Live Blogging The Sox-Yanks Finale

Retro Rocket
Clemens fuels Yankees past punchless Sox

By Gordon Edes
Boston Globe Staff | August 30, 2007

NEW YORK -- The lead is down to a still-comfortable six games, and unless Curt Schilling can offer some vintage Schilling this afternoon the way Roger Clemens gave the Yankees some retro Rocket last night, it might be five before the Red Sox head home after their longest trip of the season.

A sweep by the Yankees, a plausible scenario after the Bombers made it two in a row with a 4-3 win last night, might be the least of the Sox' worries, although for fans with a masochistic bent, it may conjure flashbacks of '78, when the Sox also held a seven-game lead with 30 to go and saw it vanish in a span of 10 days.

Of even greater concern to the Sox than watching the Yankees beat their best two pitchers, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett, on successive nights is the absence of Manny Ramírez, who last night was diagnosed with a strained left oblique (side) muscle that is likely to sideline him for "multiple days," in the words of manager Terry Francona.

"That's one of your thunder [sic]," said David Ortiz, who interrupted a Clemens no-hitter in progress with a home run into the third deck with one out in the sixth inning. "So when your cleanup hitter goes down like that, it doesn't matter how much of a lead you have, it's hard to replace a cleanup hitter."

Ramírez, in a rare comment to a media member, was quoted in the Associated Press last night as saying "maybe a week" when asked how long he thought he might be out. "You watch that replay," catcher Jason Varitek said, referring to Ramírez's last at-bat Tuesday night when he aggravated the condition, "he buckles pretty good. We'll have to see. We're not going to panic before it happens."

The Sox were down two players when last night's game began, as outfielder Bobby Kielty was sent for X-rays and an MRI, then sent back to the hotel, his back still too sore to allow him to play even though the tests showed no structural damage, according to the manager. Kielty is listed as day to day, clearly an uncertain candidate to play this afternoon.

"That's not really an excuse," Varitek said. "We've found different ways to win all year. You can't replace Manny in the lineup, but that's no excuse."

Ramirez watched from the dugout, a welcome sight for Alex Rodriguez, whose seventh-inning home run off Beckett, his 44th of the season, gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead and ultimately furnished the margin of victory when Kevin Youkilis countered with a two-run home run off reliever Kyle Farnsworth in the eighth.

"I hope he's out for all of September," Rodriguez said playfully. "That would be great. Manny is a good friend, but it's kind of nice to see him sitting on the bench with a lot of my other good friends."

Some boffo Beckett, who was 9-1 with a 1.90 ERA on the road this season and bidding to add to his major league-leading total of 16 wins, would have gone a long way toward balancing the loss of Ramírez. But while the 45-year-old Clemens, who surprised the Sox by throwing, as Varitek noted, with "more power than we had seen on tape," danced around the five walks he issued by holding the Sox hitless until the sixth, Beckett was buffeted for a career-high 13 hits.

Four of those hits, all singles, plus a walk, came in the second, when the Yankees took a 3-0 lead. In the middle of the rally was Johnny Damon, who beat the Sox with a two-run home run Tuesday night and last night delivered a two-run single in what Varitek acknowledged was a "nice piece of hitting."

"Johnny has been hurt all summer," Ortiz said, "but everybody knows what kind of player Johnny is. Everybody knows Johnny is one player you want up there at the right time."

Beckett still has all the Clemens baseball cards he collected growing up in Spring, Texas, when he was known as "Kid Heat" and yearned to follow in the footsteps of his heroes, fellow Texans Nolan Ryan and the Rocket. "I have several pages of them," Beckett said. "My grandfather has them in a box at home."

Last night, Beckett faced Clemens for the first time, and while the grownup Kid showed as much heart as heat, avoiding major damage despite putting base runners on in every inning, in the end he was no match for the Rocket.

Try as they might, the Yankees could not crack Beckett. He gave up a triple to Hideki Matsui in the third, but struck out Jorge Posada and Jason Giambi to leave him at third. The Yankees loaded the bases in the sixth on three singles, but Beckett retired Damon on a roller to first, just beating Damon in a footrace to the bag.

