The Yankees were three outs away from returing to the World Serious. But the Red Sox were not about to go down without a fight. For the second time this October, and only the fourth time in his career, Mariano Rivera blew a save. After pitching a scoreless eighth inning, Rivera walked Kevin Millar on five pitches to start the ninth. Dave Roberts pinch-ran for Millar and Rivera threw to first base three times before throwing another pitch. No matter, Roberts broke for second on Rivera’s first pitch to Bill Mueller and safely swiped second base. The throw from Jorge Posada was on the third base side of the bag; a perfect throw may have gotten him. Mueller then knocked a single to center and the game was tied at four. Rivera would work out of a bases-loaded jam, but after scratching together two runs on softly hit ground balls against Mike Timlin in the sixth inning, the Yankee offense was shut-down by Boston’s bullpen. They had their opportunities (Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams both were unable to get a key two-out hit with the bases juiced). Finally, David Ortiz ended it with a two-run dinger off of Paul Quantrill in the bottom of the 12th.
Wake up the kids, the Red Sox refused to go out like chumps. It was a tough loss for the Yankees. Fortunately, they had a three-game cushion. That’s about the only good thing about it. Game Five is start late this afternoon at Fenway Park. Pedro Martinez will go against Mike Mussina. Should Boston manage to win, the series will return to New York, where anything can still happen.