Yankees deck Red Sox, 5-4, slide past O's into 2nd place AMERICAN LEAGUE

September 18, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox spent most of last night impersonating two sparring partners unable to deliver a knockout punch. And at the end, perhaps fittingly, it was the Red Sox who bobbled while the Yankees continued to weave their way into contention.

Two botched double plays produced two key runs, and the Yankees came from behind for a 5-4 win that kept them three games behind the American League East-leading Toronto Blue Jays. Both times Wade Boggs was credited with an RBI against his former team.

Just when it appeared they were ready to join the Orioles in searching for an early exit from the division race, the Yankees found a way to scratch out a crucial victory. It enabled them to regain second place from the Orioles, but Toronto's 4-2 win in Minnesota prevented any gain on the leader.

The Blue Jays' final score was posted at about the time the Yankees rallied to tie the score in the seventh inning. But manager Bucky Showalter said he hadn't noticed.

"There was too much happening on the field," he said. Unfortunately, not all of it related to the players, as another boisterous crowd of 48,051, made its presence felt, though not particularly welcomed.

"I caught the scoreboard once or twice [during the game]," Showalter said. "But there was no more tension than usual."

Both of the rookie starting pitchers, Red Sox right-hander Aaron Sele and Yankees left-hander Sterling Hitchcock, were long gone before the contest got interesting. Both left with a lead.

Hitchock departed after five innings with a 3-2 advantage that Bob Wickman surrendered on a two-run double by John Valentin. Sele lasted one out longer than Hitchcock, turning the 4-3 lead over to Paul Quantrill after 5 1/3 innings.

But a double by Don Mattingly in the seventh inning set up the third tying run of the game, driven in by Danny Tartabull on a bouncer to deep shortstop, and the Red Sox needed two more relievers to get out of the inning.

Left-hander Paul Gibson (2-0), who worked two scoreless innings, was the winner. John Dopson (7-11), normally a starter, took the loss as Red Sox manager Butch Hobson manipulated with a depleted bullpen.

"Gibson's outing was the turning point of the game, and the key play was [Mike] Gallego's sacrifice bunt [to set up the winning run]," Showalter said. "Hitchcock kept us in it, he matched Sele pitch for pitch, but Gibson's job was big."

Mike Stanley led off the Yankees' eight with a double and pinch runner Andy Stankiewicz went to third on Gallego's bunt. Hobson brought left-hander Scott Taylor in to face left-handed pinch-hitter Matt Nokes and Showalter countered with Jim Leyritz.

Hobson's choice was to pitch to the right-handed batting Leyritz or walk him and face Boggs, another left-hander. He chose the latter.

"I was comfortable either way they decided to go in that situation," Showalter said. "Wade's gotten some big hits for us all year."

This time, Boggs got a big fielder's choice. His grounder to shortstop Valentin, like one he hit in the fourth inning, had a double-play stamp.

But second baseman Scott Fletcher had just enough trouble getting the ball out of his glove to enable Boggs to beat the throw to first as Stankiewicz scored the winning run.

Lee Smith then closed out the ninth inning routinely, getting an irate Mike Greenwell on called strikes to end the game.

Greenwell confronted umpire Tim Welke and had to be restrained as he followed Welke off the field.

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