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Red Sox 4 @ Yankees 2

Friday July 19, 2002

Mussina L12-4 | 8IP | 5H | 2ER | 1BB | 4K | 4.40ERA

NEW YORK (AP) -- Once the rain finally subsided, Pedro Martinez stopped the New York Yankees before they ever really got started.

Martinez outpitched Mike Mussina in a marquee matchup that lived up to its billing, sending the Boston Red Sox over New York 4-2 Friday night in the opener of a big three-game series.

"I tell you what, it was vintage Pedro and Mussina out there,'' Boston manager Grady Little said. "We were fortunate to come out on top. Pedro was outstanding. Either pitcher deserved to win that game.''

Shea Hillenbrand had two RBIs, and Nomar Garciaparra drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly foulout to first baseman Nick Johnson -- undercut by second baseman Alfonso Soriano near the tarp.

Boston beat the Yankees for the eighth time in 12 meetings this season and cut its deficit in the AL East to two games.

"It's really important because this is the team we're chasing,'' Martinez said. "Every win we can get against these guys is huge. It sets the tone for the rest of the games.''

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada made a key throwing error and struck out four times -- stranding the potential tying run on third in the eighth.

"It was one of those beautiful nights,'' Posada said sarcastically. "Pedro was tough all night. You try to get a better at-bat, but he was on.''

The Red Sox have won four straight following a four-game skid. New York lost for just the fifth time in 16 games.

Nearly the entire sellout crowd of 55,510 waited through a rain delay of 2 hours, 17 minutes, at the start. Flashbulbs popped with the first pitch, but Martinez (12-2) quickly quieted the fired-up fans by fooling one Yankees slugger after another.

"This is the way it's supposed to be,'' Martinez said. "I don't expect any less from New York. For me, this is exactly what I dream of -- full stadium, 60,000 people and the pressure is on. I like it. I don't expect anybody to be nice to me out there.''

Throwing as hard as he has all season, the right-hander struck out nine to increase his AL-leading total to 158. He gave up two runs and five hits over 7 1/3 innings. Martinez walked three, hit Robin Ventura with a pitch twice and was lifted after throwing 114 pitches.

"This guy is about 170 pounds of pure heart out there,'' Little said. "There haven't been many pitchers like Pedro Martinez in the game of baseball.''

Playing without right fielder Raul Mondesi, hospitalized overnight because of shortness of breath and released Friday, the Yankees broke through as Martinez tired in the eighth. Derek Jeter walked with one out, and Jason Giambi reached on an infield single up the third-base line against an overshifted defense.

Bernie Williams' RBI double chased Martinez, and Ventura added a run-scoring groundout off reliever Chris Haney to cut it to 3-2.

But Ugueth Urbina fanned Posada to end the inning, shouting with enthusiasm as he walked to the dugout. Urbina finished for his 24th save in 26 chances. He has saved five of Boston's eight victories against the Yankees this season.

Mussina (12-4) gave up three runs -- two earned -- and five hits in eight innings, snapping a five-start winning streak against the Red Sox. He is 3-1 against Boston this season, and had won four consecutive decisions overall.

"I thought he matched Pedro,'' New York manager Joe Torre said. "Moose rose to the occasion tonight. I was very pleased.''

Jason Varitek tripled off Steve Karsay and scored on Hillenbrand's RBI single in the ninth.

Trot Nixon doubled leading off the eighth. Jose Offerman sacrificed, and Posada threw the ball away for a run-scoring error on an ill-advised attempt to get Nixon at third, making it 3-0.

Hillenbrand hit a two-out RBI double in the seventh for a 2-0 lead.

Martinez struck out the side in the fifth to work around Shane Spencer's two-out double. He pumped his first when he got Giambi to ground into a 3-6-3 double play in the sixth, and again when he fanned Posada with two runners on to end the inning.

"I thought that was one of the biggest plays of the game,'' Little said of the double play.

Posada is 4-for-37 with 25 strikeouts against Martinez, who has won five decisions in a row.

Game notes
Boston is 43-8 when scoring first. ... Martinez, RHP Derek Lowe and RHP John Burkett are a combined 31-3 against the AL. ... Varitek was 1-for-23 against Mussina before a fifth-inning single. ... Plate umpire Kerwin Danley first ruled Martinez did not hit Ventura on the foot with a pitch in the sixth, then awarded him first base after checking the baseball, apparently for shoe polish. ... Mondesi was expected to rejoin the Yankees on Saturday.


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