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Yankees drop Game 4 in extras10/18/2004 3:11 AM ET
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
BOSTON -- The Yankees were three outs away from the World Series, but the Red Sox weren't about to go down without a fight.
Boston got to Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning, handing the dominant closer a rare blown save, then scored the game-winner against Paul Quantrill in the 12th on David Ortiz's two-run walk-off homer to steal a 6-4 victory from the Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
"They did a good job of battling back," said Tony Clark, whose RBI single in the sixth put the Yankees in position to take a lead into the ninth. "I'll take that situation on any given night, but unfortunately, we came up short tonight."
The marathon game lasted 5:02, setting the record for the longest in LCS history.
New York now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1, with Game 5 scheduled for Monday night at Fenway Park. Game 1 winner Mike Mussina will take the mound for the Yankees, while Pedro Martinez gets the ball for the Red Sox.
"Moose has pitched well for us," said Derek Jeter. "Hopefully he'll be able to do exactly what he did the first time he faced them."
The Yankees were unable to complete the sweep, becoming just the sixth team in history not to win Game 4 after winning the first three games of a series.
After the 27-run slugfest in Game 3, both teams were looking to establish some control on the mound early in Game 4. Derek Lowe and Orlando Hernandez exchanged zeroes through the first two innings, but Alex Rodriguez drilled a two-run bomb over the Green Monster in the third.
Up 2-0, El Duque settled in, retiring the Sox in order in the third and fourth innings. But Boston got to the tiring right-hander in the fifth, using a pair of walks to set up Orlando Cabrera's RBI single.
Hernandez then walked Manny Ramirez to load the bases for Ortiz, who lined a single to center, scoring two runs to put the Red Sox ahead, 3-2, giving them just their second lead of the series.
"I thought El Duque was good," Torre said. "His velocity was good. It looked like when he made his pitches he had good bite on the stuff, so I was pleased with his outing."
New York answered right back in the sixth, as Hideki Matsui drilled a one-out triple to center, putting the tying run 90 feet from home. Terry Francona pulled Lowe from the game in favor of Mike Timlin, prompting boos from the home crowd of 34,826.
Bernie Williams hit a soft grounder to shortstop, which a charging Cabrera couldn't handle. Matsui scored on the infield hit, squaring the game at 4.
After Timlin walked Jorge Posada and Ruben Sierra reached on an infield single, Tony Clark hit a ball to the hole at second, where Mark Bellhorn couldn't pick it up, allowing Posada to score the go-ahead run.
Torre pulled Hernandez after five frames, handing the ball to Tanyon Sturtze, who tossed a pair of scoreless innings, bringing New York just six outs from the pennant.
Instead of going to Tom Gordon, Torre turned to Rivera, who notched four-out saves in Games 1 and 2, to start the eighth against Ramirez, Ortiz and Jason Varitek.
"I thought it was an opportunity, especially the way the eighth inning [shaped up]; we were facing their 3-4-5 guys," Torre said. "That's like a save situation going through the heart of the lineup."
A scoreless eighth left Rivera just three outs from the pennant, with the bottom of the order due up in the ninth. Only instead of mowing through the Sox, Rivera walked Kevin Millar to start the inning, putting the tying run on base.
With Mueller at the plate, pinch-runner Dave Roberts stole second, moving into scoring position. Mueller lined a single up the middle, scoring Roberts from second to tie the game.
"If you don't walk the guys -- let them hit you, let them beat you -- it's better," Rivera said. "When you beat yourself with a walk and you have a fast guy like Roberts, he stole the base and got in position to score."
The blown save was just the fourth in Rivera's postseason career, his second this month.
"Having a one-run lead in the ninth inning, it certainly is disappointing," Torre said. "We're so used to Mo going out there and getting people out, which he did tonight. It's just that the walk and the stolen base was the difference in that ninth inning."
Alan Embree and Tom Gordon each tossed a scoreless 10th, but both teams had scoring opportunities in the 11th. New York had a man on second with one out, then loaded the bases with two outs, but Curtis Leskanic got Williams to fly out to leave them full.
Johnny Damon walked with two outs and stole second in the bottom of the inning, but Gordon got Cabrera to ground out to Jeter, moving the game to the 12th.
"We had a few opportunities to put some runs on the board, but their bullpen did a great job," Jeter said. "They made some big pitches when they needed to, their defense made a couple of good plays, and we let some opportunities get away from us."
Leskanic survived a leadoff single by Posada in the 12th, but Quantrill wasn't as lucky. Ramirez led off the 12th with a single to left, setting up Ortiz's walk-off homer to keep Boston's hope alive.
"It's part of the job. It's not like I haven't faced those guys before," Quantrill said. "I threw a good pitch to Manny, but he fought it off. That forces me to go after Ortiz quite a bit differently than I would've liked to. The bottom line is I didn't get my job done."
New York can clinch its 40th AL pennant on Monday, but they'll have to get through Pedro to do it. With just 17 hours between the final pitch of Game 4 and the first pitch of Game 5, the Yankees won't have to sit with this loss for very long.
"You're not in command of a series until it's over," Jeter said. "We'll have to take the same approach tomorrow."
"We have to wash good, bad or indifferent off in the shower at the end of the day," Clark said. "We know they're an outstanding ballclub, so it was only a matter of time before they put some things together. We have to go to sleep tonight and realize that tomorrow is a new day."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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