The last Yankee hit off Beckett was the one that counted most, Rodriguez adding to his MVP résumé by lining a Beckett curveball into the left-field seats.

"He guessed right and hit it," Varitek said. "We knew that. He took a gamble and won that one."

And the Yankees creep ever closer.

"You know, this series doesn't make me worry about things," Ortiz said. "What makes me worry is how we keep on rolling this month. We've got to keep playing. We had a good road trip.

"We all knew what kind of players [the Yankees] are. Even when their guys were struggling, I knew it wasn't going to be like that year round. Dude, they got talent. They got talent all over the place."

And a 45-year-old wonder who somehow turned back the clock one more time.

"I'll tell you what," Ortiz said. "Man, at that age, I'll be cutting grass in my backyard."

© Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

13:21 First hit of the ballgame. Derek Jeter singles off of Curt Schilling, who is 5-0 when starting after a Red Sox loss this season.

13:24 While Joe Girardi comments on the color of Manny's sunglasses (Manny is not playing for the next few games), Curt seems to be OK today. It's early, but he is not falling behind in the counts. 2 out.

13:27 A-Rod strikes out looking. End of the first.

13:32 Lowell grounds into a 5-4-3 double-play. How did Giambi stay on the bag for the second out? When Giambi is playing good defense, you know you are in for a tough game.

13:36 Bottom of the second. Johnny Damon's replacement catches a deep fly ball and makes it look easy.

13:40 Posada strikes out. Third strikeout for Schilling today.

13:42 Steroids flies out. End of the second. No wingnut moments from the YES broadcasting team so far. Just wait. Schilling's pitch count is on-pace to last 7 full innings. But the Sox need to score first in this game. Schilling needs runs to protect.

13:46 Wang walks Varitek. A good start. But last night, walks got us nowhere. And a walk last inning led to a double play.

13:48 A bad catch by Posada, but Varitek does not run to second.

13:50 Alex Cora flies out to Damon in left. Two gone.

13:53 Joe Girardi mentions that the 2006 Sox offense is not as deep as the 2004 team. Correct. He gives us respect for building the best pitching staff in the majors.

13:54 Dustin grounds out to a diving Giambi. Jeezus. Giambi is all over the ball today.

13:54 Glenhoffmania on Sons of Sam Horn: "Wisdom from [Michael] Kay: When you take Manny and Lugo out of the lineup, it's not as deep as it usually is."

13:55 TFisNEXT on SOSH: "that fat sweaty 'roided up fuckhead pulls another defensive play out of his ass."

13:57 Bottom of the third. Robinson Cano hits a solo HR off the center field wall. 1-0 Yankees. Dammit.

13:59 Coco makes a sliding catch after a running start. Beeeeeutiful. And he did it backhanded. Web gem.

14:00 The Sox have not had a lead in this series. They sure know how to make these games infuriating. They sweep Chicago and now they can't beat-up the Yankees. Just one win is all they need to keep the heat off them, and they are not winning.

14:03 A-Rod pops out to Dustin. Curt Schilling's pitch count is up to 39. He faced 6 batters this inning and threw just 10 pitches! Let's see if he remains calm and doesn't give-up another run through the next two innings. If he can do that, then this game is in the hands of our feeble offense.

14:14 Sox go in-order in the fourth. They still don't have a hit. My god.

14:20 Morassofnegativity on SOSH: "That's it! I can't do this shit anymore. They've become one of those pathetic teams that rolls over and dies against the Yankees. They don't deserve to win the division."

14:21 Yankees go in-order in the fourth. Good work, Curt. Just 11 more pitches! But he can't hold out much longer, can he?

14:22 This is scary. We can't hit against our arch rivals.

14:23 Top of the fifth. Drew grounds out. Yawn. Can't expect a damn thing from him.

14:27 Varitek walks again. The fourth walk issued by Wang. We need consecutive walks in order to score today.

14:29 Hinske strikes out. Should we be thankful it wasn't a double play? Two out.

14:31 Cora flies out. This game seems like a lost cause. Schilling, Varitek, and Coco have been doing their jobs. Everyone else has been awful.

14:35 Bottom of the fifth. Robinson Cano hits a second solo home run off of Curt Schilling. That's all folks. I will keep blogging, but this game is lost unless something wakes-up this Red Sox lineup.

