THE CURSE OF THE BAMBINO, PART 11 ...
IT'S TIME TO "COWBOY UP"

Tim Wakefield stymies the Yankees

September 6, 2003 ... Todd Walker slugged a three-run homer to help the Sox pulverize Roger Clemens and the Yankees, 11-0, before 55,237 in the Bronx and creep within 1 1/2 games of Boss Steinbrenner's teetering nine in the American League East. The Sox won their second straight against the Yankees, their fifth straight on the road, and improved to 15-9 amid a long-dreaded 25-game run against foes with records of .500 or better. The stretch was expected to make or break the season.

When the Sox last won their first five games in September, they captured their last AL East title in 1995. And when they last won at least five straight in September before '95, it was 1986, when they went to the World Series.

Tim Wakefield helped take them there with his finest performance of the season. A day after Pedro Martinez muzzled the Yankees on one run over six innings in a 9-3 romp, Wakefield did the ace one better, tossing seven shutout innings as he emerged from his worst rut of the season, a three-game winless streak in which he logged an 8.22 ERA.

Thanks largely to Wakefield and Martinez, the Sox held the team with the league's best record to a .175 batting average in the first two games of the three-game showdown. Suddenly, a Yankee franchise that has never failed to win a division or league title after amassing at least a six-game lead during a season appears vulnerable. Joe Torre's crew led the Sox by 7 1/2 as recently as Aug. 20.

With a 1 1/2-game lead over the Mariners in the wild-card race after last night's 3-1 Seattle loss to the Orioles, the Sox were well-positioned to enter the postseason through either door. And the way their record-setting offense is rolling, they could bust through the door like a SWAT unit. While outscoring the Yankees, 20-3, in the first two games of the series, the Sox hit .333 and pummeled two of Steinbrenner's prized starters, Clemens and Andy Pettitte. The day after Pettitte went kaput after allowing eight runs in 2 1/3 innings, Clemens lasted only 3 1/3, surrendering seven runs (five earned). The outing by Clemens was his second shortest not involving an injury in more than four years.

Kevin Millar touched off the Sox assault by taking the Rocket deep with two out in the second inning for the only run Wakefield needed. But there was plenty insurance to come, with Nomar Garciaparra launching a two-run blast off Clemens to pace a six-run outburst as the Sox sent 11 batters to the plate in the fourth inning. And Walker's shot off lefthander Chris Hammond completed the siege.

It helped that Wakefield flat-out pitched. After he held the Yankees hitless until Bernie Williams doubled with two out in the fourth, the knuckleballer pitched his way out of a minijam in the fifth, stranding runners at the corners, before his defense bailed him out of a little more trouble in the sixth. With none out and runners at first and second, third baseman Bill Mueller turned a 5-3 double play before Wakefield got slumping Jason Giambi to pop out.

Unlike the night before, when Little said he could tell from the look in Martinez's eyes before the game that the Sox were in good hands, he was uncertain what to expect from Wakefield. The knuckler was dancing yesterday. And so were visions of the postseason.

 

at Yankee Stadium (New York) ...

R

H

E

BOSTON RED SOX

0

1

0

6

0

0

0

4

0

 

11

12

0

NEW YORK YANKEES

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

0

4

1

W-Tim Wakefield (10-6)
L-Roger Clemens (13-9)
Attendance 55,237

2B-Mirabelli (Bost), Williams (NY)
HR-Millar (Bost), Garciaparra (Bost), Walker (Bost)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Johnny Damon cf 5 1 2 .276  

 

Todd Walker 2b 4 2 2 .274  

 

Nmr Garciaparra ss 5 1 1 .319  

 

Damian Jackson ss 0 0 0 .252  

 

Manny Ramirez lf 4 1 1 .318  

 

Gabe Kapler lf 1 0 0 .256  

 

David Ortiz dh 4 1 0 .291  

 

Dave McCarty ph 1 0 0 .333  

 

Kevin Millar 1b 4 1 2 .280  

 

Andy Abaid 1b 1 0 0 .000  

 

Trot Nixon rf 2 2 1 .311  

 

Bill Mueller 3b 4 1 2 .320  

 

Lou Merloni pr/3b 0 1 0 .283  

 

Doug Mirabelli c 3 0 1 .265  

 

Bill Hasselman c 0 0 0 .000  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Tim Wakefield 7 4 0 3 2  
  Mike Timlin 1 0 0 0 0  
  Casey Fossum 1 0 0 2 1  

 

 

         

 

 

 

2003 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

New York Yankees 84 56 -

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 83 58 1 1/2

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays 71 70 13 1/2

 

 

Baltimore Orioles 64 77 20 1/2

 

 

Tampa Bay Devil Rays 56 84 28

 

 

 

 

2003 WILD CARD STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 83 58 -

 

 

Seattle Mariners 62 60 1 1/2

 

 

Chicago White Sox 75 66 8