Yanks' mystique tarnished

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:47 AM ET

NEW YORK -- As Yogi Berra might say: "They call them comebacks, because they came back ... from ah, some where."

There was drama when the Boston Red Sox squared the series, but last night flattened the New York Yankees quicker than a yellow cab plastering a staggering jaywalker to the rain-soaked pavement on 2nd Ave.

CRUSHED

The Sox were up 6-0 in the second on the way to crushing the Yankees 10-3 in the deciding game of the best-of-seven American League championship series before 56,129 fans.

Boston is the first team to recover from a 3-0 deficit.

Before the series started, Curt Schilling said that while it was a difficult task, there is "nothing better than shutting up 55,000 New Yorkers."

The New Yorkers were silenced when David Ortiz, the ALCS most valuable player, hit a two-run, first-inning homer to right.

They were shocked when Johnny Damon hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw from Javier Vazquez.

And they sat stonefaced when Damon hit a two-run, upper-deck homer to right in the fourth to make it 8-1.

The only noise the crowd made was booing, until Pedro Martinez entered to work the seventh.

Starter Kevin Brown, hooked in the second, left the bases loaded. After facing nine men and retiring four, one on a play at the plate, Brown threw 44 pitches.

Thanks for coming out.

Vazquez, who came on in relief of Brown, left in the fourth with two runners on and the Yanks down 8-1. He served up two homers to Damon, faced 13 batters. Seven reached base.

Reliever Esteban Loaiza, another not ready for the prime-time, post-season rotation, fielded a Damon comebacker in the fifth and had Bill Mueller caught in a rundown off second.

Loaiza threw off his wrong foot and into a sliding Mueller, the ball kicking into short right.

Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees' $25-million US man, grounded out in the sixth and struck out in the eighth.

All of which goes to show you a team payroll of $194 million doesn't go as far as it used to.

That VISA commercial with George Steinbrenner being attended to by Yankee trainers so he can sign more cheques? Steinbrenner might smash his fist after this one ... as Brown did against a cement wall late in the season.

"I saw George before the game," Torre said, "he offered encouragement. George knows that we do the best we can, even if the results aren't what we want."

The name of the starter who last pitched in a World Series, that the Sox won, was a fellow named Babe Ruth in 1918.

Has the curse been reversed?

Well, the Sox still have to win a World Series, but win or lose against the National League champs, it's going to be a more enjoyable winter for Sox fans.

"Boston fans have been waiting for a long time to go to the Series, last year we had a bad memory, we lost Game 7 here," David Ortiz said. "This was the chance to erase it."

Five nights ago, the Yankees scored 19 times to go up 3-0 in the series.

Four nights ago, the Sox were down the ninth, against Mariano Rivera, three outs from elimination and won.

Three nights ago, Boston trailed by two runs in the eighth and rallied to tie against Tom Gordon and Rivera and won in extras.

Two nights ago, Boston took the term red socks literally as they sent out Curt Schilling, the torn tendon in his ankle sutured together, blood showing through his sanitary hose, to even the series.

And last night, in a game called the greatest game ever played?

Well, maybe if you lived in Foxboro, Braintree or Lowell, Mass.

HICKS

But not if you had your Yanks cap on, watching from Albany, Poughkeepskie or Hicksville, Long Island.

For on this night, the Yanks played like flat-out hicks.

Brown and Vazquez were a disgrace to the uniform worn by Whitey Ford, Allie Reynolds, Jack Chesboro and Catfish Hunter.


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