Final

Series: Game 1 of 4

Boston leads 1-0 (as of 4/16)

Game 1: Friday, April 16
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Boston6
Game 2: Saturday, April 17
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Boston5
Game 3: Sunday, April 18
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in 10
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Game 4: Monday, April 19
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Yankees 2

(5-5, 2-3 away)

Red Sox 6

(5-4, 3-2 home)

8:05 PM ET, April 16, 2004

Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts 

123456789 R H E
NYY 010010000 2 5 2
BOS 40010100 - 6 9 2

W: T. Wakefield (1-0)

L: J. Vazquez (1-1)

A-Rod goes 0-for-4 vs. BoSox

BOSTON (AP) -- This time, Tim Wakefield walked off a winner against the New York Yankees.

Six months after he gave up Aaron Boone's game-ending homer that thrilled Yankee Stadium fans and gave New York a win in Game 7 of the AL championship series, he pitched seven strong innings as Boston won 6-2 Friday night.

The Red Sox knuckleballer shut down the star who took Boone's place at third base, Alex Rodriguez, who went 0-for-4 in the stadium that nearly was his home.

"It really meant a lot" to hear the fans cheer, Wakefield said. "They've really opened their arms and embraced me like a second son."

He got a loud ovation before the home opener and is content that his reputation will not be tarnished by one bad pitch in an ALCS in which he made two outstanding starts.

"It hasn't been hard" to get over it, he said. "Baseball's my life, but it isn't the end of life."

Rodriguez was the one who was disappointed after the latest meeting between the fierce rivals.

"It was a bit of a letdown," said Rodriguez, who nearly was traded to Boston in December. "It was very intense out there."

Rodriguez, the AL home run champion, went 0-for-3 against Wakefield, lined out in eighth against Scott Williamson and didn't hit the ball out of the infield.

Manny Ramirez, who would have been traded for Rodriguez, AL batting champion Bill Mueller and Doug Mirabelli homered off Javier Vazquez (1-1). Jorge Posada hit his fifth homer for New York in the second, cutting Boston's lead to 4-1, after Wakefield retired his first five batters.

"He was fine after the first inning," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "Then he gave up the homer to Mirabelli" in the fourth.

The first of 19 regular-season games between the rivals began a four-game series. A full house of well-behaved fans could buy souvenir T-shirts with the message: "Showdown in Beantown."

"They're always pretty animated," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said of the fans. "This was one of their better performances."

Boone's homer came on Wakefield's first pitch of the 11th inning into the left-field seats for a 6-5 win. Boone seriously injured his knee while playing pickup basketball and was released in late February, although he hopes to play for a team this season.

The Yankees filled his spot by obtaining Rodriguez from Texas after Boston's long courtship of the former Rangers star failed.

On Friday, Wakefield allowed two runs, five hits and four walks in seven innings. He struck out four.

But the eighth inning nearly ruined the Red Sox again. The Yankees scored three runs off Pedro Martinez in the eighth to tie Game 7 at 5. Alan Embree then came in to get one out.

"I wanted the ball" before New York tied the game, he said, but "we had the best pitcher on the mound."

On Friday, Ramirez dropped a routine fly with two outs and nobody on. Williamson then loaded the bases on two walks. Lefty Embree arrived on time and struck out lefty Hideki Matsui.

"I would expect nothing less than a dogfight for 18 more games" against the Yankees, Embree said.

Boston scored four in the first on Mueller's two-run homer, Ramirez's solo shot and Jeter's error that allowed the fourth run to score.

In the top of the first, Rodriguez was booed when he entered the batter's box and cheered when he swung at the first pitch and missed.

He grounded to shortstop on an 0-2 count in the first and struck out swinging on three pitches in the fourth. In the sixth, he reached on an error by shortstop Pokey Reese but was thrown out trying to steal third.

His first fielding chance came in the sixth when Kevin Millar hit a leadoff liner that Rodriguez grabbed as he jumped a few inches off the ground.

Rodriguez, an outstanding shortstop, shifted to third so Jeter could keep his position.

"I'm enjoying playing third," he said before the game. "Every game's a new challenge."

Boston's bid to obtain Rodriguez from Texas failed when the players' union said his deal with the Red Sox would have decreased the value of his contract.

The crowd of 35,163 -- 108 fewer than attended Thursday night's 12-7 loss to Baltimore -- cheered when Rodriguez lined out to third baseman Mueller in his fourth at-bat in the eighth.

Mirabelli made it 5-1 in the fourth with his first homer, Bernie Williams singled in a run in the fifth for the Yankees and Mirabelli hit an RBI double in the sixth.

Game notes


The Red Sox unveiled a bronze statue of Ted Williams outside Fenway Park four hours before the game. The Boston slugger died in 2002. ... Friday was the 86th anniversary of Carl Mays' one-hit, 1-0 win over the Philadelphia A's that gave Boston a 2-0 record on its way to the World Series championship. It hasn't won a title since. ... Mueller was in a 1-for-25 slump before his homer.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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