Red Sox History: The 10 best moments from Boston’s 2002 season
April 13th: The Comeback vs Mariano Rivera
Red Sox 7 – Yankees 6
This Saturday matinee had all the makings of a great pitcher’s duel. Pedro Martinez and David Wells were both in the midst of fantastic seasons, the former leading the league with a 2.26 ERA and 239 strikeouts and the latter winning 19 games and throwing over 200 innings. Each pitcher had a fantastic career, combining for 458 wins and 5,355 strikeouts, and was at the height of their craft in the 2002 season.
Yet it became clear early on that neither starter had their best stuff on this day. The Yankees jumped on Martinez for four runs in the top of the first, three of which came on a triple by Martinez’s arch-nemesis Jorge Posada.
Wells gave three of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth, as Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, and Shea Hillenbrand all hit RBI singles. Wells escaped further damage when Jason Varitek bounced into an inning-ending double play.
The score remained 4-3 into the top of the sixth, where the Yankees knocked out Pedro and scored two runs off reliever Ronaldo Arrojo. With a 6-3 lead and Mariano Rivera looming in the bullpen, the Yankees looked to be well on their way to victory.
Wells came back out for the eighth inning but was pulled after Damon’s one-out double. Future Red Sox Ramiro Mendoza entered and promptly hit Nomar Garciaparra. Manny Ramirez followed with an RBI single to cut the deficit to two and forced Yankees manager Joe Torre to bring in Rivera for the five-out save.
Rivera quickly got Tony Clark to ground out, though Garciaparra scored to make it a 6-5 game. That’s when Shea Hillenbrand stepped to the plate, and he deposited the 2-2 pitch to send Fenway into a frenzy. Incredibly, the Red Sox had scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth and had taken a 7-6 lead.
Closer Ugueth Urbina entered in the ninth to try and protect the one-run lead. He got the first two batters out easily, but Posada kept the game going with a single. Alfonso Soriano, who would lead the league with 41 stolen bases. Soriano attempted to make it 42, but Jason Varitek gunned him down at second to end the game.