Red Sox may have to face rest of playoffs without staff ace
Posted: Thursday October 07, 1999 02:19 AM
Cleveland's Travis Fryman is mobbed by teammates after his bases-loaded single in the ninth to beat the Red Sox. AP
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Pedro Martinez is hurting, and now that the Indians have finally won a Game 1, so are the Boston Red Sox.
Travis Fryman's RBI single with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Cleveland a 3-2 win Wednesday night over the Red Sox, who may have lost their ace Martinez for the remainder of the AL playoffs.
The Indians had lost eight straight series opening games, dating back to the division series against Boston in 1995 before Fryman's clutch bases-loaded base hit.
"This win was huge," Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel said. "Because it puts pressure on them. A lot of pressure."
Martinez, baseball's most dominant pitcher this season, strained a back muscle and had to leave the game after the fourth inning. He is listed as day-to-day and Boston manager Jimy Williams said the right-hander would be re-examined Thursday.
"We got a break with Pedro getting hurt," said Fryman, who was sidelined most of the season with a serious knee injury.
"Anytime you face Pedro, he's tough. He's the best pitcher I ever faced. You look up there in the sixth inning and you don't see him out there, it gives you a little pick-me-up."
The Red Sox, who had counted on Martinez giving them the lead in the series, will turn to Bret Saberhagen in Game 2 Thursday against Charles Nagy.
Martinez said he injured his back while striking out Jim Thome to open the fourth.
"I'm a quick healer," said Martinez, who went 23-4 this season. "This team can do it with me or without me. Don't scare our fans, I'll be back in the house."
Indians starter Bartolo Colon struck out a season-high 11 in eight innings, and Paul Shuey picked up the win with a perfect ninth.
Thome hit a game-tying two-run homer off Derek Lowe in the sixth for the Indians, who also got spectacular defensive plays from David Justice, Roberto Alomar and Vizquel.
Nomar Garciaparra homered for the Red Sox, who despite dominating the regular-season series against Cleveland have now lost four straight playoff games to the Indians.
"Throughout the year we've won when Pedro is not on the mound," Garciaparra said. "I don't think anybody's heads are down."
Lowe, who replaced Martinez, got the loss. He hit Manny Ramirez in the back to open the ninth, and Rheal Cormier relieved. One out later, pinch-hitter Wil Cordero singled to right in his first career postseason at-bat.
Pinch-hitter Richie Sexson, who had 116 RBIs this season, was walked on four pitches by Rich Garces. Fryman, on the DL twice this year with a torn ligament in his right knee, then slapped a 1-2 pitch to left for the game-winner.
Fryman, who could hardly walk a month ago, was mobbed by his teammates as he rounded first.
Mike Stanley had three of Boston's five hits and Garciaparra had the other two.
Martinez, 5-0 in his career against Indians, including a win in Game 1 of the '98 division series, had little trouble with Cleveland's lineup in the first four innings.
He allowed three hits and twice retired Ramirez, the majors' RBI leader, to end an inning with a runner in scoring position.
In the fourth, he retired David Justice on a grounder to the right side, covering first on the play for the putout. He appeared to be OK as he left the field, but when Boston manager Jimy Williams called Boston's bullpen to get Lowe throwing, it was obvious Martinez was coming out.
"We were excited," Thome said. "Pedro was pitching a real good game. 'To get him out of the game like that, it livened us up."
But as tough as Martinez had been on the Indians this year, Lowe was just as nasty.
Cleveland was just 1-for-30 against the right-hander with Roberto Alomar's single in an April 24 giving the Indians their only baserunner.
Lowe coasted through the fifth and got two outs in the sixth before Ramirez hit a grounder to third that John Valentin fielded cleanly. However, his throw was in the dirt, and Ramirez was safe, ending a streak of 31 straight Indians retired by Lowe.
Thome wasted no time, crushing Lowe's next pitch 434 feet to tie it 2-2, and giving the Indians their first momentum of the night.
"I figured he wasn't going to start me off with a fastball over the plate," Thome said. "So I looked for a changeup and there it was."
In the seventh, Justice caught Troy O'Leary's drive against the wall in left and quickly got the ball back into the infield as the Indians doubled up Garciaparra who was halfway to third when the ball was caught.
Garciaparra said Tuesday he wasn't fully recovered from being struck on the right wrist with a pitch against Baltimore late last month. But he looked fine on his first swing of the series, hitting a 2-1 pitch from Colon over the wall in center.
It was Garciaparra's sixth homer this season against the Indians, who planned to pitch around him when possible.
Garciaparrra, who led the AL with a .357 average, was even tougher on Cleveland, batting .451 with nine extra-base hits and 17 RBIs.
Garciaparra led off the fourth with a double, and one out later scored on Stanley's single.
Notes: Thome's homer was his 13th in the postseason, tying him with Ramirez for fourth on the career list. Only Reggie Jackson (18), Mickey Mantle (18) and Babe Ruth (15) have more. ... Garciaparra went 5-for-15 with three homers and 11 RBIs against Cleveland in the '98 division series. ... Indians manager Mike Hargrove said Jaret Wright would pitch out of the bullpen in Game 2 if necessary and could start Game 4. ... The Indians are 12-22 in the regular season against Boston since 1997 after going 11-1 in '96. ... Nagy, who won Game 3 in Boston last year, is 7-1 in his career against Boston. ... Boston has lost 17 of 18 playoff games since taking a 3-2 lead in the 1986 World Series against the New York Mets.
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