10/11/2003 7:42 PM ET
Pitcher's mound eye of storm
When all said and done, Clemens victorious
BOSTON -- A classic matchup at Fenway Park took a turn for the bizarre, but everything about Game 3 of the American League Championship Series still revolved around Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez.
Their pitches sparked a fracas that finished with a different sort of toe-to-toe battle that featured Martinez and Don Zimmer, of all people.
And it was one pitcher -- Clemens -- who outshined the other in the battle of Cy Young winners, as the Yankees took a 4-3 victory in a game that will be remembered as much for the Zimmer-Martinez scrap as the Clemens-Martinez matchup that was hyped so much before it.
When the dust had cleared, the Yankees had taken full control of the series with a pivotal victory in hostile territory. Instead of the Red Sox riding a wave of emotion through their first home game of the series, now they really need to "Cowboy Up" to swing this series back their direction.
The pitching matchup wasn't exactly a microcosm of the two great starters' careers -- but that's usually how these things work out. Neither pitcher was particularly sharp at the outset, but it was Clemens who pulled himself together more than Martinez.
After Clemens was touched for a two-run single by Manny Ramirez, he didn't allow another hit until the sixth inning, when his pitch count was in the 90s. He retired 13 of 14 batters between Ramirez's single and Johnny Damon's base hit to lead off the sixth. The only baserunner came on an infield single by Damon in the third that could have been seen as an error by Derek Jeter.
Martinez, meanwhile, didn't help himself with his pitch that struck Karim Garcia and loaded the bases -- the spark to an evening of animosity that turned ugly. He'd already given up the lead on a clean ground-rule double by Hideki Matsui, and when Alfonso Soriano beat out a potential double play, the eventual winning run scored.
It wasn't the finest moment for either pitcher, but Clemens' last start at Fenway Park will be remembered as a winning one.
John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
By John Schlegel / MLB.com