NEW YORK – A day after giving Boston ace Curt Schilling a pounding, the New York Yankees (search) look to take a 2-0 lead over Pedro Martinez (search) and the Red Sox (search) in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series (search) on Wednesday night. Martinez (16-9) faces Jon Lieber (14-8).
Mariano Rivera showed up in time to save the Yankees Tuesday night, finishing out a thrilling 10-7 win in the series opener. Shortly after jetting back from a funeral for relatives in Panama, the closer stopped Boston after the Red Sox had cut an eight-run deficit to one.
Meanwhile, the National League Championship Series (search) gets underway Wednesday night when the Houston Astros take on the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Astros have one of the best pitching tandems in all of baseball, but with no time to rest, Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt have been aced out of starting the first two games.
Instead, Houston hopes Brandon Backe (5-3) can shut down the likes of Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds in the opener at Busch Stadium. He faces St. Louis' Woody Williams (11-8).
Pete Munro gets the ball for Game 2 for the Astros, who are coming off their first postseason series win in team history.
Backe, a converted outfielder from the Tampa Bay system, and Munro, cut by Minnesota in June, began the season in the minors. Together, they combined for nine wins in the majors.
"We don't feel handicapped in any way whatsoever," Astros manager Phil Garner said Tuesday. "This is what it took for us to get here. This is what we'll go with."
Garner leaned on his two aces to get the Astros through the first round of the playoffs. Both pitched on three days' rest, with Oswalt winning the decisive Game 5 in Atlanta on Monday night.
Clemens and Oswalt each went 2-0 against the Cardinals this year. Now, they're pushed back to pitching over the weekend in Houston.
In New York, Hideki Matsui tied an ALCS record Tuesday night with five RBIs, four off Schilling. Schilling, who led the major leagues with 21 wins, had been 6-0 in nine postseason starts since 1993, never allowing more than two earned runs.
His right ankle, which he injured in September and aggravated last week against Anaheim, was injected with a painkiller, and he had trouble pushing off the pitching rubber.
New York's Mike Mussina was perfect through six innings before Mark Bellhorn doubled on a drive that hit the left-field wall on a hop with one out in the seventh. Bernie Williams drove in three runs, including a two-run double in the eighth that gave Rivera some breathing room.
Rivera got Kevin Millar to pop out to strand the tying run at third base in the eighth inning, then finished out the win.
He returned home to Panama on Sunday after two relatives were electrocuted in his swimming pool. Earlier Tuesday, he attended the funeral services, then boarded a private jet provided by the Yankees for the trip to New York. About six hours later, he was back at the ballpark, and by the fifth inning he was in the bullpen.