Game 3 wrapup: Yankees 4, Red Sox 3
BOSTON -- The day started with boundless electricity all across Fenway Park. The Red Sox had ace Pedro Martinez on the mound and spark-plug center fielder Johnny Damon back in the lineup just five days after suffering a concussion.
Adding to the other subplots was that Roger Clemens, the former Red Sox legend, was making his final start at Fenway Park.
Electricity turned into disappointment as the Yankees edged the Sox, 4-3, in Saturday's Game 3 of this American League Championship Series.
It was Martinez's first postseason defeat, as he fell to 4-1 in seven appearances. He went seven innings, yielding six hits and four runs while striking out six.
Clemens made his Fenway finale a good one, picking up the victory by going six strong innings, allowing two runs on just five hits, adding seven strikeouts.
After losing the opener, the Yankees now lead this best-of-seven series, 2-1.
The game was marred by uproars in the top and bottom of the fourth inning, when the benches briefly emptied.
But by the end of the day, what concerned the Sox most was the result, which wasn't good.
"It was everything you'd expect a Red Sox-Yankees game to be," said Sox second baseman Todd Walker. "We would have liked to have won. We had our opportunities."
It makes Sunday night's Game 4 -- when John Burkett faces David Wells in a duel of battle-tested veterans -- all the more crucial for Boston. The last thing the Sox want to do against the Yankees is get behind the eight ball like they did against the A's in the Division Series.
"(Sunday is) a must win," said Damon, who returned by getting three hits. "You don't want to be down 3-1 against these guys. We're looking forward to going back to New York, but we do need to win (Sunday)."
Things started out well for the Sox. Damon, who received a thunderous ovation during pregame introductions, opened the bottom of the first with an infield hit. Walker followed with a double off the Green Monster. Both runners scored when Manny Ramirez slammed a two-run single to left.
Ramirez would be heard from later.
Down a two-spot early to Martinez, the Yankees didn't back down. Jorge Posada led off the second with a double to left-center. He scored on a two-out single by Karim Garcia, cutting Boston's lead to a run.
The Yankees tied it in the third on one swing, as Derek Jeter hammered a blast over the Green Monster.
In the fourth, not only did the Yankees move ahead, but the game started to get out of control.
With runners at the corners and nobody out, Hideki Matsui launched an RBI double to right to make it 3-2 Yankees.
On the next pitch, Martinez hit Garcia on the back, just above the numbers. Garcia was miffed and had to be restrained by home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez. Both sides were then issued a warning as tempers flared.
"Pedro never takes a shot at someone's head like that or up in that area," said Sox manager Grady Little.
Alfonso Soriano followed by hitting into a 6-4-3 double play, and things became heated again when Garcia made a hard, take-out slide at second baseman Walker.
"What Karim did, the intent is what I was upset about," Walker said. "But if I was in his shoes, I would have done the same thing. As a hitter, nobody wants a pitch like that thrown at him. You'd have to ask Pedro about it."
After the side was retired, Clemens threw a high, 1-2 pitch to Ramirez. Though the pitch didn't appear unusually close, Ramirez was irked and motioned toward Clemens. Before he could get anywhere near the mound, Boston DH David Ortiz bear-hugged Ramirez, stopping him in his tracks.
"It was over the plate, it was just high," said Yankees manager Joe Torre. "And Manny -- I think everybody's nerves were a little frazzled by that time, and he overreacted. And again, I can understand the overreaction because of the tension."
Players on both sides emerged from the dugout, and things got really ugly when Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer ran to the other side of the field and right at Martinez. The Boston ace put his hand out to stop the incensed Zimmer, and the 72-year-old coach ended up on the ground.
"I could never hit him, I would never do it," said Martinez in his brief exchange with the media. "I was just trying to dodge him and push him away and (it was) too bad his body fell. I hope he's fine. I was shocked, really shocked."
All the while, a throng of players from both sides converged in short right field and exchanged words, but not fists. Play was stopped for 13 minutes as the umpires got things back under control.
Both pitchers settled down after that, and the game stayed where it was over the next couple of innings.
The Sox had a chance to get some back in the sixth as Damon led off with a single to left and Walker drew a walk. But Clemens dug deep and escaped unscathed, overmatching Nomar Garciaparra on a three-pitch strikeout and inducing Ramirez into a 6-4-3 double play.
"We battled our butts off, they battled too," Sox first baseman Kevin Millar said. "Roger made some good adjustments. He mixed over his slider a little bit more later in the game."
Mariano Rivera was masterful for the Yankees, saving the game with a pair of 1-2-3 innings.
The Sox are looking forward to having a crack at the series equalizer on Sunday.
"One thing about this team," Millar said. "We don't quit. This series is going to be dogfight."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.