Pedro Buries Bombers

The first game of the weekend series between the New York Yankees and their arch nemesis Boston Red Sox was billed as a pitchers' duel between Mike Mussina and Pedro Martinez, two of the most dominant pitchers of the last decade. Even though it took a little longer than advertised, the two aces did not disappoint.

After a rain delay that lasted almost two and a half hours, The Moose and El Duro matched each other pitch for pitch, but it was Pedro and the BoSox that outlasted the Yankees for a 4-2 victory.

The teams traded zeroes for the first three innings until Boston drew first blood, manufacturing a run in a bizarre turn of events. Johnny Damon led of the top of the fourth inning with a sharp single to right-centerfield. Damon stole second base on Mussina's 1-0 offering and moved to third on Rey Sanchez' sacrifice bunt.

When Nomar Garciaparra lifted a shallow pop up into foul territory between first base and the stands with one out, it appeared as though Mussina (12-4) would give himself the chance to work himself out of the jam.

However, first baseman Nick Johnson and second baseman Alfonso Soriano both made plays on the ball and, although Johnson made the catch, the two got tangled up and the speedy Damon was able to tag from third and score the game's first run. With the way Martinez (12-2) was throwing the ball, it looked as though that run would stand up.

The score remained 1-0 in favor of Boston until the seventh inning. Boston tacked runs onto its lead in both the seventh and eighth innings on Shea Hillenbrand's RBI double and a sacrifice bunt by Jose Offerman that Jorge Posada misplayed into a two-base error.

Trot Nixon lead the eighth off with a double into the rightfield corner. Offerman laid down a bunt to advance him to third with no one out, but instead of taking the sure out at third, Posada fielded the ball in front of the plate and never set himself properly to make the quick throw to third. The ball short hopped Robin Ventura and skipped into short leftfield and Nixon scored while Offerman moved up to second. Mussina retired the next three batters without incident before giving way to the bullpen.

Martinez went out to start the eighth inning and induced Soriano to fly out on the first pitch. After walking Derek Jeter on a full count, Boston manager Grady Little opted to let Pedro pitch to Jason Giambi rather than call on his lefty specialist, Chris Haney. Facing an exaggerated shift, the slow roller that Giambi hit off the end of his bat became an infield single instead of a ground out to third. With runners on first and second, Bernie Williams sent Martinez' next offering down the first baseline, plating Jeter. Ventura's RBI ground out cut the lead to 3-2, but that was as close as the Yankees would get.

Boston closer Ugueth Urbina came on to record the last four outs for his 24th save of the season. Martinez went 7.1 innings while surrendering 5 hits, 3 walks, and 2 hit batters (he plunked Ventura twice) and striking out 9. Both runs were earned. Mussina had an equally impressive line, going 8 innings with 5 hits allowed, only 1 base on balls, 4 strikeouts, and 3 runs (2 earned).



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