April 15, 2002
OK. Here we go! Red Sox vs. Yankees! How did this one turn out?
First off, if we look at the pitcher’s box, we see that Derek Lowe got the start. He finished up the previous season in the pen, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect from him as a starter. (We’d all get a much better idea of what he can do in a couple weeks.)
The first inning just shows how much even the Sox were unsure about his abilities. After Rickey Henderson led the game off with a hit against Andy Pettitte, the Red Sox bunted him over. They wanted to score a run as soon as they could. It worked, to an extent, since Garciaparra followed with a double to score Henderson. Of course, Henderson probably would have scored on a double from first base too. That led to an unusual stretch of batters. Ramirez got an intentional walk. Clark reached on an error, allowing Hillenbrand to force in a run with a walk. Then, look at Varitek. He singled with the bases loaded, but doesn’t seem to have an RBI noted in the box. The answer lies in Hillenbrand’s box. “3-u” Varitek’s batted ball hit Hillenbrand as he was running to second. When that happens, Varitek is awarded a hit, Hillenbrand is out, and the rest of the runners return to their bags. What an annoying turn of events. When Nixon popped up to end the inning, it was a huge opportunity wasted.
Thankfully, Lowe made those two runs stick as he held the Yankees to one run over his seven innings. Even a tough inning from Rich Garces wasn’t enough to let New York back into the game. Urbina wasn’t perfect, but he closed the door when he needed to.
The hero of the game? I have to give it to Hillenbrand. Even though he was unable to get out of the way of Varitek’s ball. He did drive in two runs, and scored another. His double in the fifth was especially key, since the Yanks had just cut the lead in half the previous inning. It gave the Sox the cushion they would need to win the game.
The goat? I’m going to give it to Ramirez, since he went hitless. Although, to be fair, he was intentionally walked twice in the game, which limited the damage he could do himself. You still want to see more from your clean-up hitter in a big game.
But it didn’t matter in the end. Derek Lowe pitched a gem. The offense did just enough, and the Sox prevailed.
And the scorecard shows how it happened.