REVERSING THE CURSE,
THE NOMAR ERA BEGINS
Jeff Frye spoils the day for Roger Clemens
1997 ... Rocket
Roger Clemens and mute Mo Vaughn, brothers in boos, took center stage
as they've done so often at Fenway Park, which tonight was pocked
with empty seats that weren't there when Clemens made his triumphant
return in July. Clemens and Vaughn were pushed aside in the bottom of
the ninth, however, by Jeff Frye.
The Red Sox
second baseman deprived Clemens of his 22d win with a two-run, bases-loaded
single off Toronto rookie closer Kelvim Escobar that lifted the Red Sox to a 3-2
win over the Blue Jays before a crowd of 27,990. The hit completed a perfect
night at the plate for Frye, who doubled, singled, and walked off Clemens before
delivering his winner off Escobar.
He's not the
type to do so, but Frye can make the case that statistically he's one of the
best hitters Clemens has ever faced. Who else can say they're hitting .667 (6
for 9) against the Rocket, who struck out the side in the first and finished
with 10 K's before leaving with a 2-1 lead after seven innings?
Cordero began the winning rally with a single. Escobar then walked Troy O'Leary,
and Scott Hatteberg followed with a line single on which Blue Jays center
fielder Shannon Stewart conceded that pinch runner Michael Coleman would score
the tying run.
Coleman, unaware of where Stewart was positioned, hesitated between second and
third, and third base coach Wendell Kim applied the brakes on the rookie. It was
an unpopular decision at the time but proved to be the right one when Frye lined
a 1-and-2 pitch into left field for his winning hit.
couldn't duplicate the magic of his last start here, when he struck out 16 Red
Sox batters July 12 in his first Fenway appearance as a visitor, but his
double-digit performance was his 13th this season and the 81st in his career.
who had won five of his last six decisions, left trailing on a home run by
Charlie O'Brien that broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh.
momentarily had a chance to duplicate his crowd-abashing, game-winning home run
of the night before when he came to the plate with John Valentin aboard in the
eighth inning, precisely the same situation he had faced Wednesday when he hit
home run No. 33. This time, however, some dubious Red Sox strategy robbed Vaughn
of the chance to turn off the boos he heard for a second straight night.
Valentin was cut down at second on an apparent attempt to steal, and Vaughn took
a called third strike.