14:38 As Damon grounds into a 5-3 DP, I see that Cano had a curtain call? If that is true then Yankee stadium really is hell. Curtain calls for mid-game solo home runs are just shit. Granted, it was Cano's 16th HR, his new career high. But think about that. A curtain call for Robinson Cano in the middle of a Yankee home game? What kinds of fans ARE these?

14:40 Derek Jeter singles for the third time this afternoon. They have all be bloopers.

14:42 Joe Girardi comments that Schilling should not be tired at this point. But he is.

14:43 Bobby Abreu flies deep to left, but Hinske catches it with his back to the wall. End of the fifth.

14::52 Ortiz strikes-out to end the top of the sixth. Still no hits for the Sox. Michael Kay tells YES viewers to call friends and family to alert them of a possible Yankee no-hitter. Someone sedate me.

14:55 Smiling Joe Hesketh on SOSH: "it's a no-hitter through 6. The thing about this team is that every time I think they've reached utter rock bottom with dogshit games, they go out and top it. Today is shaping up to be an epic kick in the balls."

14:59 Schilling cruises through the bottom of the sixth. As far as I'm concerned, the next frame is the last chance for the Sox. If they can't break the no-hitter now, then this will be a sad day in Red Sox history.

15:02 Top of the seventh. Wang is up to 90 pitches. Here is Kevin Youkilis at bat for the Sox...

15:04 Giambi misses the tag as Youkie grounds one in the infield and reaches the bag! Recorded as an error on Giambi.

15:05 Mike Lowell singles. The no-hitter is broken!

15:06 Now let's see how Wang can handle his first serious threat of the game. Oh wait, it's JD Drew at the plate.

15:08 Drew grounds one, but only he is out at first. Youkilis was not tagged on his way to third, although he ran on the grass infield. He should have been called out. Umpires discuss....

15:09 Youkilis is called out. It is the correct call.

15:11 Tito argues the reversal. He will probably be ejected...he's gone. Lowell remains on second. Two out.

15:14 Varitek strikes out. The Sox rally will not happen.

15:15 Drocca on SOSH: "We got a hit. Somehow I think that will be the only positive note from this game, maybe this entire series. 25 men will be corking champagne and slapping high fives after the game frantically screaming, "We got a hit, We got a hit". Congratulations guys."

15:18 Napkin on SOSH: "They still get to go for ice cream after the game though, right?"

15:24 Another 1-2-3 inning for Schilling. He has retired 7 Yankees in a row. What a waste.

15:26 Top of the eighth. Joba Chamberlain says a prayer and takes-over the mound for the Yankees. We have waited for this moment. Joba the Hut has arrived. The bleachers chant "Ja-ba...Ja-ba...Ja-ba."

15:29 Hinske flies out.

15:29 Alex Cora grounds out to A-Rod. This game is just about over.

15:31 Dustin Pedroia doubles with two outs.

15:31 Coco Crisp arrives at the plate. If he gets on, David Ortiz is next. This is the last chance for the Sox. This inning with two outs.

15:33 Coco hits a dribbler down the right field line. An easy out. That's it. That's all.

15:35 Caspir on SOSH: "Game's over, swept. How very embarrassing, yet familiar."

15:37 Bottom of the eighth. First wingnut comment from Michael Kay. A recycled sound byte that I think Suzyn Waldman first uttered earlier this season. "Many people in Boston thought that the only reason the Sox signed Okijima was for Daisuke Matzusaka to have someone to hang out with." Which people, Mike? Not in Boston.

15:39 Derek Jeter is 4-4. Yup. Another bloop single.

15:44 Bobby Abreu doubles. Jeter scores. The game was already out of reach. This is just sad to watch, regardless. Mariano Rivera is not warming-up. Joba is selected to close the game.

15:48 This is quite a week isn't it? We sweep the White Sox and think the AL East is secure. We go to the Crack House and both our home field advantage and our AL East lead fall back into question.

15:51 It just went from worse to catastrophic. A throwing error by Varitek to third leads to two Yankee runs. Abreu and A-Rod score. It is now 5-0 Yankees.

