for this game

Byrd, Indians shock Yankees and advance to ALCS

Oct 9, 2007 - 6:07 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- One manager elected to start his ace on three days rest, and the other handed the ball to his No. 4 man. The one who decided to have confidence in his fourth starter now has a date with the Boston Red Sox.

Paul Byrd allowed two runs and eight hits in five-plus innings and the Cleveland Indians advanced to the American League Championship Series with a 6-4 victory over the New York Yankees on Monday night.

Grady Sizemore homered and Victor Martinez drove in a pair for the Indians, who won the best-of-five AL Division Series three games to one and advanced to the ALCS for the first time since 1998 and fourth time in franchise history.

Byrd struck out two and walked two while throwing 52 of his 77 pitches for strikes. He worked his way out of trouble in each of the first three innings, getting fly-ball outs with runners in scoring positions each time.

"Paul did what he had to do," Cleveland leftfielder Kenny Lofton said. "He kept us in the game. He had some jams he got out of with some double plays and it was big. He don't throw the ball 100 miles per hour but he goes out there and puts it in right spots and got the job done."

"It's good," Sizemore said. "Paul's a great pitcher, who has thrown well for us all year and he's been in this situation before and he knows how to win. He's one of those guys that knows how to win. (Indians manager) Eric (Wedge), he didn't want to change the game plan. Just because you're playing a certain team or in a certain situation you don't change what's been working for you all year."

The veteran righthander won 15 games in the regular season, but has struggled against the Yankees throughout his career. That led to numerous questions for Cleveland manager Eric Wedge about why he was planning to start Byrd as opposed to ace C.C. Sabathia on three days rest.

"That was the game plan all along that he was going with Paul regardless of what happened,"Indians closer Joe Borowski said. "You live and die with your decisions. You make them and that's what happens. He had 15 wins this year, so it's not like you were throwing somebody out there who had five innings all year. He's been out there, he's gone through it. So we all had confidence in him and he went out there and did a great job."

Sabathia would have started Game Five on Wednesday but can now have over a week of rest when he faces the Red Sox.

Wedge remained firm in his confidence of Byrd, who posted a 4.59 ERA during the regular season and allowed 239 hits in 192 1/3 innings.

"I'm happy for him and our guys," Wedge said. "The guy won 15 games. He's been a very consistent starter for us.

Byrd, who made his fourth career postseason start, also admitted that Wedge's loyalty added some extra confidence.

"It made me feel great," he said. "I just had confidence out there in our team. We've played well as a team all year long."

But his manager's confidence was rewarded, and the Indians will travel to Boston for Game One of the American League Championship Series on Friday.

While that decision paid off, Yankees manager Joe Torre's decision to start Chien-Ming Wang on three days rest for the first time in the righthander's career failed miserably. Wang lasted just one-plus inning and allowed four runs and five hits.

"I wasn't comfortable watching him," Torre said. "It just looked like he was throwing the ball hard. But he got hurt (leaving) balls up. Usually you tell early with him, if he can get the ball down. They start beating it into the ground. But they didn't hit a lot of groundballs."

Including a disastrous Game One outing in which he allowed eight runs in 4 2/3 frames, Wang closes out the ALDS with a 19.06 ERA in the series.

The Indians went ahead on the second pitch of the game when Sizemore homered into the right-center field bleachers. They added another run on Jhonny Peralta's RBI single and scored two more in the second when Mike Mussina relieved Wang with the bases loaded and no outs.

Wang came out after hitting Kelly Shoppach with a pitch.

"In a short series, you have to play your best baseball, no doubt," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "Obviously we didn't see the Wang here that we've seen all season."

Mussina, who would have originally started the game if Torre did not select Wang, induced a double-play grounder from Sizemore that scored a run before yielding a run-scoring single to Asdrubal Cabrera.

Cleveland added two more in the fourth inning after Mussina intentionally walked Travis Hafner to load the bases with one out.

