Jeter’s homer breaks 8th-inning tie, Yankees beat Schilling and Red Sox 4-3
BOSTON (AP)—The bases were loaded with two outs in the ninth inning, the Yankees led Boston by one run and Mariano Rivera was facing David Ortiz. New York Yankees manager Joe Torre decided it was time to visit the pitcher’s mound.
Not that he had much insight to offer.
“I went out there and said, ‘Get this guy out and we win the game,”’ Torre said Sunday night after the Yankees held on to beat the Red Sox 4-3 and cut Boston’s lead in the AL East to 4 1/2 games. “I was just trying to break the mood a little—and mine, too. Then, my job was to sit there and get nervous like everybody else.”
Derek Jeter hit a three-run homer off Curt Schilling to break an eighth-inning tie, and Rivera got Ortiz to pop up with the bases loaded to end the game and the Yankees beat the Red Sox for the sixth time in seven games. Boston’s magic number to clinch the division is nine, but New York won the season series 10-8—the first tiebreaker, should the teams finish the season with the same record.
“We’re cool,” Ortiz said. “Nobody’s feeling pressure around here.”
The Yankees, who lead Detroit in the AL wild-card standings by 2 1/2 games, have won nine of 11 overall.
“We still have our fate in our hands,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “We can’t look for help.”
Schilling (8-8) outlasted Roger Clemens but couldn’t beat Jeter, who drove a 2-2 splitter over the Green Monster to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead. Joba Chamberlain held on with help from Rivera’s 28th save, even as the Red Sox cut the deficit to one run and loaded the bases in the ninth.
Jeter is batting .441 with runners in scoring position and two outs—the best mark in the majors.
“It’s an honor to watch the best clutch hitter in history do his thing, and the best closer in history do his thing,” said Roger Clemens, who in his first start since Sept. 3 dueled Schilling to a 1-1 tie before leaving after six innings. “Jeter is one of the reasons that I got up off the couch and came back.”
Chamberlain (2-0) allowed one run and two hits, striking out three to earn the victory despite giving up the first earned run of his career—and Mike Lowell’s third hit of the night—a solo homer that made it 4-2.
Rivera allowed Julio Lugo’s two-out RBI double in the ninth, then hit Jacoby Ellsbury with a pitch and walked Dustin Pedroia. Ortiz popped up a 2-2 pitch into shallow center field, and a backpedaling Jeter made the catch before pumping his fist.
“It kind of seems appropriate that when we play them it should come down to something like that,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “We gave ourselves a chance. We came up short, but we’ll take that spot again with David batting.”
Schilling allowed four runs and six hits, striking out two in 7 2-3 innings to fall to 0-3 in his past four starts.
The Red Sox right-hander gave up Robinson Cano’s homer to lead off the fifth, then retired 10 straight batters before putting runners on second and third in the eighth. Jeter fell behind 1-2 before giving the Yankees the lead and chasing Schilling from the game.
“I missed horribly in probably the most crucial situation in the game. I can’t do that,” Schilling said. “This is an incredibly painful way to learn a lesson that you already know. So many things I could have done there, and I did it as wrong as I could do it.”
Matching up for the first time since Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, Schilling and Clemens dueled to a 1-all tie through 6 1/2 innings before Chamberlain relieved Clemens to start the seventh. Chamberlain had not allowed an earned run in 17 2-3 innings over 13 appearances before Lowell connected.
The 45-year-old Clemens, coming back from a blister on his foot and ligament damage to his right elbow, allowed one unearned run, two hits and three walks. He struck out four—all in a row in the third and fourth innings.
A fan chased Eric Hinske to second base when he doubled in the seventh, tried to high-five him and then stole Cano’s hat before fleeing into left field. He was apprehended, roughly, by security. … Jorge Posada was in the lineup at DH instead of catcher, one day after being knocked over in a home plate collision with Hinske. … Ellsbury failed to hit safely for the first time in 14 games since being called up from the minors on Sept. 1.