Jorge Posada hits one out: 56K | 300K
NEW YORK -- The Yankees might have lost Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday night, but it wasn't because a lack of hitting.
That was the one positive they could take out of their 9-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox that forced a Game 7 on Thursday night.
The Yankees, who had 31 hits in the first five games of the series for an average just north of six, pounded out 12 on Wednesday. After scoring 18 runs in the first five games, they piled on six in Game 6.
Previously dormant Nick Johnson raised his postseason batting average to .273 with a 3-for-4 night, including an RBI.
Alfonso Soriano went 2-for-5 with a key double.
Jorge Posada pushed his average to .318 with a home run and a single and scored two runs.
Even Jason Giambi, who is batting .190 in this series, went yard in the first inning.
Shortstop Derek Jeter, who went 1-for-3, said the Yankees can take this offensive momentum and bring it to the park Thursday.
"I thought we swung the bats well," Jeter said. "We were down early, we put together some good innings, and we had the opportunity to get more but didn't. That's OK. We can't sit around and worry about that now. We move on
to Game 7."
The big innings Jeter spoke of were something the Yankees and Red Sox hadn't seen much of in five tense but pitching-friendly games prior to Game 6.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, they counted more for the Sox.
With both teams' batting averages severely lower than their regular season totals heading into Wednesday afternoon's Game 6 in Yankee Stadium, there had to
have been expectations that one of these days one of these teams would break
Boston quieted the Bronx crowd by taking a 4-1 lead, but the Yankees didn't continue to speak softly for long.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Yankees woke up from their slumber, banging out four runs to take a 5-4 lead and sending Red Sox starter John Burkett to the dugout.
Posada hit a one-out single to right and Hideki Matsui slashed a flare single to left-center that pushed Posada to third.
The Yankees most likely would have cut Boston's lead to one when Johnson slammed a two-base hit to the base of the wall in right-center, but the ball
hopped over the wall for a ground-rule double, forcing Matsui to stay at
Still, the Yankees had made the score 4-2 and the Stadium was rocking.
It continued to rock when the next batter, Aaron Boone, drove in Matsui with a ground out, making it 4-3 and setting up the biggest play of the inning.
Karim Garcia hit a slow roller that appeared to be an easy out for shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. He gloved the ball but lost it while bringing it up to his body, allowing Posada to take third base.
Alfonso Soriano then cashed in, hitting New York's second double of the inning, this one a gapper in left-center. Posada and Garcia scored, giving the Yankees a 5-4 lead and all the momentum.
"I like the way the offense played today," Soriano said. "We have to take the offense from today and bring it into tomorrow."
The Yankees took it into the fifth inning, when Posada, batting left-handed, hit a solo homer to left field off Sox reliever Bronson Arroyo to give the Yankees a 6-4 lead.
But in the sixth, the offense stalled at the wrong time.
With one out, Soriano singled off Todd Jones and moved to second on a passed ball. Jeter drew a walk to put runners on first and second with Giambi and Bernie Williams coming to bat.
Giambi struck out and Williams tapped out to third base, ending a big opportunity.
"We had our chances and we couldn't get it done," Giambi said. "They made some good pitches. They're a great team and that's why it's going seven games."
Another reason why it's going seven games is because the Red Sox scored five unanswered runs off Yankees relievers and the Boston bullpen held the Yankees in check the rest of the way.
Starter Andy Pettitte, who gave up four runs on eight hits in five innings, was willing to put the blame on himself.
"The big thing is I wasn't able to stay in the game and give us the innings we needed," he said. "That's my job. The biggest thing tonight was me not being able to stay on that mound."
Yankees outfielder Karim Garcia, who went 1-for-4 and scored a run, chose to dwell on the positives.
"Every time you score six runs, you should feel pretty good," he said. "Unfortunately we just came up short today.
"But if we swing the bats like this tomorrow, we should be OK."
Doug Miller is a reporter for
MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or