15:56 Kyle Snyder takes-over the mound for the Sox to get the final out of the top of the eighth. September 1st can't come soon enough.

16:03 Top of the ninth. One out. Joba throws two consecutive fastballs over Kevin Youkilis' head. And he's ejected! Wow. No warning. What the hell provoked that anyway? That was so weird.

16:03 "Joba you fucking cunt!" - Josh Beckett. Easy to read those lips.

16:07 Edwar Ramirez comes to the mound to get the final two outs. So Joba won't get his first save against the Sox. If the score were still 2-0, I'd say the Sox would have a chance to rally back.

16:13 JD Drew (how fitting) pops out. That's the ballgame. Wow. Just wow. The Red Sox were simply terrible. If they had won 1 of these 3 games, they would have held their big lead. Had they won 2 games, they would have locked the AL East. Now they have the Yankees just 5 games behind them again. And they only scored 5 runs in these games. Pathetic.

Someone at SOSH suggested giving this song a listen. Rod Stewart is a slimeball, but here goes anyway:

mother don't you recognize your son

coming home, yeah yeah
getting home, 'cause I failed you, mother

I'll be there in the mornin'
if you have me back
the rent up here is much too high
for a room without a tap
a room without a tap

I'll be early in the morning
and I'll find my way back home
back home bad 'n' ruin
with my tail between my legs
tail between my legs
and I'll be so tired
I'll be so tired, now listen

I'll be early tomorrow morning
and I'll fall down off my plane
don't be embarrassed mother
by your ugly worn-out son
your ugly worn-out son

so just let me warn you
mother, you won't recognize me now
mother, you won't recognize me now
mother, you won't recognize me now

and I'll be down on Cannon street
passport in my hand
should you could not recognize me
I've heavily made-up eyes

momma, you won't recognize me now
brother, you won't recognize me now
hello there
sister, you won't recognize me now
mother, you won't recognize me now

so mother when you've seen me
don't forget I'm your boy too
I know my brother has done you proud
he's one foot in the grave
mother don't you recognize me now

I'm a burglar in the first degree
but it don't seem to worry me
I'll be so tired, so tired
I'll be so tired, so tired
so tired

Sox get Bronx broom treatment
08/30/2007 4:14 PM ET
By Ian Browne /

NEW YORK -- Even at the age of 40, Red Sox right-hander Curt Schilling still relishes the opportunity to play the role of stopper. A big-game pitcher throughout his career, Schilling again stepped up on Thursday afternoon against the Yankees. It just turns out that his fine effort wasn't quite enough.

Two mistakes -- both of which were put over the wall for solo homers by Robinson Cano -- were all it took for Schilling and the Red Sox to come up on the short end of a 5-0 loss. This is because Chien-Ming Wang was even better for the Yankees, holding the Red Sox hitless for six innings and allowing just one hit for the entirety of his seven innings.

By getting swept in this three-game series in the Bronx, Boston's lead in the American League East has been cut to five games by the Yankees. The teams meet again at Fenway Park for a three-game series that starts on Sept. 14.

Whether it is the loss of star cleanup man Manny Ramirez (strained left oblique) or simply running into hot Yankees pitchers, the Boston bats came up dry throughout this series. After scoring 46 runs in four games at Chicago, the Red Sox produced just six runs in New York.

Schilling held the Yankees to six hits and two runs over seven innings, walking one and striking out four. Both of Cano's homers -- one in the third and the other in the fifth -- were hit to left-center.

With Wang positively stifling the Red Sox, those long balls proved to be all the difference.

The Red Sox snapped the right-hander's no-hit bid when Mike Lowell rifled a single to right with one out in the seventh. Perhaps Wang's momentum was altered when Kevin Youkilis opened the inning by reaching on a Derek Jeter throwing error. J.D. Drew then tapped a grounder to third that wound up sparking controversy. Alex Rodriguez missed the tag on Youkilis and then narrowly threw Drew out at first.

Though Youkilis went out of the baseline, the umpires initially called him safe. After an argument by Yankees manager Joe Torre, the call was overturned. Red Sox manager Terry Francona was not pleased with the reversal and was ejected by crew chief Derryl Cousins. Jason Varitek struck out to end the first rally the Red Sox had all day.