Ortizzle pounded two long home runs -- one 10 rows deep in the third deck in right and another into the black section beyond center field -- and drove in four of Boston's seven runs. Ortiz is hitting .481 (13-for-27) with three homers in six games at Yankee Stadium this season. Johnny Damon: "You never see Papi run so fast as when he plays the Yankees. He sprints to the plate when we come here." ... In his last 21 games, Ortiz is hitting .341 (29-for-85) with five homers and 19 RBI.
After four innings last night, the 2-3-4 trio of Edgar Renteria, Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were 9-for-9 with three home runs, five runs scored and five RBI. Renteria banged out four hits, ending up 10-for-12 in the Bronx series and 16-for-24, .667, on the road trip, raising his average from .239 to .295.
Renteria and Wells switched uniform numbers before the game. Edgar: "We were thinking about doing it and about three or four days ago [Wells] said, 'We'll do it.' I said, 'All right, that's my lucky number.'" ... Wells: "I was going bad, Edgar was going bad and Edgar wanted to swap. I wrote down a number and Edgar met it." ... According to Newsday, it was in the five-figure range.
Damon suggested Wells switch to No. 333, as did Theo Epstein, in an interview earlier this month: "There's a lot of white space there."
Boston handed Wells a 2-0 lead in the first inning and it took only 10 pitches for the portly portsider to cough it up. Derek Jeter and Gary Sheffield hit solo home runs (sandwiched around a fly out) and when Alex Rodriguez singled, things were looking bleak. But Wells got Jorge Posada to hit into an inning-ending double play, and he fell into a magnificent groove for the rest of the game.
Wells's pitch count for the next three innings: 4-8-7. It was that quick bottom of the second that was the game's turning point. Hideki Matsui, Bernie Williams and Russ Johnson all flew out on a total of four pitches. That meant Mussina, after having thrown 23 pitches, was forced to head back out to the mound. He surrendered solo home runs to Renteria and Ortiz to start the inning and the Red Sox never looked back.
Wells: "He was struggling. You want to go out and get a 1-2-3 and not give him a breather. You just try to suck the life right out of 'em." ... Mussina was gone after only three innings and 83 pitches. Wells threw 85 pitches in eight innings -- and finished with 94 (67 for strikes).
In the bottom of the ninth, after Wells allowed a one-out single to Sheffield, Terry Francona popped out of the dugout. I often criticize Tito for having a slow hook with his starters, but this time, I thought he was a little premature. With a five-run lead, I would have given Wells the chance to finish the game. Francona: "I didn't know if he was going to give [the ball] to me. I said, 'We can go fight later but you have to give it to me now.'"
As we saw this weekend, the Yankee pitchers are quite adept at putting runners on base. New York has allowed 13.41 runners per nine innings, better than only the Devil Rays (14.52) and Royals (13.80).
Bob Klapisch, Bergen Record:
If the weekend series taught the Bombers anything, it's the gulf that separates them from the Red Sox is still dishearteningly wide. In scoring 24 runs and 41 hits in the last two games, the Sox essentially told the Yankees: Welcome to last October. ... [Pavano and Mussina] threw what amounted to batting practice and erased a whole month's swagger.Ken Davidoff, Newsday:
[I]t became very easy to second-guess Joe Torre last night. He never should have lifted Billy Crystal, the game's ceremonial first-pitch honoree, for Mike Mussina. ... Our bet is, come July 14 at Fenway Park when these teams next meet, the Yankees will reside in second place in the American League East, behind the Red Sox; the Orioles will occupy their rightful, ordained spot in third place.Curt Schilling undergoes evaluations on his right ankle today. And although he hasn't pitched in five weeks, his ERA rose yesterday from 7.13 to 8.15. Back on April 18, Ramirez was charged with an error on a fly ball hit by Toronto's Orlando Hudson. After the Blue Jays appealed, MLB ruled the play a hit, changing two unearned runs to earned.
Last night marked Boston's league-leading 30th road game in 49 games. They come home for the Orioles and Angels, before heading to St. Louis. All three of those teams currently lead their respective divisions. Pitching the Baltimore (16-7 in April, 14-12 in May) series:
Monday: Bronson Arroyo (3.19) / Rodrigo Lopez (4.41), 7:00
Tuesday: Wade Miller (6.16) / Daniel Cabrera (5.30), 7:00
Wednesday: Tim Wakefield (4.48) / Sidney Ponson (5.66), 7:00
Thursday: Matt Clement (3.06) vs. Hayden Penn (1.93), 1:00