TIM WAKEFIELD

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

 2003 ALCS, GAME #1
Tim Wakefield and the bullpen
keep the Yanks in check

October 8, 2003 ... The Sox pioneered a new trail, by winning the opening game and stunning the Yankees, 5-2, to seize Game 1 of the American League Championship Series before 56,281 in the Bronx. In Tim Wakefield's finest hour since he twice outdueled Atlanta's Tom Glavine with complete-game gems for the Pirates in the National League Championship Series in his rookie season in 1992, the knuckleballer blanked the Yankees on two hits through six innings and rode a home run barrage by David Ortiz, Todd Walker, and Manny Ramirez to the highly unusual victory.

The Sox reached the threshold of postseason glory by losing openers as routinely as they rolled out of bed. Game 1 of spring training? Opening Day? The first game of the season against the Yankees? The first game after the All-Star break? The first two games of the AL Division Series against the A's? They lost them all.

All the Sox need is three more of these weird wins to cakewalk into the World Series. Not bad, considering they are trying to become only the second AL wild-card team to reach the Big Show. The Angels became the first last year, and, well, everyone knows their championship story.

Yankees starter Mike Mussina was not quite as bad, though he turned in his third-shortest outing in 13 postseason starts, surrendering four of the five Sox runs, all on homers. Ortiz even snapped a career 0-for-20 funk against Mussina with his two-run blast.

MIKE TIMLIN

Wakefield bedeviled the pin-stripers as he retired 18 of the first 20 batters he faced, surrendering only consecutive singles to Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui in the second. His run ended when he lost the touch on his knuckleball just long enough to walk Jason Giambi and Bernie Williams leading off the seventh, prompting manager Grady Little to lift him for Alan Embree. Both Giambi and Williams scored as Embree surrendered a double to Posada and a sacrifice fly to Matsui to account for New York's runs. After Embree finished the seventh, Mike Timlin pitched a perfect eighth and Scott Williamson twirled a perfect ninth for the save. Rarely have 56,281 gathered in the Bronx in such a hush, as the Sox bullpen closed out the Yankees. Suddenly, Boston's bullpen has become a boon.

TODD WALKER

The Sox broke through in the fourth when Mussina, a multiple Gold Glove winner, just missed snagging a grounder by Ramirez to the right side of the mound. The ball deflected off Mussina's glove toward second base, allowing Ramirez to leg out a leadoff single. That cleared the way for Ortiz, who fell behind in the count, 0-2, before he stood his ground, forcing the count to 3-2, then blasting a thigh-high 90-mile-per-hour offering into the top deck in right field to stake the Sox to a 2-0 lead.

Even better, the Sox exploited a couple more mistakes by Mussina in the fifth. Walker struck first, lofting a 2-0 pitch to the foul pole at the top deck in right. Just as the ball reached the pole, a fan reached out and may have compromised right-field umpire Angel Hernandez's view, prompting him to rule it a foul ball. At that, Walker stalled his home run trot between first and second. But Hernandez quickly was overruled by plate ump Tim McClelland, who concluded the ball struck the pole, and Walker continued his trot, putting the Sox up, 3-0. The homer was Walker's fourth of the postseason, tying a Sox record set by Nomar Garciaparra in the 1999 playoffs.

Soon after, Mussina left a 1-1 pitch in Ramirez's wheelhouse, and the ball sailed just over the right-field fence to boost Boston's lead to 4-0. The Sox struck again in the seventh when Jeff Nelson surrendered a single to Ramirez, hit Ortiz on the foot with a pitch, and allowed a run-scoring single to Millar, sticking Steinbrenner's crew in a 5-0 hole, and the Sox in an uncharacteristic position of Game #1 supremacy.



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2003 A.L. CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

 

 

Boston Red Sox

1 Game

 

 

New York Yankees

0 Games

 

2003 American League Championship Series, Game 1

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
 

BOSTON RED SOX

0

0

0

2

2

0

1

0

0

   

5

13

0

 
 

NEW YORK YANKEES

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

   

2

3

0

 

 

W-Tim Wakefield (1-1)
S-Scott Williamson (1)
L-Mike Mussina (0-2)
Attendance 56,281

2B-Posada (NY)
HR-Ortiz (Bost), Walker (Bost), Ramirez (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RED SOX

 

AB

R

H

 

 

Todd Walker 2b 5 1 2  

 

Damian Jackson pr/2b 0 0 0  

 

Bill Mueller 3b 5 0 1  

 

Nomar Garciaparra ss 5 0 0  

 

Manny Ramirez lf 5 3 4  

 

David Ortiz dh 3 1 1  

 

Kevin Millar 1b 5 0 2  

 

Trot Nixon rf 3 0 2  

 

Doug Mirabelli c 4 0 1  

 

Gabe Kapler cf 4 0 0  
             
    IP H ER SO  
  Tim Wakefield 6 2 2 2  
  Alan Embree 1 1 0 0  
  Mike Timlin 1 0 0 1  
  Scott Williamson 1 0 0 2  

 

         

 

             

 

YANKEES

 

AB

R

H

 

 

Alfonso Soriano 2b 4 0 0  

 

Derek Jeter ss 4 0 0  

 

Jason Giambi dh 3 1 0  

 

Bernie Williams cf 3 1 0  

 

Jorge Posada c 4 0 2  

 

Hideki Matsui lf 2 0 1  

 

Aaron Boone 3b 3 0 0  

 

Nick Johnson 1b 3 0 0  

 

Juan Rivera rf 2 0 0  

 

Ruben Sierra ph/rf 1 0 0  
             
    IP H ER SO  
  Mike Mussina 5.2 8 4 4  
  Felix Heredia 0.2 0 0 0  
  Jeff Nelson 0.1 2 1 0  
  Gabe White 1.1 2 0 0  
  Jose Contreras 1 1 0 3