While the raucous crowd at Yankee Stadium taunted Martinez with
booming chants of "Who's Your Daddy?" Lieber shut down the
highest-scoring offense in the major leagues.
A No. 5 starter pitching against a three-time Cy Young Award
winner, Lieber took a shutout into the eighth inning. John Olerud
backed him with a two-run homer in the sixth off the tiring
Martinez, and the Yankees beat the Red Sox 3-1 Wednesday night for
a 2-0 lead in their AL championship series rematch.
"I knew coming into this game what Pedro has done in the past
in situations like this, so there was no room for error," Lieber
He loves being under the radar, keeping a low profile, not
wanting to draw attention to himself. Like it or not, Martinez
can't avoid the spotlight. He had it before and it only grew larger
after a loss to the Yankees on Sept. 24 prompted him to say:
"Just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy. I can't find a
way to beat them at this point."
He insisted he doesn't mind the taunts that have followed that
"It actually made me feel really, really good. I actually
realized that I was somebody important because I got the attention
of 60,000 people," Martinez said. "Fifteen years ago I was
sitting under a mango tree without 50 cents to actually pay for a
bus. And today, I was the center of attention of the whole city of
New York. I thank God for that."
On this night, however, Lieber threw superior pitches, allowing
three hits in seven-plus innings. Even more remarkable, he's still
recovering from elbow surgery that sidelined him last season.
"He was as good as I've seen him all year," Yankees captain
Derek Jeter said.
"We'll regroup tomorrow," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.
"We really have no choice but to look forward to the next game."
Boston, which didn't get a runner on against Mike Mussina in the
opener until the seventh inning, is hitting just .224 (15-for-67)
in the first two games.
"I'll take responsibility for this ... 0-for-8 with five
strikeouts," leadoff man Johnny Damon said. "I'm the catalyst of
this team. I'm the guy on this team that gets us going, gets on
base and creates some havoc, but I haven't been able to do that."
After Orlando Cabrera singled leading off the third inning for
Boston's first hit, Lieber retired 13 straight batters before David
Ortiz singled in the seventh.
Working quickly, Lieber needed just 45 pitches to get through
five innings - Martinez threw 46 in the first two innings alone.
Lieber's biggest thorn was Damon, who kept fouling balls off before
lining to center in a 16-pitch at-bat with one out in the sixth.
"That was definitely one of the keys to this game," Lieber
Damon agreed it was a turning point.
"I actually felt if I got on base right there, we were going to
have a big inning," he said.
Mariano Rivera entered with a runner on third and two outs in the
eighth, just as he did Tuesday night when he jetted back from a
family funeral in Panama to preserve New York's 10-7 win.
Rivera threw a called third strike past Damon to escape trouble,
then finished the five-hitter for his second straight save and 32nd
in postseason play.
Boston headed home unsure of the status of ace Curt Schilling,
whose ailing right ankle might prevent him from starting Game 5 if
it's played. Martinez said he would pitch on short rest if needed.
"You feel good, but you don't feel too good," New York third
baseman Alex Rodriguez said. "We feel like everybody wrote us off
before this series started."
Back on the mound where he blew a 5-2 lead in the eighth inning
of last year's Game 7, Martinez once again tired against the team
that frustrates him most.
Pitching just a few miles from where Big Daddy and Daddy
Warbucks became famous names on Broadway, he dropped to 1-2 against
the Yankees in postseason play. During the regular season, Martinez
is 10-10 against New York and 172-66 against the rest of baseball.
"To beat him when he had his stuff like this, it really gives
us a lot of confidence," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
New York, which took a 2-0 lead against Martinez after four
pitches in his previous outing at Yankee Stadium last month, went
ahead after 10 this time.
Martinez walked Jeter on four pitches and threw a breaking ball
out of the strike zone as Jeter stole second. Martinez nicked
Rodriguez on the hand with the count 2-2, and Gary Sheffield
singled to center on the next pitch, with Jeter scoring easily
ahead of Damon's weak throw.
Martinez struck out Sheffield on a 95 mph pitch in the fifth
inning, but he tired in the sixth, when he walked Posada with one
out. He got ahead 1-2 in the count against Olerud, who was signed
Aug. 3 for the discount price of $100,000 after Seattle released
him from a $7.7 million deal.
Olerud sent a high pitch -- Martinez's 106th -- over the middle of
the plate just over the right-field wall for the ninth postseason
homer of his career. The crowd of 56,136 chanted "Who's Your
Daddy?" long and loud.
"It ranks right up there," Olerud said, when asked if it was
his biggest hit. "It's definitely the freshest in my mind."
Boston has lost nine of its last 10 Game 2s in the
postseason. New York has won five straight Game 2s. ... The Yankees
haven't lost a best-of-seven series after taking a 2-0 lead since
the Los Angeles Dodgers beat them 4-2 in the 1981 World Series.