by Brian Hoch -
Was there a better way for the Yankees and Red Sox to complete their season series? How much more of a tease could you ask for? And wouldn’t you like to see these two teams play just one more time?
In the end, the Yankees’ final regular-season game at Fenway Park on Sunday night came down to one Mariano Rivera pitch. With the bases loaded and two outs, the high pop off of David Ortiz’s dangerous bat came to rest safely in Derek Jeter’s glove, securing a 4-3 New York victory.
Jeter pumped his left fist emphatically, his go-ahead eighth-inning home run secure as the margin of victory. Boston cursed. New York exhaled. Nothing’s ever easy for the Yankees in New England.
“It’s not what I expected when we went into that inning,” Jeter said. “It’s always scary when you’ve got Ortiz up, let alone with the bases loaded and a one-run game. But we have a lot of confidence in Mo. He’s not afraid of anyone.”
Rivera’s showdown with Big Papi was the icing on a delicious three-hour, 10-minute affair that opened with a back-to-the-future pitchers’ duel between Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, reprising a 2001 World Series Game 7 showdown with significantly more mileage but still as much drive and heart.
Making his first Fenway Park start since the 2003 American League Championship Series, Clemens held the Red Sox to just one unearned run and two hits over six innings. Schilling brought a game to match, at least until Jeter interrupted the evening with his eighth-inning homer, a shot to the back of the seating area atop the left-field Green Monster.
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