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Squandered opportunities
10/17/2004 2:22 AM ET
BOSTON -- Runnin' wild. Lost control.

Those are more than just words from an old song. That pretty much described the Red Sox on the base paths Saturday night in their 19-8 loss to the Yankees.

Put in a slug-it-out situation, the Red Sox squandered runners -- and potential runs -- with reckless abandon in falling behind 3-0 in the American League Championship Series.

Only four innings had clicked by and the Yankees had gathered three outs on baserunning blunders.

"Aggressive mistakes. These things happen, but unfortunately, it happens in a very important game for the Red Sox," third-base coach Dale Sveum said. "You get a little too aggressive at the wrong times."

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The Yankees were very grateful for that.

"They hurt themselves on the bases a couple of times," the Yankees' Derek Jeter said. "Looking back, it's a big win with all the runs, but those were key outs at the time."

There were two outs in the first inning when Manny Ramirez, after a single, decided to stretch himself to third base on David Ortiz's single. Ramirez could have pulled up at second base from where he might have scored on almost any single except the infield variety.

Instead, he plunged forward and was nicked at third by right fielder Gary Sheffield's precise throw to Alex Rodriguez. Instead of two runners on for Jason Varitek, the inning was over.

It was not a good idea.

"No, not when you're down three runs," Sveum said. "You've got to be standing up on every base in that situation. You don't like to take people's aggressiveness away, but you don't make outs on bases when you're down three, four runs," he said.

The Red Sox had the bases loaded in the third inning when Orlando Cabrera lashed a one-out double to right field. Varitek scored. Kevin Millar scored for a 6-6 tie. And about 15 feet behind Millar came Bill Mueller.

The ball also arrived on Millar's heels and Mueller was an easy out, with second baseman Miguel Cairo fast-forwarding center fielder Bernie Williams' throw in to catcher Jorge Posada.

Sveum wanted to stop Mueller, but how could he?

"It was a little too close. I had in my mind I had to get Millar home and he's going and Billy is right on his butt. I wanted to stop him, but I couldn't just wave and stop -- they were just too close," Sveum said.

Instead of runners at second and third with one out in a tied game, the Red Sox had two outs and Cabrera at third. Johnny Damon made the third out on first baseman John Olerud's sharp stop, a play on which a run easily could have scored.

"Millar is not fleet of foot and he got a bad break. If I try to hold Mueller, then he (Millar) is going to hold and I've got two guys on third base," Sveum said.

"They were so close, it was a cluster."

The Yankees were up, 11-6, in the fourth and the Red Sox were aching for a big inning of their own. Ramirez's walk and Ortiz's single gave them a one-out ray of hope.

Varitek hit a liner right to Olerud at first, and Ortiz had broken toward second base. He was doubled up easily -- inning over.

It's usually wise to make sure a ball gets through the infield before making a jailhouse break.

"We had just gone over the whole scenario: You let the line drive go through," first-base coach Lynn Jones said. "We're down five runs. We've got to save our outs."

The Red Sox were just runnin' wild.

"There were a couple of instances today when we just tried to do too much," Jones said.

What's that old song say? Oh, yeah.

Always going, don't know where. Always showing I don't care.

When Marilyn Monroe sang that in "Some Like It Hot," it sounded pretty good. For the Red Sox, though, just some sour notes.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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