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Yanks, Sox headed back to NY10/19/2004 1:58 AM ET
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
BOSTON -- For the second time in two days, the Red Sox staved off elimination with less than six outs left in their season, defeating the Yankees in dramatic fashion in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.
David Ortiz's RBI single off Esteban Loaiza in the 14th inning lifted Boston to a 5-4 victory, giving the Red Sox their second comeback win -- both via Ortiz walk-off hits -- in less than 24 hours.
The win cut the Yankees' lead in the best-of-seven series to 3-2. No team has ever rebounded to win a postseason series after losing the first three games, but the Red Sox are now just two wins away from history.
"I'm sure they feel pretty good about themselves, because if they didn't win, they were going home," said Derek Jeter. "They did exactly what they needed to do."
Mariano Rivera blew his second save opportunity in as many nights, though it was Tom Gordon who put the closer in a jam before he came into the game in the eighth, giving up a solo homer to Ortiz and putting runners on the corners with no outs.
"I wish I would've been able to hold that lead for our team," Gordon said. "It would've worked out a little better for us."
The series now shifts back to the Bronx, where Jon Lieber will take on Curt Schilling in Game 6 on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.
"I'm not sure that these two games, other than being frustrated as [heck], change how we feel about ourselves," said manager Joe Torre. "If they had beat us up lopsided two games in a row, I would say that's one thing. But these games, back and forth, it was a matter of a pitch, a hit, a run.
"Sure the momentum is on their side," he added, "but I'm not sure it affected us where we don't feel good about ourselves."
The game lasted a record 5:49, setting a new postseason mark. That it came one day after the two teams set an ALCS mark with a 5:02 game just made it seem even longer.
"That was a long game, man," Jeter said. "I forgot who even started the game for us."
It was Mike Mussina, who pitched six perfect innings to start Game 1, though he wasn't nearly as sharp to open up Game 5. But after allowing two runs in the first, he shut Boston down over the next five innings.
Pedro Martinez bested Mussina by allowing one run through five, but Jeter hit a bases-loaded double on Pedro's 100th pitch of the night to give New York a 4-2 lead. Tanyon Sturtze and Gordon got three outs in the seventh, leaving the Yankees just six outs from the pennant.
"We had a one-run lead in the ninth last night and a two-run lead in the eighth tonight," Jeter said. "We were right where we wanted to be, but they didn't give up."
The Yankees threatened to tack on an insurance run in the eighth, but A-Rod struck out with a man on second, then Hideki Matsui flew out with runners at the corners to end the inning.
"Looking back now, a three-run lead would have been better than two, but hindsight is 20-20," A-Rod said. "We had a two-run lead, but I should have gotten that run in."
It turned out to be crucial, as Ortiz cut the lead to 1 in the bottom of the inning, crushing a solo shot over the Green Monster against Gordon.
Gordon then walked Kevin Millar, and a single by Trot Nixon put runners at the corners with no outs. Rivera came in from the bullpen, trying to pull off some heroics just one night after blowing a save in Game 4.
Jason Varitek lifted a fly ball to center, scoring pinch-runner Dave Roberts from third on the sac fly, as Rivera was charged with his second consecutive blown save. Rivera blew saves in consecutive games once this season, July 24 in Boston and July 26 in Toronto.
"I just tried to get the guy out," Rivera said. "I got him out, but I was going for a strikeout or a ground ball back to me. Something that keeps the guy on third base. It's tough. I wanted to do the job and I couldn't."
Tied at 4, the game moved to the ninth, but things were just getting started.
Boston strolled out four pitchers over the next five innings, while New York sent out three after Rivera got through the ninth.
Each team had several solid scoring opportunities in extra innings, as the Yankees stranded six runners on base after the Sox tied the game, while Boston left two men on, including one at third base. Boston also fouled up a bunt attempt and had two men thrown out attempting to steal, killing more potential rallies.
With both bullpens drained, it came down to Tim Wakefield, who started the 12th, and Loaiza, who got a big double play by Orlando Cabrera after entering in the 11th.
Gary Sheffield reached first after striking out to start the 13th, as the third strike got by Varitek, who was having trouble handling Wakefield's knuckleball. With two outs, a passed ball moved the runner to second, so Wakefield intentionally walked Jorge Posada. Another passed ball put both runners in scoring position, but Ruben Sierra struck out to strand them both.
"You saw Varitek try to catch it. No one knows where it's going to go, so hitting it isn't too much fun," Jeter said. "You just have to guess where it's going to go. We had some runners on, but we just couldn't get that two-out hit."
Wakefield cruised through a 1-2-3 14th, sending Loaiza back for his third full inning. With one out, Loaiza walked Johnny Damon, then struck out Cabrera. Manny Ramirez walked to bring Ortiz to the plate, looking to be the hero for the second straight night.
Ortiz drilled a 1-2 pitch to right, but it hooked foul. On the 10th pitch of the at-bat, Ortiz looped a single to center, scoring Damon to send the series back to New York.
"It was a cutter up-and-in," Loaiza said. "It's just one of those things. He just made contact, and with a broken bat. Other than that, he was fouling off a lot of sinkers away. He won the battle right there, but on a good pitch."
After 26 innings over almost 11 hours of baseball, the two teams will resume the series -- weather permitting -- on Tuesday night with Game 6
"We did everything we could to put ourselves in position to win a ballgame," Sheffield said. "They're fighting their hearts out to not let that happen. We'll take it back to New York now and try to win the game."
"You're not tired at this point. This is the postseason. If you can't get up for it, you shouldn't be playing," Jeter said. "We're still in good shape, still up 3-2, so we'll try to go home and win a game tomorrow night.
"It's good to get out of here and go home."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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