Yankees fall to 3rd, Red Sox XTC Boston stays hot with 6-4 victory

September 17, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- On their next to last off day of the season, the Orioles got a bonus. They moved into second place when their most recent tormenters, the Boston Red Sox, beat the New York Yankees, 6-4, here last night.

Fresh from a two-of-three series win against the Orioles in Boston, the Red Sox overcame a few odds of probability to drop the Yankees three games behind the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays. The loss also left New York (81-67) percentage points behind the Orioles (80-66).

For most of the night the Yankee Stadium security force got more of a workout than the home-team hitters. Left-hander Frank Viola breezed through the necessary five innings to earn the win before leaving because of tightness in his elbow. Viola (11-8), who has endured a late-season tired arm, allowed only two hits before being forced to depart.

It wasn't until he left that the game became the major attraction. The Yankees came within a couple of feet of tying the game in the eighth after victimizing the Red Sox bullpen for three runs.

Mike Stanley, who is tied for the major-league lead with three bases-loaded home runs, came that close to a fourth. But his drive to right field was caught by Rob Deer, who knocked open an outfield gate in the process of making the catch.

Greg Harris, who stopped the Orioles in both of Boston's wins earlier in the week, eventually restored order. The right-handed curveball expert notched his eighth save, and third in the past four days.

The long eighth inning was further dramatized by a heated outburst that resulted in the ejection of Paul O'Neill. The Yankees right fielder vehemently objected to a called strike by umpire John Hirschbeck on a 1-and-1 pitch from Harris and was thrown out of the game.

After a helmet-throwing exhibition by O'Neill, pinch hitter Matt Nokes singled to drive in the Yankees' fourth run. But Harris got Mike Gallego to hit into a force play to end the inning.

Then, in the ninth inning, Harris ended the excruciating game (3 hours, 54 minutes) by striking out Stanley with the bases loaded to seal the decision.

While the Yankees were mesmerized by Viola, the Red Sox were hardly intimidated by Scott Kamieniecki's unbeaten record at home. The Yankees right-hander was raked for 11 hits and five runs before being removed from the game with two outs in the fifth inning.

During the early innings, those of the 38,704 ticket holders on hand (there were thousands of no-shows) got most of their entertainment from the considerable number of disruptive spectators. The raging question was whether the fights down the third-base line would outnumber those on the first-base side (they did by an unofficial 4-3 count).

Before the first round, er, inning, the setting appeared to be perfect for the Yankees to put the memory of a near-disastrous 3-6 road trip behind them. Their 46-26 home record was the best in the American League (the Orioles are 45-26), and Kamieniecki was 8-0 on his home turf.

In addition, Viola was up against yet another staggering statistic. The Yankees have been vulnerable against left-handed starters on the road (10-17), but were 20-6 against those types at home, including a 9-7 win over Viola June 15.

But if there is such a thing as a law of averages in baseball, it surfaced during the early innings. Kamieniecki struggled with his control from the outset, constantly falling behind in the count.

The Red Sox took full advantage of the situation, putting together four hits for three runs in the first inning.

An inning later, Kamieniecki was on the ropes again, giving up two walks and another single by Mike Greenwell. A wild pitch allowed one run to score, but Naehring fouled out and Deer struck out with runners on second and third.

Double plays removed Kamieniecki from more difficulty in the third, when the Red Sox loaded the bases, and in the fourth,

when they had runners on first and second.

But in the fifth inning, the parade of runners caught up with him.

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