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in the Box
Stephen Cannella
September 10, 2001
YANKEES 1, RED SOX 0 Sept. 2
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September 10, 2001

In The Box

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YANKEES 1, RED SOX 0 Sept. 2

The stars were aligned for the Yankees' Mike Mussina to pitch a perfect game: His Boston counterpart, David Cone, had thrown the last perfecto while wearing New York pinstripes two years ago. There was the requisite stellar defensive play, first baseman Clay Bellinger's diving stop of Troy O'Leary's smash leading off the bottom of the ninth, moments after Bellinger, who had pinch run for Tino Martinez, took the field. And there was a matchup with two outs in the ninth that tilted in Mussina's favor: Pinch-hitter Carl Everett was 1 for 9 with seven strikeouts in his career against him. After Bellinger's gem, Mussina even thought, Maybe this time it's going to happen.

Karma turned out to be no match for a mistake in location. Ahead in the count I and 2, Mussina tried to get Everett to chase a fastball up and away. The pitch caught the strike zone's upper reaches, however, and Everett blooped it to left center for a single. It was the third time Mussina had taken a perfect game into the eighth or beyond and not finished the job, but at least he preserved the shutout. The last pitcher to throw 8? perfect innings and then falter? The Mariners' Brian Holman, who gave up a ninth-inning home run to the As Ken Phelps in a 6-1 win on April 20, 1990.