10/18/2004 4:03 AM ET
Bullpen provides relief
Red Sox hurlers rebound with stellar outings
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
|Derek Lowe was lifted with a one-run lead in the sixth by Red Sox manager Terry Francona, but ended up with a no-decision. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
BOSTON -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona planned ahead.
Even during the carnage of the Game 3 disaster, Francona was holding something back for Sunday night's survive-or-perish drama in the American League Championship Series.
He kept relief pitchers Mike Timlin and Keith Foulke stashed away in the bullpen.
Francona used his scheduled Game 4 starter, Tim Wakefield, in long relief. He leaned on four bullpen regulars as well with Mike Myers sucking up most of the last three innings of the blowout.
That proved crucial in the 12-inning, 6-4 victory over the Yankees on Sunday that kept the Red Sox alive and kicking.
"Obviously, last night was a tough situation to pitch in, but Mike Myers went out there and finished it off and he did what he needed to do to keep Mike and me out of it. And it worked out for us tonight," Foulke said.
Timlin encountered rocky going, giving up a three singles and two walks in the Yankees' sixth when they went ahead, 4-3.
Foulke was another matter. The closer, accustomed to one-inning appearances, stretched himself and went 2 2/3 scoreless innings and -- in a different way -- saved one for the Red Sox.
"Foulke was unbelievable, he was the key to the win tonight," winning pitcher Curtis Leskanic said. "The guy goes out and pitches 2 2/3 innings and he picked up the bullpen tremendously."
Entering the game with one on and one out in the seventh, Foulke didn't allow a hit and pitched past leadoff walks in the eight and ninth innings.
"I love to pitch and I didn't have the best control. It was the first time I've pitched in it seems like a week and a half or so, but I was effectively wild and we got the job done," he said.
|Boston and New York relievers combined for 12 2/3 innings in Game 4, tossing 233 pitches in the 12-inning contest:|
Alan Embree pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings after Foulke left the marathon.
It was Leskanic who inherited the most chilling situation of the game in the 11th inning.
The Yankees got two runners on against Embree and Myers arrived and walked Hideki Matsui on four pitches to load the bases with two outs. Francona waved for Leskanic, who had given up a three-run shot to Gary Sheffield the night before.
Leskanic was signed after being released by the Royals in June.
"Part of the reason that we wanted Lesky so bad over here was we knew he would never shy away from wanting to pitch," Francona said. "He's got a lot of guts."
Now came his biggest test. Leskanic found himself surrounded by Yankees.
"Well, yeah, there's a lot of pressure on me, coming in with the bases loaded against a lineup like that. You give up a hit or a walk and you lose the ballgame," he said.
"But on the other side, it's what you look for -- that's the kind of game you want to be in."
Leskanic got Bernie Williams on a fly ball to center, ending the threat.
"I didn't want to get behind him in the count. So I threw him a first-pitch slider, and the first pitch always sets the tone. So I threw him another slider and he popped it up," Leskanic said.
Leskanic also pitched a scoreless 12th that began with Jorge Posada's bloop single. Then Ruben Sierra hit a shot that slammed into Leskanic's left hamstring. Leskanic threw him out.
Even better, because the ball didn't get through the infield, Posada had to stop at second.
There he stayed, and, in the next half inning, David Ortiz unloaded his game-winning home run.
"We're not going to roll over. It's unfortunate that we put ourselves in this situation, but we're not going to give it to them," Foulke said. "So go out there and fight, fight, fight until there's no more fight left in us."
Yeah, but no Major League club has ever came back from a 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven series.
"That's what we're saying, let's make history," Foulke said. "We don't want to go down in the books as losing this series. We want to make history right now. I mean, we've got T-shirts that say, 'Why Not Us?' Maybe we will be the first team to come back from three down. We'll find out."
Foulke wasn't forewarned that he'd get an extra-long dose of work in this game.
"It doesn't need to be mentioned. When you're down, 3-0, we have to use every bullet to we can to fight to get to tomorrow," he said.
"And tomorrow's no different. I'll come out and may throw three innings again tomorrow."
Except he could have said "today." It was already almost 2 a.m. ET on Monday, about 15 hours before game time.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.