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Baseball: AL playoffs

Daddy knows best

YANKS 3, RED SOX 1: N.Y. beats Pedro again to take a 2-0 lead in the ALCS.

By MARC TOPKIN
Published October 14, 2004

NEW YORK - The Yankees enjoyed Father's Day Wednesday.

Facing Pedro Martinez for the first time since he called them his "daddy," the Yankees reinforced the message that father knows best with a 3-1 victory that gave them a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series. Game 3 is Friday in Boston.

Martinez didn't pitch badly, allowing three runs on four hits over six innings, but he didn't pitch well enough as his usually high-scoring teammates were being shut down for the second straight night.

"I can't say I'm disappointed, but those aren't the results I wanted," Martinez said. "I can't do anything if we don't score runs."

After two games, the difference has been starting pitching. But what's different is that the Yankees are the ones holding the aces.

Boston's Curt Schilling struggled in Game 1 and might not be able to pitch again due to a recurring ankle injury that will require surgery. And Martinez paid for the mistakes he made, a leadoff walk that led to a first-inning run and a misplaced two-strike fastball that John Olerud turned into two more.

Meanwhile, New York's Mike Mussina took a perfect game into the seventh inning Tuesday, and Jon Lieber allowed three hits during seven-plus innings Wednesday, retiring 13 straight in one stretch, including a 16-pitch at-bat against Johnny Damon that ended in a lineout to centerfield.

"It was the best-case scenario," Yankees centerfielder Bernie Williams said. "We beat their best two pitchers and we go to Boston with a lot more confidence. But we can never let our guard down."

Martinez has had his problems with the Yankees, going 1-2 in four regular-season starts this season and failing to win in three postseason starts against them. Overall, in regular- and postseason games, he is 10-12 against the Yankees and 177-65 against everyone else.

It was after a Sept. 24 loss that Martinez, obviously frustrated, issued what has become a defining line, saying he was so tired of losing to the Yankees that "all I can do is tip my cap and call the Yankees my daddy."

He heard plenty about it Wednesday from the Yankee Stadium fans, who started serenading him with chants of "Who's Your Daddy?" as soon as he went to bullpen to warm up, and kept it up for most of his six innings, occasionally mixing in a few sing-songy verses of "PAY-dro, PAY-dro."

Martinez's reaction?

"It actually made me feel really, really good," he said. "I realized I was somebody important, because I caught the attention of 60,000 people, plus the whole world watching. If you reverse the time back 15 years ago and I was that guy in the Dominican sitting under a mango tree without 50 cents in my pocket to actually pay for a bus.

"And tonight I was the center of attention in the whole city of New York. I don't regret one bit what they do out there. I respect them and I actually kind of like it."

The Yankees took a 3-0 lead, getting a first-inning run when Derek Jeter walked, stole second and scored on Gary Sheffield's single, and two more in the sixth when Olerud, who had been cast off by Seattle, drilled a two-run homer over the rightfield wall.

The Sox, as seems to be a pattern, came back late to make things interesting. They scored one in the eighth and had a chance for more, but Mariano Rivera came on to strike out Damon, who is 0-for-8 with five strikeouts. Rivera finished the job again in the ninth after Manny Ramirez's one-out double, striking out David Ortiz - one pitch after a long foul - and Kevin Millar.

Somehow, they remain confident with the next three games at Fenway Park.

"The unbelievable thing about our team is that we're upbeat," Damon said. "We know we're in a hole, but even idiots know how to get out of a hole. We know we have to battle."

[Last modified October 14, 2004, 01:33:08]


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