Rays - 203 000 200 - 7 8 1ALIVE!
Red Sox - 000 000 431 - 8 11 0
Tampa Bay was seven outs away from the American League pennant -- and the Red Sox were down by seven runs.
The Rays recorded only six of those outs -- and the Red Sox scored eight times to complete the greatest comeback by any team facing elimination and the second biggest comeback in post-season/World Series history and send this ALCS back to Florida.
David Ortiz's three-run dong to right in the seventh was a big blow -- cutting the lead from 7-1 to 7-4 -- but it was J.D. Drew who was the hero. After Jason Bay walked on four pitches to start the eighth inning, Drew clubbed a two-run shot to right off J.P. Howell to bring Boston to within 7-6. With two outs, Mark Kotsay doubled off B.J. Upton's glove in deep left-center and Coco Crisp capped off a 10-pitch at-bat with a line drive single to right. Gabe Gross's throw did not make the infield on the fly and Kotsay scored the tying run.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Kevin Youkilis reached second base on a throwing error by Evan Longoria. Jason Bay was walked intentionally. Drew then lined a 3-1 pitch over Gross's head in right field and Yook scored the game-winning run.
***Crisp, CF Iwamura, 2B
Pedroia, 2B Upton, CF
Ortiz, DH Pena, 1B
Youkilis, 3B Longoria, 3B
Bay, LF Crawford, LF
Drew, RF Floyd, DH
Lowrie, SS Navarro, C
Varitek, C Gross, RF
Kotsay, 1B Bartlett, SS
BR Preview: Scott Kazmir / Daisuke Matsuzaka
Fact: Tampa Bay is three games away from elimination. The Rays have been conducting a Totally Kicking Ass 101 seminar since last Saturday, but the real ALCS begins tonight. Fenway Park will be rocking. We will make our own destination.
Joe Maddon has altered his pitching rotation, not to go for the kill in Game 5, but to set his team up for a better Game 6 matchup. Big mistake, Joe. Big. Tito the Assassin knows that when you have your target lined up in your sights, you fucking fire. You don't stop and check if your shoelaces are tied.
Choosing Kazmir over Shields has left the ALCS door a bit more open than it was 24 hours ago - and the Large Father & Co. are gonna barge in and make themselves at home. Backs to the wall -- win or go home -- "got to make it interesting" -- this is what we do -- and this is when we do it -- because "If you wear a Red Sox uniform jersey, you're a bad motherfucker."
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now
Bob Dylan - "Mississippi"
It worked in 2004. It worked in 2007. It'll work in 2008.
One. One game. One win. That's all.***
Not three, not two.
Matsuzaka, October 21, 2007:
I don't know if the term "switched on" is the right term or the right way to describe, but I am all on for [tonight].