It wasn’t until he woke up on Saturday morning that he realized his team needed something extra from him.
“He sucked it up,” manager Joe Torre said after Johnson overcame midgame wildness to beat Boston 13-5, lasting seven innings to rescue the Yankees bullpen after a successful, but exhausting, sweep. “It was enormously important. Especially considering how dry we were in the bullpen.”
In an unwelcome replay of the 1978 “Boston Massacre,” the Yankees scored at least 12 runs in winning each of the first three of the five-game series and extending their lead in the AL East to a season-high 4 1/2 games. Twenty-eight years ago, New York swept four at Fenway in September to erase the rest of what had been a 14-game deficit; the Yankees won the division that year on Bucky Dent’s popup homer in a one-game tiebreaker.
“We’ll find a way to regroup,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “We dug ourselves a pretty big hole and we’ll find a way to dig out of it.”
Johnson (14-9) went to bed Friday night with the Yankees losing 10-7 in the second game of a day-night doubleheader. New York came back to win 14-11 and complete the sweep in a 4 hour, 45 minute epic that was the longest nine-inning game in major league history.
“When I got to the ballpark, everybody was pretty banged up and pretty sore,” Johnson said.
The 6-foot-10 left-hander took a no-hitter into the fourth before allowing all four of his hits in a temporary lapse of control that preceded Manny Ramirez’s three-run homer. But Johnson allowed just one more run over the next three innings; in all, he gave up five runs on six walks and a hit batter.
Boston wasn’t so lucky. Josh Beckett (13-8) walked a career-high nine batters in 5 2-3 innings, allowing nine runs on seven hits and striking out two to remain winless in his last five starts.
“I knew our bullpen was tired,” he said after throwing a season-high 121 pitches. “For me to make them go to the well in the sixth inning again is unacceptable.”
Johnny Damon again punished his former team, hitting three doubles and sparking a five-run, tie-breaking rally in the sixth. Bernie Williams homered in the second—the major league-leading 32nd home run allowed by Beckett—and Robinson Cano adder a three-run shot in the eighth off Jermaine Van Buren, who was called up as a reinforcement after nine Red Sox pitchers threw 432 pitches on Friday.
Damon, who helped the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series before switching sides in the rivalry this winter, went 6-for-12 with two homers and seven RBIs in the doubleheader.
Johnson took a no-hitter into the seventh inning two starts ago. He pitched a perfect game at age 40 for the Diamondbacks against the Braves on May 18, 2004 and also threw a no-hitter for the Mariners in 1990 against Detroit.
The Red Sox had never allowed 12 runs or more in three consecutive games. … Third-base umpire Jim Wolf was replaced for the bottom of the third inning by Jim Hoye because of a previous injury that worsened during the game. … Ramirez was intentionally walked in the fifth—the third time in three games the Yankees have put him on intentionally. … Yankees RHP Carl Pavano will make a rehab start in Double-A Trenton on Sunday. … The last Red Sox pitcher to walk as many as nine batters in a game was Roger Moret, who walked nine in a complete game victory over the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 22, 1975. … Sal Fasano made his first major league pinch-running appearance, relieving Posada in the eighth.