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September 21, 2005

And down the stretch they come...
by Sean McNally

Tom Durkin would be having a field day with this race ladies and gentlemen.

The Yanks, down a half game in the division and the wild card races needed to win. The Indians were battling their division foes the White Sox. The Red Sox were in Tampa, facing a dangerous Devil Rays team.

The Bronx Bombers scored all the runs they'd need in the second when the much-maligned Matt Lawton strode to the plate with Hideki Matsui on first.

Lawton had been sat down in favor of Bubba Crosby, Ruben Sierra and Hensley Muelens I think since coming over to the Yankees. He got a spot start tonight in right as Sheffield continued to need to DH due a gimpy groin and Joe Torre gave Bernie Williams a well-deserved day off.

Mired in an 0-19 slump, Lawton had yet to have his "Pinstripe" moment.

The first pitch Lawton saw, he reached up and grabbed his stripes, launching a Rodrigo Lopez pitch deep in the Bronx air.

Those two runs would be the only ones the Yankees would score, but they'd be the only ones Randy Johnson would need.

Eight innings. Three hits. Six strikeouts. One walk. One run. One hundred and twenty pitches. It was vintage, overpowering Randy Johnson, and it was a sight to see.

Rivera came in, hit the first batter he saw, then settled down to slam the door on Baltimore.

At the same time, Boston's bullpen, more accurately Mike Timlin, was imploding as Tampa hung five runs on the board in the eighth inning on their way to a 7-4 win.

In June, some folks said Boston would end up looking Secretariat in the Belmont. Clearly it is too early to hand out any white carnations, but the Red Sox are stumbling as they make the final turn, and Joe Torre seems to be going to the whip at just the right time.