The Indians had been hitless in 14 previous at-bats with runners in scoring position and less than two outs and finally broke through when Victor Martinez grounded a two-run single into left field.

Mussina worked 4 2/3 innings and allowed two runs and four hits while walking four and striking out three.

The Yankees, who extended the series to a fourth game by pounding out eight runs on Sunday, scored their first run on Derek Jeter's infield single in the second. They had a chance for more but Byrd retired Bobby Abreu on a long flyout to center and stranded seven through the first five frames.

"I feel the temptation in those moments to try and strike somebody out," Byrd said. "That's usually when I leave the ball over the middle of the plate, just trying to muscle it. So (I was) just trying to keep making the pitches, cutters, back doors and got a few outs on changeups. But they really put the pressure on early."

New York chased Byrd when Robinson Cano led off the sixth with a home run to cut the deficit to 6-2.

Wedge went to lefthander Rafael Perez, who gave up one-out singles to pinch hitter Shelley Duncan and Johnny Damon to put runners at the corners, but escaped the inning by inducing a double play from Jeter.

The Yankees' captain, Jeter, failed to find his customary postseason magic against the Indians, closing out the series 3-for-17 with one RBI. He grounded into three double plays in the series and struck out four times.

"It's tough," Jeter said. "It's tough on everyone when you lose. You put this much effort, put a lot of work in. For it to end this way is disappointing."

Rafael Betancourt struck out two in a perfect eighth inning before Borowski made things interesting in the ninth, allowing a solo homer to Bobby Abreu before retiring Alex Rodriguez and Posada.

The Yankees lost in the division series for the third straight season and have dropped 12 of their last 16 postseason games. They might not have a chance to break their funk next season with Torre, who, according to team owner George Steinbrenner, might not return for a 13th season.

"I wasn't expecting this," Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said. "You have to give credit to the Cleveland Indians. They did a tremendous job."

If Torre's time as the longest-tenured manager in Steinbrenner's 34-year reign comes to an end, current hitting coach Don Mattingly is among the leading candidates to take over the post.

"Let's see what happens in the next few days and you know whatever comes next you know if I have some options, I'll look at it because I'm certainly not ready to move somewhere and not do anything," Torre said. "I can tell you that."

Rodriguez, who finally broke out of his playoff power drought in the seventh inning with a solo homer off Perez to cut the deficit to 6-3, finished the series 4-for-15 with five strikeouts.

"It's not Joe's fault," Rodriguez said. "The players are at fault. The bottom line is we didn't get the job done. I'll tell you one thing about this team, we left our hearts and souls out there."

Rodriguez also might not return next season. The probable AL MVP could decide to opt out of the 10-year, $252 million deal he signed with Texas following the 2000 season.






  • 55
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    Indians vs. YankeesNov 24 2:02 PM
  • ekabrazi Ohh this is sooooooooooo much better than the Billion dollar story!!! ~ " With the War on Terror entering it's 7th year, 40 million Americans uninsured, and War with Iran looming; Rudy Giuliani proves that he has his finger on America's pulse: "Mr. Steinbrenner, please don't fire Joe Torre."

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 10 1:23 AM
  • ekabrazi WTF???? - " Boras, known as one of baseball's shrewdest and most hard-nosed negotiators, tipped his hand Monday as to what negotiations would be like if Rodriguez opts out. He said he will tell prospective bidders that Rodriguez could play until he is 45, which will allow him to not only become baseball's all-time home run king, but also the all-time hits leader. If those accomplishments are within reach, Boras said he will argue that Rodriguez will be worth somewhere between a half-billion and a billion dollars over a decade to a team's regional sports network."

    Baseballs & Sports first Billion Dollar Man????

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 9 8:57 PM
  • bones hasn't Torre earned tenure by now? I don't think Steinbrenner's going to be any happier with his replacement.

