Lieber, Olerud combine to give Yanks a 2-0 lead

Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2004


  Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz walks off the field after being doubled up at second base against the New York Yankees during game 2 of the ALCS between the Yankees and the Red Sox Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2004 in New York AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz walks off the field after being doubled up at second base against the New York Yankees during game 2 of the ALCS between the Yankees and the Red Sox Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2004 in New York

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

NEW YORK Pedro Martinez has a new ''Daddy.'' His name is Jon Lieber.

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.

''These two games were huge, especially tonight,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

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.

Lieber needed just 45 pitches to get through five innings Martinez threw 46 in the first two innings alone. Lieber's biggest thorn was leadoff man Johnny Damon, who kept fouling balls off before lining to center in a 16-pitch at-bat with one out in the sixth.

''He pounded the strike zone down,'' Boston manager Terry Francona said.

Boston had seen Lieber recently. On Sept. 18, he took a no-hit bid against the Red Sox into the seventh inning.

''That makes it doubly impressive,'' Torre said of his right-hander who had major elbow surgery in August 2002.

After Trot Nixon singled leading off the eighth, Tom Gordon came in and allowed Jason Varitek's double and Cabrera's RBI grounder.

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 opening win.

Rivera shattered Damon's bat on a foul ball, threw a called third strike past him to escape trouble, then finished the five-hitter for his second straight save and 32nd in postseason play.

After a day off, the series resumes Friday at Fenway Park, with Kevin Brown pitching for the Yankees against Bronson Arroyo. 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 needed.

In last year's series, the teams split the first two games in New York. The pattern this year resembles 1999, when the Yankees won the first two games at home and took the series 4-1.

Back on the mound where he had a meltdown in the eighth inning of last year's Game 7, Martinez once again tired against the team that frustrates him most. After a Sept. 24 loss the Yankees at Fenway Park, he uttered the bizarre sentence: ''What can I say just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy. I can't find a way to beat them at this point.''

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,'' 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.

After the crowd chanted during his warmups, Martinez walked Derek Jeter on four pitches and threw a breaking ball out of the strike zone as Jeter stole second, prompting Cabrera, the shortstop, to come to the mound for a few words.

Martinez nicked Alex 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.

That was all the Yankees got then, with Martinez recovering to throw called third strikes past Hideki Matsui and Bernie Williams before retiring Jorge Posada on a grounder.

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.

''It's definitely hard when you get released,'' Olerud said. ''I was hoping that I'd get another opportunity to play.''

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.

At the end of the inning, Martinez walked to the third-base dugout, repeatedly kicking the steps, knocking the dirt out of his spikes.

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.

Notes: 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.

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