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After Pedro-Mussina duel, Yanks win on error

7/7/2003

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

Todd Walker booted Curtis Pride's bases-loaded grounder in the
ninth inning, 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 AL East lead to four games over Boston.

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

"I don't know what was going through his mind, but if it's what
it looked like, it's not good," Steinbrenner said. "It's not good
for his team, not good for baseball. ... Fortunately, both of our
men are OK."

Hideki Matsui and Karim Garcia singled off Kim (2-2) 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 corralled the ball with two 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. It just slipped out of my glove. It was
a tough way to lose."

Pride, who is almost totally deaf, homered in his Yankees debut
Sunday for his first longball in more than two years. He had been
out of the majors since 2001 before being called up by the Yankees
on Friday.

Mariano Rivera (3-0) pitched a scoreless ninth for the victory
as the Yankees shut down Boston's big offense for the second
straight day after getting blown out in the first two games of the
series.

"I think it's important. I hope it says a lot about us," Torre
said. "Moose kept us right there. After the first two games, we
were reeling a little bit, but we had two great games pitched for
us."

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 RBI 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 inning.
The ball appeared to glance off Soriano's hand, but plate umpire Ed
Montague ruled Soriano swung for a strike.

Martinez said he didn't mean to hit Soriano.

"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. You've got to give him a lot of credit. When you throw
inside, you're going to hit guys sometimes. I don't try to hit
anybody, it was just an accident."

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

Jeter immediately yanked his hand away in pain. He bent over as
he was attended to by a trainer and Torre, but stayed in the game
until the third.

X-rays on Jeter and Soriano were negative, and both were
day-to-day with bone bruises.

Their departures left the Yankees with a makeshift infield --
Ventura at second base for the first time in his 15-year career.
But in a tight ballgame with pennant-race implications, Mussina
never retaliated.

"It was a situation that was pretty delicate," Mussina said.
"I think if I go inside to somebody, the umpire's going to warn
both benches. I didn't want to lose half the plate. It's a tough
spot. You try to do what's right. I'm not sure what anybody was
thinking, but I felt I had to get guys out."

Kim relieved Martinez and got a loud ovation from 55,016 fans
who remember the two game-tying homers and one game-winning shot he
gave up to the Yankees with Arizona during the 2001 World Series.
Kim got through the eighth before faltering in the ninth.

"It's kind of hard to say if they have my number," Kim said
through an interpreter.

Mussina allowed two hits in eight innings, striking out nine.
Martinez gave up one run and five hits, walking none.

Jason Giambi's RBI single in the sixth tied it at 1.

Game notes
It was Martinez's third double-digit strikeout game this
season and the 90th of his career. ... It was the seventh
consecutive sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium. ... The series drew
220,026 fans, the largest turnout for a four-game set in the
28-year history of remodeled Yankee Stadium. The previous mark was
214,510 in September 1985 against Toronto.