Tim Wakefield couldn't catch a break on Sunday. Call it bum luck. Though it would have seemed improbable at the start, on a day in which he may have pitched the finest game of his career, he ended up losing a heartbreaking 1-0 contest.
Wakefield made only one mistake, giving up a homer to the resurgent Jason Giambi that just stayed fair and hooked around the right field foul pole at Yankee Stadium. The run came in the first, and was the only one that Wakefield would allow all afternoon. Unfortunately, it was one run too many. It was one more than Randy Johnson allowed during their duel. Johnson, who has struggled in his first season in New York, perhaps under the intense pressure and media scrutiny, rose to the occasion and pitched a gem of his own.
Wakefield gave up just three hits, struck out a career-high 12 batters, and went the distance in a complete game effort. Meanwhile, Johnson was able fan eight Boston batters, while surrendering just one hit. It was vintage Unit. He provided just the type of performance that we've come to expect from him in his Hall of Fame-type career. It was just Wakefield's luck. How often does a guy strike out 12 and give up three hits in a complete game, and yet be overshadowed by his counterpart? Not often.
Wakefield's knuckle ball moved brilliantly, baffling Yankee hitters and leaving them commiserating in dismay in the dugout. Doug Mirabelli even said that he had a tough time catching the knuckler today. Yet Wakefield issued only one walk in his commanding performance.
Unfortunately for Wakefield, and the Sox, he came up against a legend - and a determined one at that. Johnson turned 42 on Saturday, but pitched like he was 32 and in his prime on Sunday.
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