Yankees Hold on For Game One Win

Hideki Matsui hit a pair of clutch doubles and drove in five runs, and Mariano Rivera shut the door on a surging Red Sox offense as the New York Yankees edged Boston in game one of the American League Championship Series Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, 10-7. Rivera, who just last week blew only his third career post-season save, came in with two away in the top of the eighth inning and preserved a one-run Yankee lead before Bernie Williams' two-run double put the game out of reach in the bottom half.

Game 1 starters Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina were worlds apart. Schilling (0-1) suffered the worst post-season outing of his career, allowing six runs - all earned - in only three innings. He gave a two-out double to Matsui in the first to plate the Yankees first run. Williams then added a single to make it 2-0.

After working his only easy inning of the night in the second, Schilling allowed the first four Yankee hitters to reach base in the third. Derek Jeter opened with a single to center and then Alex Rodriguez followed with an infield hit to short. Then, Gary Sheffield walked to load the bases with no one out before Matsui hit a three-run double to right, making it 5-0. Moments later, Jorge Posada's sac fly to center made it 6-0.

With Schilling out and last year's ALCS Game 7 goat, Tim Wakefield, on, the Yankees tacked on two more courtesy of a solo homerun from Kenny Lofton to lead off the seventh, and later Matsui's third hit of the night, an RBI single which extended the lead to 8-0.

For Mussina's part, the crafty veteran was perfect through the first 6 1/3 innings. He retired all of the first 19 hitters before Mark Bellhorn doubled to deep left with one away in the seventh. What followed then was all too typical of the glory surrounding the Yankees-Red Sox battles through the years. With two away, David Ortiz singled to move Bellhorn over to third.

The next batter, Kevin Millar, Cowboy'd up and drove home both Bellhorn and Ortiz with a double to left that scored the Sox first runs of the night and made it 8-2. Millar advanced to third on a passed ball from Posada and then scored on Trot Nixon's RBI single to center. With Mussina out, right-hander Tanyon Sturtze came on and gave up a two-run homer to Jason Varitek that made it a brand new game with one swing.

It was Varitek's eighth career post-season homerun.

In the eighth, Tom Gordon ran into trouble when Bill Mueller reached base with an infield hit to open the inning. Two outs later, Manny Ramirez singled to left center before Ortiz nearly tied the game with one swing. Ortiz, the hero in Boston's 7-6 extra innings win over Anaheim last Friday to advance the Sox to the LCS, crushed a 3-1 pitch over the glove of Matsui in left center to score Mueller and Ramirez to cut the deficit to one.

That's when Rivera took control. He fell behind 2-1 on Millar but battled back and forced the first baseman to hit a weak pop up on the infield for the final out of the inning, stranding the tying run just ninety feet away.

Back-to-back singles with one away in the bottom of the eighth off Mike Timlin set the stage for Williams' double to widen the lead to three. In the ninth, Rivera allowed singles to Varitek and Orlando Cabrera with one away to bring the tying run to the plate. But after falling behind 2-1 to Mueller, Rivera got the Red Sox third baseman to hit into a game-ending 1-6-3 double play to secure the victory.

Mussina (1-0) got the win, allowing four runs on as many hits in 6 2/3. Rivera recorded his 31st post-season save. Game two of the epic series is set for Wednesday night at 8:05 ET when Pedro Martinez gets set to face Jon Lieber. Fans will remember the last time Martinez pitched in an ALCS game at Yankee Stadium. It was a year ago, and it cost Grady Little his job as Red Sox skipper. Rivera, who arrived at the park in the third inning and was greeted by Alex Rodriguez, received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 56,135 at Yankee Stadium. Rivera returned from a funeral in Panama earlier Tuesday after relatives of his wife were electrocuted while cleaning the couple's swimming pool.

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