March 30, 2005

ALCS 7: Red Sox 10, Yankees 3

We scare 'em shitless just by showin' up alive!

The Yankees truck in Russell Earl Dent to throw out the first pitch. ... Nice try, chumps.

Red Sox 1st: Facing Kevin Brown, Johnny Damon singles under Alex Rodriguez's dive into left. Damon steals second before Mark Bellhorn strikes out. Manny Ramirez singles to Derek Jeter's left, Damon is thrown out at the plate, Hideki Matsui to Jeter to Jorge Posada. Manny's ball is not hit hard and Damon had to hesitate to see if Jeter would stop it from going through the infield. Matsui has the ball as Damon touches third and Posada blocks the dish nicely. Dead.

But before any Sox fan could really start complaining, up steps David Ortiz. First pitch - BOOM! A bomb to right field. Boston 2, New York 0. As Derek Lowe said after the game, "When he hit that, we all relaxed!"

Yankees 1st: Gary Sheffield ends the inning by looking at strike three from Lowe, a filthy curveball that made Sheffield flinch, if not actually buckle his knees.

Red Sox 2nd v Brown:
Trot Nixon: bbcb - grounds out shortstop to first.
Kevin Millar: cb - singles to center on pitch over and away.
Bill Mueller: bbbc - walks, Millar to second.
Mel Stottlemyre visit to mound.
Orlando Cabrera: cbsbbff - walks, Millar to third, Mueller to second.
Brown pulled (1.1 IP, 9 BF, 44 pitches); Javier Vazquez in.
Damon: first pitch grand slam to right, Millar, Mueller, Cabrera and Damon score.
Praise Jeebus! ... When Damon hit THAT, I relaxed.

Fox begins (already!) showing downcast Yankee fans, including Brian Cashman. The end-of-game shot of Billy Crystal was also worth the price of admission. ... New York scores once in the bottom of the third -- Miguel Cairo is hit by a pitch, steals second and scores on Jeter's single. Tim McCarver says he's "shocked" at the look on Jeter's face as he rounds first. To me, Jeter looks pissed, angry, desperate. It's 6-1 now. As Slappy grounds back to the mound for the second out, Mike Myers and Curtis Leskanic are warming up. And Pedro Martinez is taking off his jacket.

In the top of the fourth, Cabrera walks on seven pitches. Facing Vazquez for the second time tonight, Damon hits his second home run, this time a moonshot into the third deck. It gives Boston an 8-1 lead. After Vazquez walks Bellhorn and Ortiz, he is pulled for Loaiza. ... Yankee fan's sign: "It's Not Over" -- Now there's a bit of role reversal.

Fox shows Pedro tossing in the top of the sixth, but the talk from Joe Buck and McCarver at the time is that he's simply getting some throwing in before starting Game 1 of the World Series on Saturday night. Martinez is still warming in the bottom of the sixth ... and he comes into the game in the bottom of the seventh.

I cannot recall reading any reasonable explanation after this game for why Terry Francona brought Martinez in. Lowe had thrown only 69 pitches through six brilliant innings and had retired the last 11 batters -- every Yankee since Jeter's third inning single. Also Pedro had thrown 111 pitches two nights earlier. ... Did Pedro tell Tito to put him in? Did Tito think that Pedro deserved to get some revenge on the Yankee fans? ... Having Pedro pitch in this game meant he would not pitch the opening game of the World Series.

Whatever the reason, it turned on the Yankee Stadium crowd like throwing gas on a low flame. After one pitch to Matsui, the "Who's Your Daddy" chants were deafening and when Matsui drilled a 2-0 pitch into the right field corner for a double, the fans were going nuts. Bernie Williams followed with another double and the Yankees got their second run. Mike Timlin began warming up. ... Posada grounded out first-to-pitcher, but Kenny Lofton lined a single to center. Williams scored and it was 8-3. ... I was now begging Francona to pull Pedro.

Facing pinch-hitter John Olerud, Pedro started throwing heat -- Fox had him at 97 on one pitch -- and he struck out Olerud on a 95 mph fastball up and away. Martinez schooled Cairo -- 93 fastball fouled off, 96 fastball taken for a ball, 77 changeup swung on and missed, 96 fastball hit to Nixon in right for the third out. ... Maybe Francona is really a sadistic son of a bitch and he put Pedro in knowing it would rev up the crowd (in vain!) and the Red Sox would crush their hopes twice in one evening.

Boston scored single runs in the eighth (Bellhorn's home run off the right field pole) and ninth (singles by Nixon and Doug Mientkiewicz and a sac fly from Cabrera). ... McCarver, shortly after Bellhorn's HR: "I'm not too sure the Red Sox's coming back like they have belongs in the miraculous category, but it is overwhelming." Oh, Timmy, deal with it.

Final surprise: Two outs in the top of the ninth, Boston up 10-3, Joe Torre brings in Mariano Rivera. And the Yankee Stadium PA plays "Enter Sandman." ... I suppose it would look conspicuous if they did not play his entrance music, but hearing it when Rivera's team is down by seven runs in the last inning must have been embarrassing. ... Timlin started the bottom of the ninth, but Alan Embree ended it, getting Ruben Sierra to ground out to Pokey Reese. And the Boston Red Sox celebrate on the Yankee Stadium infield as 2004 American League champions.
Game 1 -- Yankees 10, Red Sox 7
Game 2 -- Yankees 3, Red Sox 1
Game 3 -- Yankees 19, Red Sox 8
Game 4 -- Red Sox 6, Yankees 4 (12)
Game 5 -- Red Sox 5, Yankees 4 (14)
Game 6 -- Red Sox 4, Yankees 2
Game 7 -- Red Sox 10, Yankees 3
Had 'em all the way!

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