REVERSING THE CURSE,
& TEK COME TO TOWN
The Sox come
back against the Yankees
May 22, 1998 ... For
a few hours at least, the Red Sox put a stutter-step in that
all-too-familiar Yankee swagger, coming from four runs down to beat
the New Yorkers, 5-4, in their first close-up look at the supposed
Beast from the Bronx. As usual, there were plenty of Connecticut
Yankee fans among the sellout crowd of 33,605 in Fenway Park, but
they were silenced by one who grew up in their midst.
winners of five in a row, 30 of their last 35, and 21 of 22 when they led after
six innings, had Boss Steinbrenner on the edge of his seat next to the visitors'
dugout when Red Sox reliever Jim Corsi walked the first two batters in the
eighth. But lefthander Ron Mahay, who nine days earlier still had a Pawtucket
address, staked his claim to a place in the Boston bullpen by facing down the
3-4 hitters in the Yankees lineup.
only sliders to Paul O'Neill, Mahay watched plate umpire Tim McClelland
hesitate, then ring him up on a 3-and-2 slider that caught the outside corner.
Then, with first base open after a double steal and Tino Martinez at the plate,
Mahay jammed the Yankees' All-Star first baseman with a fastball, Martinez
popping out to third baseman John Valentin.
to the roar of a crowd that grew even louder when closer Tom Gordon entered and
ended the inning by coaxing a fly to left from Bernie Williams, who had cleared
the Coke bottles with a three-run home run off Tim Wakefield in the fourth.
Gordon then put the finishing touches on Wakefield's sixth straight win and his
18th save in a 1-2-3 ninth that featured two strikeouts and a nice tag play at
first by Mo Vaughn.
Merloni, who doubled and scored Boston's first run on Bragg's ground out in the
sixth, singled and scored the tying run on Bragg's hit in the seventh. The
inning began with Troy O'Leary's 12th home run around Pesky's Pole off starter
Ramiro Mendoza. It continued with a bloop single by John Valentin, a double by
rookie Jason Varitek, Merloni's hit, and a full-count walk to Darren Lewis
before Bragg lined the first pitch he saw from Stanton into center field.
nothing else, it put a fender-like dent in the aura of invincibility the Yankees
brought onto Yawkey Way. The win drew the Red Sox within four games of the
first-place Yankees in the American League East, with the teams due to meet six
more times in the next eight days.