Lou And Lowe Show
Double Plays Help Stop Yanks
June 1, 2002
By DOM AMORE, Courant Staff Writer
NEW YORK -- Before a Red Sox fan can begin to believe something
is going to be different this time, something is going to have to happen.
They are going to have to work the big room,
withstand the verbal slings and arrows, the tamest of which would be "nineteen, eighteen."
The Red Sox are going to
have to win at Yankee Stadium, where they lost eight of nine last season and their historic antecedents have a litany of heartbreak
dating from Prohibition.
The first step was taken Friday night, when the Red Sox waited out two rain delays and beat
the Yankees 5-2 in the first of nine games to be played here in 2002.
Derek Lowe (8-2) walked five, but with the considerable
aid of peppery second baseman Lou Merloni, he pitched out of trouble and put up six scoreless four-hit innings, outdueling
David Wells (6-2).
Tim Wakefield pitched two innings and Casey Fossum allowed Jorge Posada's two-run homer in the ninth
before Ugueth Urbina got two outs for his 18th save in 19 chances.
Still leading just 1-0 in the eighth, the Red Sox
delivered two crushing two-out hits against Mike Stanton. Jason Varitek doubled to right-center to score two runs, and Tony
Clark, the sleeping giant with the .189 average, hit one about 450 feet to left. Clark's second homer of the year made it
The Yankees (36-19) fell two games behind the Sox (36-15). The Yankees' five-game winning streak had begun with
two wins at Fenway to finish last weekend's series with a split, but they have lost six of nine to the Red Sox this season.
that intermittent thunderstorms were headed for the Bronx, the Yankees delayed the start of the game 55 minutes, as one downpour
came and went. But the playing window was only about 20 minutes, long enough for Wells to work out of a second-and-third jam
in the first and Alfonso Soriano to lead off the bottom of the inning with a double off Lowe.
After another delay of
1 hour and 14 minutes, play resumed, Soriano stole third and Derek Jeter walked. But Lowe struck out Bernie Williams and got
Jason Giambi to hit into a double play. The stadium's new drainage system was up to the challenge. It was nearly 10 p.m.,
the Nets had won and most of the 52,941 paying customers were still there - settled in for a late night.
error extended the third, but Wells pitched around Nomar Garciaparra to load the bases and snagged Brian Daubach's broken-bat
liner to end the inning. Daubach stranded five runners in his first two at-bats.
Wells has been testy lately, angry
at things said and written about his commitment to fitness. The other night in Chicago, he sprayed his antiperspirant into
the air, calling it his "reporter repellent." But Wells, who struggled in his start at Fenway Park last week, seemed to feed
off his foul mood, not to mention his 31-10 record as a Yankee in Yankee Stadium. He pitched five shutout innings, matching
The Yankees got the leadoff man on in each of the first four innings, but did not score. In the fourth, Lowe
walked the first two batters, but second baseman Merloni ranged into the hole to start a double play on Ventura's ground ball.
Then Merloni made a nice play on John Vander Wal's slow chopper to end the inning. Ben Affleck couldn't be reached for comment.
broke through in the sixth. Garciaparra, who doubled in the first, led off with a triple off the center field wall, a ball
Williams didn't play particularly well, and scored on a wild pitch, a ball Wells threw up and in to Jose Offerman with one
Merloni, who has a history of playing hardball against the Yankees, made another huge play in the sixth, lunging
toward the middle to take a hit away from Posada and flipping to Garciaparra to start another double play. Lowe, bailed out
of a two-on, one-out jam, gave his now-familiar arm swing before heading for the dugout.
Lou Merloni has begun the phase of his year that he detests the most- the trip down to Pawtucket. Hopefully he
won't be there for long!!
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Red Sox were forced to make a tough roster decision Saturday, optioning veteran utility player
Lou Merloni back to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Merloni had been solid when given the chance, going 3-for-8, including a key RBI-double in a 3-2 victory over the Yankees
on April 12.
But with righty John Burkett ready to come off the DL, someone had to go.
Burkett was scheduled to make his first start of the season Saturday night, but the game was rained out, and he'll take
the ball in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader.
Because Burkett - coming off shoulder inflammation -- will be on a light pitch count at first, manager Grady Little felt
the need to option out a position player instead of a pitcher.
The decision was not an easy one to make. Everyone on Boston's bench - including Carlos Baerga, Jose Offerman and Brian
Daubach - has come through when called on.
"It's tough when you have everyone on a ballclub who has been rather productive," Little said. "It was a tough decision,
and that's just the way things shook down."
Merloni has been down this road many times before. This will mark the fifth consecutive season Merloni will play games
in both Boston and Pawtucket.
Because of the 31-year-old Merloni's service time, he had to clear waivers before he was sent down.
Merloni was informed of the decision following Friday night's 4-0 victory over the Royals.
How did he take the news?
"Like anyone leaving the Major Leagues and going to Triple-A," said Little. "It's not really something he wanted to do,
but he's been down that road before. He'll be back. He'll go down there and get a few more at bats and when we call him back,
he'll be ready to go again."