Lynn has become renowned already for explosive production. In a June 18 game at Detroit he drove in 10 runs with a single, triple and three homers, the 16 total bases tying a league record. He is serene in temperament, dark-haired, wide-eyed and both self-effacing and self-assured, a neophyte who laughs off premature comparisons with the immortal Ted Williams or even with Yaz, but who feels his inexperience is not the disadvantage traditionalists would deem it.
"I don't think experience means all that much," he said before Friday's game, flying in the face of all that is sacred in professional sports. "Ability is the main thing. You can get awestruck if you let yourself. I didn't let it happen to me. I'm not some guy just coming off the farm, you know. I went to USC, which is like a training school for professional baseball. I'd played in Japan and South America before I signed. I went to school in a big city and I've been to lots of others. I suppose if I'd come directly from high school, it might be different. I'd probably just sit down at the end of the bench and not say a word to anybody. But I'm not that way."
From the first inning of the first game to the ninth of the second, watched by another season-high crowd—35,489—the Yankees did not score a run against the supposedly generous Boston pitchers. Rick Wise, who started the game with an appalling ERA of 5.15, shut them out until, with two down in the ninth, the ailing Bonds stroked a towering home run over the 37-foot-high "Green Monster" of a fence in left field.
By then, the Sox had already scored nine runs off three equally incompetent Yankee pitchers. Doug Griffin, who platoons at second base with Denny Doyle, was the RBI champion this night with three. The win moved Boston a half game ahead of the Yankees into first place.
Yankee frustration was best exemplified by the fireplug, Williams, who overran a windblown pop-up by Yaz down the left-field line, then fell down attempting to reverse his errant course. The ball dropped for a double. To show which way the wind was blowing, Lynn also slipped after fielding a Chambliss drive to center; then, nearly supine, he made a perfect throw to second to hold the surprised Yankee to a single.
Williams reflected on the vicissitudes of fate the following day. "Everything they did was right. No matter how badly they hit the ball, it was a hit. No matter how hard we hit the ball, it wasn't."
Yankee hits started to fall in the third game on Saturday as they outscored the Bosox 8-6 and regained the division lead, despite Yastrzemski's two homers, a double and four RBIs. Munson outshone Fisk with two hits and three RBIs to none and none. The winning runs were scored in the eighth when Williams drove a double through Rico Petrocelli's legs, scoring Bonds, and Munson hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Williams, who had advanced to third on Yaz' belated attempt to catch Bonds.
Ever conscious of fate, Williams had protested in the sixth that Yaz' second homer, a rainbow to center, did not reach the bleachers before a nimble fan in a blue shirt plucked it from the sky.
"It was coming down like a feather," he said after the game. "I doubt whether it would even have hit the fence when this guy reached out and caught it. He ribbed me about it later. I told him to keep the ball and enjoy himself." Williams smiled ironically. "It seems that no matter what you do, the man upstairs has something to say about it." He was advised of the double entendre. "Oh no," he said. "I don't mean the man upstairs in the blue shirt."
The principal Yankee victim in this game was lefthander Lee, an outspoken sort who had not precisely endeared himself to Boston fans earlier in the week when he denounced them as "bigots" unworthy of him, a reference to the school-busing strife in the city. Lee later apologized for the blanket accusation, explaining that he was distressed by his team's three losses to Cleveland and the release of his friend, Catcher Tim McCarver. He was roundly booed, however, when he departed the game in the fifth after a five-run bombardment.