Six months later, a whole lot has changed.
Martinez and Scott Williamson shut down the Yankees with a four-hitter, and Manny Ramirez hit a two-run homer off Javier Vazquez for a 2-0 Boston win Sunday that completed a weekend blowout in the Bronx.
With its first series sweep of New York since 1999, Boston improved to 6-1 against the Yankees for the first time since 1913—when the Red Sox were defending World Series champions.
“There are no statements this early,” Boston’s Kevin Millar said. “They’re going to be fine over there.”
For now, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner also wasn’t issuing any statements.
“Right now, he’s saying nothing,” spokesman Howard Rubenstein said after the Yankees lost three in a row at home to their biggest rival.
Despite a starting lineup that included eight All-Stars, the listless Yankees have left their restless fans wondering when a record $183 million roster will justify its stratospheric salaries. In addition to jeers for New York, chants of “Let’s Go Red Sox!” could be heard from the crowd of 55,338 on the drizzly afternoon.
“The booing is directed at a lot of people, and it should be,” said Jeter, hitless in a career-high 25 at-bats after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. “We haven’t played well. It shows that people care.”
Even Jeter’s mother and father aren’t waiting for him after games.
“When my parents walk out on me, you’re not doing too well,” he said. “They’re probably getting booed, too.”
Boston, which has finished second to New York for six straight seasons, took a 4 1/2 -game lead over the Yankees, New York’s biggest AL East deficit since May 10, 2002, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. At 8-11, the Yankees are three games under .500 this late in the season for the first time since they had the same record on April 22, 1997.
“Every win is important,” Martinez said in a statement. “There’s no doubt that these are the people that we’ve been below, so it’s nice to be able to take advantage of these opportunities against them.”
Last October, Martinez failed to hold a 5-2, eighth-inning lead in Game 7 of the AL championship series, and New York won the pennant on Aaron Boone’s 11th-inning homer off Tim Wakefield. Manager Grady Little’s decision to leave Martinez in that game helped cost him his job.
His replacement, Terry Francona, pulled his ace Sunday after seven innings and 105 pitches.
Martinez (3-1), using a biting breaking ball, allowed four hits, walked one and struck out seven, five of them called third strikes.
Martinez, 10-8 against the Yankees in his career, escaped a second-and-third, one-out jam in the fifth when Enrique Wilson popped up and Jeter took a third strike. After Alex Rodriguez doubled in the sixth for his second hit, Jason Giambi grounded out and Gary Sheffield popped up.
Williamson got six straight outs for his first save, completing Boston’s first sweep of New York since Sept. 10-12, 1999. The Red Sox retired New York’s last 11 hitters.
Pitching on three days’ rest for the second time in his career, Vazquez (2-2) struck out eight in six innings and allowed four hits, but he dropped to 0-3 against the Red Sox.
After Vazquez issued his only walk to Mark Bellhorn leading off the fourth, Ramirez followed with a deep drive to left on a hanging 0-2 curveball. It was his second homer of the series and 20th at Yankee Stadium, tying Rafael Palmeiro for the most by active opponents.
“The objective here is to win the World Series, not to beat the Yankees,” Ramirez said. “They’re the ones who got the rings. We don’t got nothing.”
New York was 15-for-99 in the series (.152), dropping its season average to .217, 29th among the 30 teams, ahead of only Montreal. Jeter was 0-for-13 with six strikeouts, and Bernie Williams is in a 2-for-26 slide.
The Yankees were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position Sunday and are hitting .132 (9-for-68) this season with two outs and runners in scoring position.
They’re not much better on defense. Catcher Jorge Posada dropped a pair of foul popups, Jeter made a throwing error at shortstop, and Jeter and Hideki Matsui let David Ortiz’s pop down the left-field line drop between them for a double.
“It was a terrible weekend,” manager Joe Torre said. “I never envisioned our offense having these kinds of problems.”
“Is that who we get?” Rodriguez said. “Great news. I’ll really enjoy myday off now.”
RHP Jon Lieber, recovering from an injured groin, made what probably will be his final rehabilitation start in Florida before rejoining New York, allowing two hits in seven scoreless innings for Class-A Tampa against Fort Myers. … Ortiz has an extra-base hit in seven straight games (six doubles,one homer).