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Quantrill has rough end to Game 410/18/2004 3:14 AM ET
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Every time there's a hero, there's someone on the other end.
Paul Quantrill was that second someone on Sunday night, the man who gave up a game-winning homer to David Ortiz. Boston's slugger smashed a two-run shot in the 12th inning, ending Game 4 and sending the series forward to play another day.
It was 3-0 -- and now it's 3-1. The Sox staved off elimination with that last-minute homer, ending the longest game in ALCS history. The two teams played for 5 hours and 2 minutes, besting the existing record by 11 minutes. It all seemed over an hour before, when New York went into the ninth inning with a one-run lead.
As always, that meant Mariano Rivera, who had also pitched the eighth. But Rivera couldn't close the game out, sending the Yankees into desperation mode. Tom Gordon, New York's setup man, pitched two scoreless innings after the ace closer left. After that, the Yanks were stuck with a stark choice: Quantrill, Felix Heredia or Esteban Loaiza.
Boston's situation was just as bleak as far as pitchers go. But the batting order was set up perfectly for a win -- Quantrill came in to face Manny Ramirez and Ortiz, the first two batters in the 12th. The first All-Star fought off a 2-1 pitch, fisting a single to left field. The second one got the same count and unloaded on an inside fastball, driving the ball over the right-field fence.
"Pretty much every time I've faced him, he makes good pitches on me -- especially with the fastball coming right at me and going back to the plate," said Ortiz. "I noticed this, and he gave it to me a couple of times, one for a ball and one for a strike. It's a good pitch.
"I guess it's a good pitch from a right-hander to a left-hander, because once it's coming, you give up. I guess I was looking for it."
That's a lot of guessing -- especially from someone who had all the game's answers. Quantrill was more definite about the encounter, and he didn't want to accept any empathy for facing the meat of Boston's batting order.
"It's part of the job. It's not like I haven't faced those guys before," he 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."
Now the Yanks have to turn around and play again, approximately 15 hours after the last one ended. The Yankees need just one win to advance to the World Series, and they're confident the bullpen will play a key role in getting them there.
That means Gordon, Quantrill, Rivera -- whoever's fresh enough to get the key outs on Monday and beyond. Quantrill, who claims to never have iced his arm in his life, may need a few aspirin to dull a throbbing headache.
The right-hander had a chance to erase his second-half ERA (7.04) from the collective conscience, but he'll have to wait for another chance to redeem himself. His teammates are confident that he'll take advantage, whenever the chance may come.
"Paul's been around long enough," said Gordon. "He knows how all of us feel about him, and it's a tough situation he was in. But we have a resilient ballclub. We have good relievers in that bullpen, so we'll look forward to tomorrow."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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