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 9 12:03 AM


  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CLEVELAND 2 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 6 13 0
    NY YANKEES 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 4 12 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CLE - PAUL BYRD, RAFAEL PEREZ (6TH), RAFAEL BETANCOURT (8TH), JOE
    BOROWSKI (9TH) AND KELLY SHOPPACH
    NYY - CHIEN-MING WANG, MIKE MUSSINA (2ND), RON VILLONE
    (6TH), K

    Oct 8 11:41 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY BOBBY ABREU (1) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    9TH OFF JOE BOROWSKI.
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 6, NY YANKEES 4
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: A RODRIGUEZ (.286, 2-FOR-4, HR, RBI)

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 11:36 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ALEX RODRIGUEZ (1) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 1
    OUT IN THE 7TH OFF RAFAEL PEREZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 6, NY YANKEES 3
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J POSADA (.154, 1-FOR-3)

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 10:46 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ROBINSON CANO (2) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF PAUL BYRD.
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 6, NY YANKEES 2
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: M CABRERA (.214, 1-FOR-2)

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 10:07 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY VICTOR MARTINEZ SCORED KELLY SHOPPACH AND GRADY
    SIZEMORE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, V MARTINEZ ON FIRST, T HAFNER ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 6
    NY YANKEES 1 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: J PERALTA (.417, 1-FOR-1, BB, RBI)

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 9:27 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DEREK JETER SCORED HIDEKI MATSUI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D JETER ON FIRST, D MIENTKIEWICZ ON SECOND,
    R CANO ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 4
    NY YANKEES 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: B ABREU (.273, 1-FOR-1)

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 8:49 PM
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    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 8:27 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ASDRUBAL CABRERA SCORED CASEY BLAKE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, A CABRERA ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 4
    NY YANKEES 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: T HAFNER (.286, 1-FOR-1)

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 8:23 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    GRADY SIZEMORE HIT INTO DOUBLE PLAY SCORING FRANKLIN
    GUTIERREZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C BLAKE ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 3
    NY YANKEES 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: A CABRERA (.143, 0-FOR-1)

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 8:19 PM
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    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 7:52 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CLEVELAND 2 2 3 0
    NY YANKEES 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: CLE - PAUL BYRD
    NYY - CHIEN-MING WANG

    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J DAMON (.308, 2 HR, 5 RBI)
    D JETER (.083, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
    B ABREU (.200, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 7:51 PM
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    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 6:05 PM
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    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 6:05 PM
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    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 4:33 PM
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    goCapsRavens Added 5 roots

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 4:30 PM
  • goCapsRavens It's over.

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 4:30 PM
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    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 3:37 PM
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    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 11:44 AM
  • ekabrazi Indians vs Yanks ... GDawg & his envy .. how cute ... but that is just the 270-sumthing coming out in him?!?!? Ohh well ... it is just a damn shame that he can not get better picks?!?!?! Wife or no wife pickn for me .... Indians are gonna wrap this crap up ... Sox/Indians is gonna be good ... Just maybe the Yankee's will show up, cancel next weeks tee times & save Torre's ASS!!! Sox/Yanks would be a killer series .. but ohh well .. 270th place .. 270 Million in payroll .... Hmmmmmmm coincidence .. I think not?!?!? ... Oh yeah ... f face ... it's Poseur! ~ a person who attempts to impress others by assuming or affecting a manner, degree of elegance, sentiment, etc., other than his or her true one. ~ Dude ... if you are gonna use it .. At least use it right!!!

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 11:44 AM
  • GDawg Unfortunately, it's only a matter of time. The Yanks are done, the best they could've hoped for is to avoid and embarrassing sweep, which they did. Even if they sneak by the Tribe again today, it'll be all over once they return to the reservation for Game 5. Anyway, I hope they don't make it to the ALCS because the Sox would put mustard and relish on their asses and have then for lucnh. One last thing,...ekabrazi is a "Poser",...his WIFE makeshis picks !!!

    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 11:11 AM
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    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 10:50 AM
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    Indians vs. YankeesOct 8 10:40 AM