New York Socks It to Boston
Joe Torre admitted thoughts of a sweep entered his mind before the New York Yankees’ five-game series with the Boston Red Sox, saying, “Managers like to dream.”
But no one could have envisioned the road the series took, with the Yankees winning five games in all different fashions and completing their first five-game sweep at Fenway Park since 1943.
Monday, the Yankees increased their suddenly commanding lead atop the American League East to 6 1/2 games with a 2-1 victory over Boston. The Red Sox, who were four games ahead of the Yankees on July 4, have lost 17 of 25 games.
“It’s not easy to take,” Red Sox Manager Terry Francona said. “We came into this series thinking we could make up some ground. Everything went about as wrong as it could. It’s not been a very good five [games] -- that’s probably the understatement of the year.”
The Yankees won Monday with an outstanding effort by a pitching staff that was without Mariano Rivera, whom Torre already had decided to rest. Cory Lidle (2-2) tossed six scoreless innings and was backed by Octavio Dotel, Mike Myers, Scott Proctor and Kyle Farnsworth.
New York has won nine of its last 10 games against the Red Sox, a team that looks all but done.
Not that the Yankees would admit as much Monday.
“We’ve still got a long way to go,” shortstop Derek Jeter said. “We haven’t accomplished a thing yet.... This doesn’t mean anything unless we win the division.”
Added third baseman Alex Rodriguez: “Boston is never out of it. We have a lot of respect for them. We know they’re going to fight because, somehow, they’re always standing.”
But the way the Yankees played in Boston, they look nearly unbeatable. They outscored the Red Sox, 47-25, sweeping a five-game series against the Red Sox for the first since Sept. 28-30, 1951, and for the first time at Fenway Park since Sept. 9-12, 1943.
Neither of those series came in a close pennant race involving the teams. This series was most reminiscent of the four-game “Massacre at Fenway” in September 1978.
The Yankees rallied for seven runs in the seventh inning to win the second game of the doubleheader Friday, and rallied Sunday, scoring the tying run with two out in the ninth, getting out of a bases-loaded mess in the bottom of the inning and winning it in the 10th. After the last out, at 1:26 a.m. Monday, Jason Giambi, who hit two home runs, called it the four greatest games he has played.
On Monday, Bobby Abreu, who was 10 for 20 in the series, doubled home a run in the sixth inning and the Yankees added an insurance run in the eighth when Nick Green doubled, moved to third on Melky Cabrera’s sacrifice and scored on a wild pitch by Keith Foulke. David Wells (2-3), who started for Boston and pitched 7 1/3 strong innings, shook his head and walked back to the clubhouse after the wild pitch.
“Things snowballed on us a little bit,” second baseman Mark Loretta said. “It’s not just that it was against the Yankees. It’s hard enough to sweep a three-game series, not just a five-game series.”
The Hartford Courant contributed to this story.