SERIES: AL championship series Game 4; Yankees lead 2-1.
It also gave Boston manager Grady Little and New York skipper Joe Torre a chance to tweak their rotations for Game 4.
John Burkett and David Wells were the scheduled Game 4 starters, but both managers opted to shuffle their pitchers around for the remainder of the series after Sunday night’s game was postponed due to steady rain in Boston.
Burkett, who is 0-6 with an 8.49 ERA in 11 career regular season starts against the Yankees, will be replaced by knuckleballer Tim Wakefield for the Red Sox.
“To me it’s a no-brainer,” Burkett said of the move. “I’m not mad. I’m disappointed.”
New York will go with Mike Mussina instead of Wells, who is now slated to pitch Game 5.
Wakefield was brilliant in his matchup with Mussina in Game 1, allowing two runs—both of which scored after he was pulled—and two hits over six-plus innings in Boston’s 5-2 victory.
The veteran right-hander struck out two and walked two, improving to 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA in three postseason appearances, including two starts, this year.
Mussina has lost both of his postseason starts this season, surrendering four runs and eight hits over 5 2-3 innings during his matchup with Wakefield on Wednesday.
Little can then send Game 2 loser Derek Lowe to the hill against Wells in Game 5. Lowe pitched far more effectively at home than on the road this year, going 11-2 with a 3.21 ERA in 17 Fenway starts.
Burkett would probably start Game 6, if necessary, in New York on Wednesday. Andy Pettitte is scheduled to go for New York in Game 6.
“I’m real happy about this day off,” Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon said. “It’s a day of rest and it gives us some options with our pitching rotation. It helps us out.”
These teams found a way to add a little bit more fuel to one of the most storied and bitter rivalries in sports during Game 3.
“We’ve upgraded from a battle to a war,” Little said after the Yankees held on for a 4-3 victory Saturday night.
Martinez, who pitched seven innings, hit Yankees right fielder Karim Garcia in the back with a fastball in the top of the fourth after getting knocked around by several New York hitters.
After words were exchanged, and Martinez gestured several times to the New York dugout, Clemens threw a high, inside fastball to Manny Ramirez leading off the bottom half of the inning.
Though the pitch did not come close to hitting Ramirez, the Boston outfielder walked toward Clemens on the mound, causing both dugouts to empty.
Don Zimmer, the Yankees’ longtime 72-year-old bench coach and former Red Sox manager, rushed Martinez, who reacted by stepping aside, grabbing Zimmer’s head and throwing him down to the grass.
Zimmer was helped off the field and appeared fine in the dugout for the remainder of the game, watching as Clemens set down the Red Sox in the fourth, fifth and sixth.
Zimmer was taken to the hospital after the game, but appeared at Fenway for Sunday’s pregame press conference, where he issued an emotional apology.
“I’m embarrassed at what happened yesterday,” he said. “I’m embarrassed for the Yankees, the Red Sox, the fans, the umpires and my family. That’s all I have to say, I’m sorry.”
Things got ugly again in the ninth as a skirmish broke out in the Yankees’ bullpen involving a member of the Red Sox grounds crew. Two Yankees players may be charged with assaulting the Fenway employee, a police spokesman said.
Martinez, Ramirez, Zimmer and Garcia were fined for their actions on Saturday, and commissioner Bud Selig told the umpires and clubs that “any future misconduct by either team will not be tolerated and will be dealt with severely.”
Torre insists the distractions of Game 3 will not spill over into Game 4 for his club.
“We’re here to play baseball, that’s first and foremost in our minds,” he said. “We win two more games and we get to go to the World Series.”
Game 5 has been pushed back to Tuesday at Fenway. Games 6 and 7, if necessary, will be back in New York on Wednesday and Thursday.
PROJECTED LINEUPS: Yankees - 2B Alfonso Soriano (.290, 38, 91, 114 runs, 35 steals, 130 Ks), SS Derek Jeter (.324, 10, 52), 1B Jason Giambi (.250, 41, 107, 129 BBs, 140 Ks), CF Bernie Williams (.263, 15, 64), C Jorge Posada (.281, 30, 101), LF Hideki Matsui (.287, 16, 106, 42 doubles), DH Nick Johnson (.284, 14, 47, 70 BBs in 96 games), 3B Aaron Boone (.254, 6, 31, 8 steals), RF Garcia (.262, 11, 35). Red Sox - CF Damon (.273, 12, 67), 2B Todd Walker (.283, 13, 85), SS Nomar Garciaparra (.301, 28, 105, 120 runs), LF Ramirez (.325, 37, 104), DH David Ortiz (.288, 31, 101), 1B Kevin Millar (.276, 25, 96), RF Trot Nixon (.306, 28, 87), 3B Bill Mueller (AL-leading .326, 19, 85), C Jason Varitek (.273, 25, 85).
YANKEES PROBABLE STARTER: Mussina (17-8, 3.40 ERA). Mussina is winless in his last four postseason starts, and four straight outings overall dating to a 6-3 win over Tampa Bay on Sept. 12. He has pitched well at Fenway during his career, going 10-5 with a 3.05 ERA in 19 starts, including a one-hitter in September 2001.
RED SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Wakefield (11-7, 4.09). Wakefield was 5-4 with a 4.25 ERA at home this year, but lost both of his starts against New York at Fenway.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Yankees - RHP Mariano Rivera has retired 21 of 22 batters this postseason. Three of his four postseason saves have required him to get six outs. … RHP Mussina was 7-4 with a 3.81 ERA in 15 road starts this year. … 2B Soriano, who is 0-for-11 in this series, is 6-for-19 (.316) with two homers and four RBIs in his career against RHP Wakefield. Red Sox - 2B Walker, OF Ramirez and DH Ortiz each homered off RHP Mussina in Game 1. … SS Garciaparra went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Game 3, and is 2-for-13 in the series. … OF Damon, who missed the first two games of the series with a concussion, returned to the lineup for Game 3 and went 3-for-4 with a run scored.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Yankees - 51-29 on the road in regular season, 3-0 in postseason. Red Sox - 53-28 at home in regular season, 2-1 in postseason.<
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