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Archive for Thursday, July 1, 2004

Ortiz error opens door for Yankees

Sheffield delivers key hit in New York’s 4-2 triumph over Red Sox

July 1, 2004

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— Eighteen years later, a grounder to first base did in the Boston Red Sox again.

This New York setting was far less dramatic than when Bill Buckner made his infamous error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, but the play was eerily similar.

David Ortiz made a key error that allowed New York to tie game in the seventh inning, and Gary Sheffield's RBI double in the eighth sent the New York Yankees to a 4-2 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday night.

"That kind of stuff seems to happen a lot to us, especially when we're playing the Yankees," Johnny Damon said. "Every single loss is just magnified right now."

The Yankees have won the first two matchups of the three-game series to open a season-high 71/2-game lead over Boston in the AL East. They'll go for a sweep tonight against Pedro Martinez.

Making his first appearance at Yankee Stadium since giving up Aaron Boone's pennant-winning homer in Game 7 of the AL championship series last year, Tim Wakefield shut down the Yankees on three hits for 61/3 innings.

After a walk and a hit batsman, he left with a 2-0 lead -- but the worst defense in the major leagues let him down.

"In the seventh inning, the wheels kind of fell off," Wakefield said.

Scott Williamson replaced Wakefield with runners at the corners, then departed with the bases loaded and two outs because of a strained right forearm.

Tony Clark hit a sharp grounder off Mike Timlin (4-3) right at Ortiz, the designated hitter in Boston's original lineup. He was switched to first base before the first pitch because Trot Nixon had a tight quadriceps and moved from right field to DH.

Thinking the inning was over when the ball was hit, Wakefield began to applaud in the dugout.

Then the ball squirted through Ortiz into shallow right field for an error that allowed two runs to score, and the 37-year-old knuckleballer just stared quietly straight ahead.

After the play, Ortiz headed toward the dugout for a new glove because the ball had slipped right through the webbing of the other one.

White Sox 9, Twins 6

Minneapolis -- Freddy Garcia received plenty of run support from his new team, winning his debut with Chicago against Minnesota. Paul Konerko, Jose Valentin and Joe Crede backed Garcia with home runs, and the White Sox moved one game ahead of the Twins in the AL Central -- two in the loss column.

Acquired Sunday in a trade with Seattle to solidify Chicago's rotation for the playoff race, Garcia (5-7) gave up seven hits and five runs -- four earned -- in six innings while striking out a season-high nine.

Tigers 12, Indians 5

Detroit -- Ivan Rodriguez delivered three more hits, and Detroit won its sixth in a row. The Tigers' winning streak is their longest since they took six straight in May 2002. Detroit overcame a three-run deficit and improved to 37-39. Last year, when the Tigers set an AL record with 119 losses, they didn't get their 37th win until Sept. 4. Dmitri Young and Carlos Pena homered for Detroit.

Athletics 4, Angels 2

Oakland, Calif. -- Slumping Marco Scutaro hit a tiebreaking two-run single with two outs in the eighth inning, and Oakland beat Anaheim. Scutaro, who's batting just .161 during his last 15 games, singled to right against Scot Shields (5-2) to snap an 0-for-8 skid and give Oakland its fifth win in seven games.

Chad Bradford (4-4) pitched two-thirds of an inning for the win, and Octavio Dotel worked the ninth for his second save in three opportunities since being acquired from Houston in a three-team trade Thursday.

Rangers 9, Mariners 6

Seattle -- Kenny Rogers became the first 11-game winner in the majors, and Hank Blalock hit a two-run home run, leading Texas over Seattle. Rogers (11-2), who hasn't lost since May 9, pitched into the sixth and won his seventh straight decision. He faced one batter in the sixth, allowing three runs on six hits and struck out three.

Devil Rays 6, Blue Jays 2

St. Petersburg, Fla. -- Rey Sanchez hit his first conventional home run in over two years, and Dewon Brazelton threw five shutout innings to lead Tampa Bay past Toronto.

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