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AL: Boot gives Yanks draw

By Associated Press
Published July 8, 2003

NEW YORK - Pedro Martinez and Mike Mussina matched each other pitch for pitch, so the Yankees just waited for a fortunate bounce.

Todd Walker booted Curtis Pride's bases-loaded grounder in the ninth, giving New York a 2-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Monday and a split of their four-game series.

"If there's a blueprint for beating Pedro, that's the blueprint. Keep it close and hope for a break," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He doesn't give you much."

Martinez and Mussina locked up in a marquee matchup that lived up to its billing, and Red Sox reliever Byung-Hyun Kim had another forgettable day at Yankee Stadium.

New York won without Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano, who left early after bruising their hands on high-and-tight pitches from Martinez, and increased its East lead to four games over Boston.

Hideki Matsui and Karim Garcia singled off Kim to start the ninth. Pinch-hitter Jorge Posada was hit by a pitch, loading the bases, and Robin Ventura struck out.

With the infield drawn in, Pride hit a grounder to second base that knocked Walker's glove off as he tried to backhand it. By the time Walker corraled the ball with his bare hands it was too late, and his high throw to the plate had no chance to get Matsui.

"It was a short hop," said Walker, who was charged with an error. "Infield in cuts down your reaction time. It was a play that should have been made."

Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth for the victory as the Yankees shut down Boston's big offense for the second straight game after getting blown out in the first two.

"I think it's important. I hope it says a lot about us," Torre said.

Pitching inside all day, Martinez struck out 11 in seven sharp innings. But Mussina was just as good, retiring 21 in a row after Manny Ramirez's run-scoring double in the first.

Soriano, New York's leadoff hitter and All-Star second baseman, injured his left hand on a pitch from Martinez in the first. The ball appeared to glance off Soriano's hand, but plate umpire Ed Montague ruled Soriano swung for a strike.

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner thought Martinez was coming up and in on purpose.

"Are you crazy? The guy's right on top of the plate," Martinez said. "The only way you're going to get Soriano out is inside. He hits curveballs, he hits changeups, he leans over the plate. He's that good."

Soriano remained in the game and struck out. Jeter, the next batter, was hit on the right hand by a 1-and-2 pitch, drawing boos.

Jeter yanked his hand away in pain. He stayed in the game until the third.

[Last modified July 8, 2003, 01:33:13]


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