Wakefield, Red Sox tie up Yanks, 3-2

Knuckleballer floats by N.Y., out-duels Mussina to even series in Game 4

Peace is restored at Fenway

Mussina gives up 2 HRs, has yielded 5 in series

League Championship Series

October 14, 2003|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

BOSTON - The moment of truth, or perhaps it was a truce, came late in the afternoon while the Boston Red Sox began to vacate the field so their opponent could take batting practice. Players on both teams got close enough to land punches. Elderly coaches were placed in harm's way again.

The seconds seemed to pass like hours, but everyone made nice. The Red Sox walked undisturbed into their home clubhouse. Manny Ramirez didn't charge the mound, Pedro Martinez didn't drill anyone in the back.

Keeping with their usual routine, the New York Yankees separated for pre-game running and infield drills. Their only swings came inside the cage.

It wasn't until much later that another truth became apparent: The American League Championship Series won't end in Boston.

Tim Wakefield continued his postseason mastery of the Yankees last night, and the Red Sox hit two more home runs off Mike Mussina to take a 3-2 victory in Game 4 at sold-out Fenway Park.

Both teams have won twice in the series, which concludes its New England run today before shifting to its original location tomorrow. Todd Walker drove a 2-2 pitch from Mussina into the right-field seats in the fourth inning to break a scoreless tie. He became the first Boston player with five homers in a single postseason.

Trot Nixon homered in the fifth to give Boston a 2-1 lead, and Wakefield kept the Yankees stymied with his knuckler. The harder they swung, the worse they missed.

Though they'd never admit it, the Red Sox figured they caught a break with Sunday's rainout. They could skip John Burkett, who's 0-6 with an 8.49 ERA lifetime against the Yankees during the regular season, and bring back a pitcher who won Game 1 with the same slop.

The only run off Wakefield came in the fifth when Derek Jeter's sharp grounder deflected off third base and rolled into left field for a double that scored David Dellucci. He was removed after walking Jason Giambi to begin the eighth.

After Mike Timlin threw a scoreless eight inning, Ruben Sierra homered off Scott Williamson with one out in the ninth. It ended a streak of 19 1/3 shutout innings for Boston's much-maligned bullpen.

But Williamson struck out Dellucci and Alfonso Soriano to close the game and even the series.

The sun shined for most of the day, a bright contrast to the rains that fell Sunday and gave players more time to get settled after Game 3 spun out of control.

Security was increased inside and surrounding the ballpark after both benches and dugouts emptied Saturday during a fourth-inning melee that brought fines to three players and Yankees 72-year-old bench coach Don Zimmer.

The FBI and National Guard patrolled Fenway Park last night. Police were visible on motorcycles and horseback. Wakefield, who's 4-0 in four career LCS starts, urged fans to behave in a public service announcement.

Both teams apparently took the hint.

"I know there are athletes, not only in baseball, that don't feel we should be role models, that more parents should be role models," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "Whichever way it is, we do have youngsters looking at us and I think it is a responsibility.

"It did send a bad message because we are supposed to be grown-ups and be responsible. I know there's a lot of emotion that goes on and sometimes that gets the best of you, but we have to keep that in mind."

The Red Sox had a good vibe before the game, when Luis Tiant threw the ceremonial first pitch to Carlton Fisk.

Mussina appeared to have his good stuff early, but his winless postseason streak grew to six starts. He hasn't won since the 2001 ALCS in Seattle.

Torre made a pitching change with two outs in the seventh after pinch hitter Jason Varitek beat the relay on a potential double-play grounder to score Kevin Millar for a 3-1 lead. Mussina allowed six hits and struck out 10, but the homers pushed his total to five in the series.

The Yankees were busy in the first inning. They just couldn't score, which became a disturbing pattern for them. The first two batters reached against Wakefield before Giambi lined into a double play. Bernie Williams walked, but Jorge Posada struck out looking. Wakefield already was hanging on by the same grip he uses to throw his signature pitch.

He escaped another jam in the third after Dellucci took a knuckleball off his right elbow, making no effort to avoid it. Dellucci stole second and moved to third on a passed ball with two outs.

With the Red Sox's infield shifted to the right side, Giambi flied to left field.

Giambi began the night hitting .200 with no RBIs in the series. Given a chance to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth, he flied to shallow center field with Soriano on third base. The ball wasn't deep enough for Soriano to test Johnny Damon's weak arm. Williams walked to load the bases with two outs, but Posada lined to left.

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