10/17/2004 12:20 AM ET
Brown glad Yanks have his back
On off night for starter, team's offense provides boost
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
|In Game 3, an erratic Kevin Brown could not make an early lead hold up. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
BOSTON -- Kevin Brown certainly wasn't happy with the way he pitched on Saturday night, but for once, the right-hander seemed to take solace in a silver lining.
Brown, who pitched just two innings in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, was thrilled that his offense was able to bail him out of the hole he put them in -- allowing four runs in the second inning -- as the Yankees cruised to a 19-8 victory.
"I just pitched terribly. The consolation prize is the fact that my effort didn't keep us from winning the game," Brown said. "I guess if I was going to have a bad night, I picked the right night."
Brown didn't blame his chronically balky back for his poor outing, but rather bad location and the inability to put hitters away.
"I'm not going to go home, look in the mirror and say I didn't try," Brown said. "I did what I could tonight. It wasn't what I wanted to walk out on the field with. Personally, it's disappointing, but from a team standpoint, it's a great night. That makes it a heck of a lot easier to handle not having a good night, personally."
Brown held the Red Sox off the board in the first, getting some help from Gary Sheffield, who nailed Manny Ramirez at third base after Brown allowed a David Ortiz single.
But things didn't go as well in the second, which started with a walk to Jason Varitek and a two-run home run by Trot Nixon. New York still led by a run, but a Kevin Millar double and Bill Mueller walk put two men on, setting up Orlando Cabrera's two-run double.
"It was a lack of command," said pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre. "He just didn't have confidence in making his pitches, and he was behind all of the hitters. This isn't a good team to get into a lot of hitter's counts against."
"He was more out of rhythm than anything else," manager Joe Torre said. "It just looked like he was trying to throw it too hard and trying to make too perfect of pitches. If you watched it, it was ball one, ball two on a lot of people and it's tough to pitch [like that], especially against this ballclub."
Brown threw 57 pitches in those two innings, which was enough for Torre, who brought in Javier Vazquez to start the third. Brown didn't put up a fight, a sign that he knew it just wasn't his night.
"I'm not going to put my personal aspirations ahead of what is best for the team," Brown said. "As the situation was, there were no qualms in my mind about making a move there.
"Tonight, my 13-year-old could have pitched better than me."
Brown insisted that his back was not an issue, and that if the Yankees are to advance to the World Series and ask him to make a start, he would be glad to take the ball.
"If they want me to take the ball and throw, I'll throw," Brown said. "We'll approach that when we get there. Hopefully tonight was an aberration. All I can do is wake up every day, show up and when the ball is given to me, see if it's enough."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.