the eighth inning, when Boston manager Grady Little asked umpires to check Jeff Nelson's belt and glove for any foreign substances. Nelson, who was involved in a skirmish with a Red Sox employee in the ninth inning of Game 3, was checked and cleared by the umpires.

    "I'm glad I don't do anything," Nelson said. "I'd hate to be called an attacker and a cheater on the same day."

    The Yankees, who managed just two hits in six innings against Wakefield in Game 1, swatted at the right-hander's floating knuckler through seven innings Monday, managing only a single run against him. Unlike the first game, when the Yankees left three runners on base, New York had its opportunities in Game 4, stranding eight runners, including the bases loaded in the fifth inning.

    "You have to take advantage of those opportunities, because they're few and far between," said Derek Jeter. "We just didn't do it. It's frustrating."

    A one-out ninth-inning solo home run by Ruben Sierra off Scott Williamson brought New York to within one, but David Dellucci and Alfonso Soriano went down swinging to end it.

    "It's tough to hit a knuckler for seven innings and then have a fastball coming at you at 92 or 95," Soriano said. "It's hard."

    The lack of offense hurt New York starter Mike Mussina, who allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings. Solo home runs by Todd Walker and Trot Nixon did most of the damage against Mussina, who lost his third straight start despite racking up 10 strikeouts.

    Mussina, who has lost all three of his starts this postseason, was particularly disturbed by this one, taking almost an hour after the game to collect his thoughts in the trainer's room before speaking to the press.

        Mike Mussina   /   P
    Height: 6'2"
    Weight: 185
    Bats/Throws: R/R

    More info:
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    Yankees site

    "That's about as good as I've got," Mussina said. "They all hurt. When you get one right after the other, it tends to aggravate you more each time."

    The Yankees threatened in the first, as Wakefield walked Soriano and served up a single to Jeter to open the contest. But Kevin Millar made a nice play on a Jason Giambi line drive, stabbing the ball and stepping on first to double off Jeter. Wakefield struck out Jorge Posada to end the inning.

    "We got guys on early and could have changed the momentum, but I hit the ball hard and lined out," Giambi said. "If that ball goes through, this is a different game."

    Mussina was sharp from the outset, retiring the first six Boston batters. The Sox couldn't do any damage with a pair of singles in the third, but Walker made his presence felt in the fourth, clubbing a long home run to right field to lead off the inning. Walker has five homers in the postseason, a Red Sox record.

    New York evened the score in the fifth. Dellucci, making his first start in the postseason, jump-started things with a one-out single against Wakefield. Soriano followed with a single of his own, and Jeter hit a hard grounder that hit the third-base bag and popped up into short left field. Dellucci scored from second, while Soriano moved to third and Jeter to second.

    The next batter, Giambi, just missed a home run, drilling a ball a few feet to the right of the right-field foul pole.

        Jason Giambi   /   1B
    Height: 6'3"
    Weight: 235
    Bats/Throws: L/R

    More info:
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    "I knew it was going to be close," Giambi said. "I was walking down the line, trying to talk it fair."

    "We were getting all excited about Jason's ball down the right-field line," Torre said. "You sit in our dugout, boy, that looks fair, but it wasn't close to being fair."

    He then popped a ball to shallow center field for the second out, as third base coach Willie Randolph elected not to send Soriano home.

    "If he gets thrown out there, everyone says why don't you give [the next batter] Bernie [Williams] a shot [next]," Randolph said. "You can't second-guess yourself and I won't. We have all our good RBI guys coming up after that. You just have to react to what you see."

    Williams worked out a walk to load the bases, but Posada lined out to left.

    Nixon put the Sox back on top with a one-out home run to center field in the fifth, his first of the series and second of the postseason. After allowing 21 homers in 31 starts this season, Mussina has given up five long balls in his two ALCS starts.

    "When you are a good pitcher and throw strikes you're going to give up home runs," Torre said. "He gave up two home runs, nobody on. I remember Robin Roberts, I remember Don Sutton, all of those guys gave up home runs with nobody on base. You go after people. They just beat him twice."

    Wakefield, meanwhile, struck out the side in order in the sixth and sat the Yankees down 1-2-3 again in the seventh, needing just four pitches to do so.

    "Knuckleballs are hit or miss," Giambi said. "There's no game plan, you just pick one out and hit it. There's no philosophy."

    Mussina opened the seventh by striking out David Ortiz, then walked Millar and gave up a double to Nixon. Hideki Matsui was able to keep Millar at third after fielding the two-bagger off the Green Monster. After Mussina intentionally walked Bill Mueller to load the bases, pinch-hitter Jason Varitek's grounder to Jeter at short had the makings of an inning-ending double play. But Varitek beat out Soriano's relay by a fraction of a step, allowing Millar to score for a 3-1 Boston lead.

      Alfonso Soriano   /   2B
    Height: 6'1"
    Weight: 180
    Bats/Throws: R/R

    More info:
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    texasrangers.com

    "I had to make a quick turn and throw," Soriano said. "I probably had about 80 percent on the throw, which is what I normally do in double plays. When I try to throw 100 percent, it's not as quick. It takes too much time."

    Felix Heredia relieved Mussina, who allowed six hits, walked two and now has taken the loss in all three of the Yankees' postseason defeats. When asked if he felt helpless watching his teammates struggle against Wakefield, Mussina didn't hesitate.

    "Completely," he said. "I can only control 60 feet, six inches. I did my job the best I can. The other stuff has to be tended to by other people, not me."

    "It's frustrating to see anyone pitch that well and not come away with a win," Jeter said. "We just didn't score enough runs for him."

    Wakefield opened the eighth by walking Giambi, prompting Boston skipper Grady Little to call on Mike Timlin from the bullpen. Timlin sat down all three batters he faced, extending his streak in the postseason to 22 consecutive batters retired.

    Wakefield, who won Game 1 with six innings of two-hit ball, earned his second win of the series, allowing one run on five hits and four walks in seven-plus innings. He struck out eight.

    "We hit some balls hard," Torre said. "I mean, that first inning was big for him to get out of, first and second nobody out and Jason hit the ball on the button.

    "We had second and third (with one out in the fifth). You have to give Tim Wakefield a lot of credit, because he got the outs when he had to."

    Williamson struck out the side in the ninth for his second save of the series, looking past Sierra's blast into the right-field stands.

    One of the two teams will move one game closer to the World Series on Tuesday, as David Wells takes on Derek Lowe.

    "We have as good a chance as they have of winning tomorrow," Williams said. "We've seen Lowe in New York, so we have a pretty good idea of how to approach him. Hopefully we'll have a good game."

    Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.




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