Red Sox Lead Yankees 5-0 in ALCS Game 1
NEW YORK (AP) _ Home runs by David Ortiz, Todd Walker, Manny Ramirez and an RBI single by Kevin Millar gave the Boston Red Sox a 5-0 lead over the New York Yankees after six innings in Game 1 of the AL championship series Wednesday night.
Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield was in complete control of the Yankees over the first six, allowing only two hits and retired his last 14 batters.
Ortiz gave the Yankees fits all season, batting .327 with six homers and 14 RBIs. But he was 0-for-20 lifetime against Mike Mussina before sending a 3-2 pitch into the front row of the upper deck in right field at Yankee Stadium in the fourth inning.
Ramirez was aboard after an infield single, and the two-run shot snapped a scoreless tie.
It was the first postseason homer of Ortiz’s career _ he went 2-for-21 (.095) in the first round against Oakland, but his two-out, two-run double off closer Keith Foulke in the eighth inning of Game 4 rallied Boston to a season-saving victory.
Mussina struck out three of his next four batters, but faltered again in the fifth.
Walker, who homered three times in the division series, led off with a drive down the right-field line. It might have curved foul, but a fan stuck out his hand and claimed he touched the ball just to the right of the foul pole.
Right field umpire Angel Hernandez called the ball foul, but was quickly overruled by plate umpire and crew chief Tim McClelland.
Walker’s fourth home run tied Nomar Garciaparra’s team record for one postseason set in 1999.
Three batters later, Ramirez hit a high drive just over the right-field fence for his 15th career postseason homer. He also slumped most of the first round, then hit a tiebreaking, three-run shot in Game 5.
Mussina, who took the loss in Game 1 of the division series against Minnesota, was lifted with two outs in the sixth. He allowed four runs and eight hits.
It’s the second time these rivals have met in an ALCS _ the Yankees beat Boston 4-1 in 1999 en route to their second of three straight World Series titles. Wakefield, who beat Roger Clemens twice at Yankee Stadium this season, was left off the Boston roster for that series.
The wild-card winners were without center fielder and leadoff hitter Johnny Damon, who sustained a concussion Monday night in a head-to-head collision with second baseman Damian Jackson during Game 5 of the division series at Oakland.
Damon was on the ALCS roster and with the team, but there was no chance he would play before Game 3 in Boston on Saturday, manager Grady Little said. Gabe Kapler started in center and batted ninth. Second baseman Walker moved up to the leadoff spot.
The Red Sox left reliever Byung-Hyun Kim off the roster because of a tight shoulder _ not his past problems against the Yankees, Little said. Regular catcher Jason Varitek, who had 25 homers and 85 RBIs this season, also was out of the starting lineup because Mirabelli normally catches Wakefield.
The Yankees are tough to beat once they get this far. They’ve won nine of the 10 AL championship series they’ve appeared in, including all five since the format was expanded to seven games. The only loss was a three-game sweep by George Brett and the Kansas City Royals in 1980.
After rallying from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Oakland in the first round, the Red Sox are looking to reach the World Series for the first time in 17 years _ of course, they haven’t won it since 1918.
Boston entered 1-12 in its last three trips to the ALCS. The Red Sox were swept by the Athletics in 1988 and ’90.
The Yankees, who got past Minnesota in four games in the division series, are in the ALCS for the fifth time in six years. New York won its sixth straight AL East title by six games over Boston this season _ the Red Sox finished second all six years.