The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have created plenty of memorable moments at Fenway Park heading into the venerable stadium's 100th anniversary.
The AL East archrivals, though, are both trying to shake off uneven starts in their first series of the season Friday while those centennial celebrations take place.
The teams met at Fenway for the first time on April 20, 1912, when Tris Speaker's 11th-inning single gave the Red Sox a 7-6 victory. While many former players will be in Boston for the festivities, their iconic rivalry versus the Yankees has included some of the sport's enduring moments and images over a century of baseball at Fenway Park:
- The "Curse of the Bambino" following Babe Ruth's trade from the Red Sox to the Yankees as the latter rose to power in the 1920s.
- Joe DiMaggio hitting safely twice at Fenway during his still-standing major league-record 56-game hitting streak in 1941 while fellow Hall of Famer Ted Williams went 16 for 35 in 11 home games versus New York en route to becoming the last player to hit .400 that same season.
- The Red Sox beating the Yankees in the final game of the 1948 season at Fenway to knock them from the AL pennant race.
- The "Boston Massacre" in 1978 when the Yankees swept a four-game road series as they erased a 14 1/2-game deficit in a division race eventually decided on a three-run homer by Bucky "Bleepin'" Dent over the 37-foot Green Monster in left field in a one-game playoff at Fenway.
- Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez throwing Yankees bench coach - and 1978 Red Sox skipper - Don Zimmer to the ground after he charged from the bench during the 2003 AL championship series that triggered a brawl.
- Dave Roberts' steal of second base the following year in the bottom of the ninth of Game 4 in the ALCS that ignited a Red Sox rally to win that game and an eventual stunning seven-game series victory after trailing 3-0. That led to the World Series title which finally ended the "curse."
``There'd be a revolution in this town if they got rid of Fenway Park,' said Gary Bell, a pitcher on the 1967 ``Impossible Dream' team that won the AL pennant after finishing ninth the previous year. ``They can't ever get rid of this place. Look at it. It's like a cathedral.'
The quirky dimensions of Fenway - the Green Monster, created in 1934 as part of a massive renovation project which stretches 228 feet in fair territory, the triangle in the deepest part of center field 420 feet from the plate, the 302-foot short porch down the right field line - all continue to endure and provide a distinct home-field advantage for the Red Sox and targets for opposing hitters.
"That's what makes it different than anywhere else,' said Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who has hit .256 with 15 home runs in 136 regular-season and playoff games at Fenway. ``I still aim for the wall. ... That's been my problem.'
Jeter has had few problems at the plate this season, carrying a 10-game hitting streak into Fenway while batting .373 overall. He had an RBI single in the second and came around to score on the second of Curtis Granderson's three home runs Thursday night when the Yankees (7-6) overcame a four-run first-inning deficit to beat Minnesota 7-6.
"A lot of work went into today before we actually stepped onto the field. Had some big issues with timing,' said Granderson, who doubled his season home run total.
While Jeter is 5 for 18 lifetime versus scheduled Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz (1-0, 9.82 ERA), Granderson has been unable to solve the right-hander - going 0 for 11 with six strikeouts. Buchholz gutted out a victory Saturday versus Tampa Bay, allowing five runs and six hits in seven innings as the Red Sox pulled away for a 13-5 win.
He is 2-3 with a 5.59 ERA in seven lifetime starts against the Yankees, but facing them at Fenway has stymied Buchholz, who is 0-2 with a 6.14 ERA in three outings.
Boston (4-8) has dropped three straight on its nine-game homestand after winning the first three. The Red Sox lost both their games to Texas, including a 6-3 setback Wednesday.
"We didn't pull it off in the end. We had some good at_bats," said Kevin Youkilis, who homered, to the team's official website. "It's nice to hit a home run, but when you don't win the ballgame, it really doesn't matter."
Youkilis is 5 for 18 in his last five games after going 2 for 20 in his first five.
Yankees starter Ivan Nova (2-0, 4.15) hasn't enjoyed much success at Fenway with an 0-1 record and 6.75 ERA in two outings. He was able to pitch with a big lead Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels, yielding four runs and eight hits in six innings of an 11-5 victory.
The teams split eight games at Fenway last year, and the Yankees hold a 55-54 edge there since the start of the 2000 regular season.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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