Ortiz bails out Red Sox after bullpen blows 4-0 leadPosted: Saturday July 26, 2003 5:34 PM
Updated: Saturday July 26, 2003 7:50 PM
BOSTON (AP) -- David Ortiz knows how to take orders.
Called on to pinch-hit with two outs in the ninth inning of a tie game Saturday, Ortiz carried out Boston manager Grady Little's instructions to the letter.
"I wasn't trying to do too much that at-bat. Grady told me to go and hit the Green Monster," Ortiz said.
"I knew [Benitez] has a good fastball and I guess I was just looking for a fastball," Ortiz said.
Ortiz, who didn't start because he is 0-for-20 lifetime against Yankees starter Mike Mussina, spent part of Saturday morning working on his swing with Red Sox hitting coach Ron Jackson.
"I have been getting under the ball lately and we were working on that and getting my timing right," Ortiz said. "He corrected me."
Home runs by Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez helped the Red Sox build a 4-0 lead against Mussina, who had won four straight decisions against Boston. But the bullpen blew it, nearly wasting an outstanding start by John Burkett.
Benitez (0-1), acquired from the Mets on July 16, gave up a one-out single to Jeremy Giambi in the ninth.
"They got me. What can you do?" Benitez said. "I made a good pitch to him."
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter thought Giambi was out at second, but Giambi said catcher Jorge Posada's throw was off line.
"Jeter had to pull the ball from the other side of the bag and that's why I was able to get in there," Giambi said. "I was able to slide around the tag."
When his teammates pulled it out in the ninth, Burkett gleefully ran onto the field in shorts, sandals and a cutoff T-shirt as the Red Sox mobbed Ortiz.
After losing the series opener 4-3 Friday night, Boston trimmed New York's lead in the AL East to 2 1/2 games.
Burkett is 0-6 in 10 career starts and 11 appearances against the Yankees. He came in with a 9.66 lifetime ERA against New York, but pitched much better this time.
"I would have been disappointed if we didn't win today," Burkett said. "Whether I get the win or not doesn't matter."
Kim (4-3) was the winner after taking a loss in the last two meetings between the teams.
Ruben Sierra's pinch-hit single in the seventh off Todd Jones cut Boston's lead to 4-2. But the Red Sox got out of the inning when Jones struck out Alfonso Soriano and Garciaparra threw out Enrique Wilson at the plate trying to score on Jeter's double off the left-field wall.
Wilson, pinch-running for Sierra, ran through third base coach Willie Randolph's stop sign.
"You try to preach aggressiveness and sometimes it burns you," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "That's what happens. I think when he rounded third Willie was trying to stop him, but his head was down trying to dig and go harder."
The Red Sox scored three runs in the first inning. Damon walked, stole second and scored on Garciaparra's 16th homer. After Kevin Millar singled, Trot Nixon doubled off the wall in left to make it 3-0.
Nixon rounded second base and was thrown out diving back to the bag to end the inning.
Ramirez made it 4-0 in the fourth when he sliced Mussina's first pitch around the foul pole in right field for his 25th home run.
Burkett gave up three hits in 5 2/3 innings and left with a 4-0 lead. He struck out three and walked three.
Mussina gave up four runs and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked four.
Notes: The Giambi brothers started at DH for their respective teams -- Jason for the Yankees and Jeremy for the Red Sox. ... Damon was caught stealing for just the third time in 23 attempts this season. He walked four times. ... Ramirez leads the team with 79 RBIs. ... Burkett tipped his hat to the fans after getting a standing ovation when he was removed. ... Soriano went 2-for-5 with a double for his team-leading 41st multihit game of the season. ... The Yankees and Texas Rangers are the only two major league teams Burkett has never beaten.