Valentin leads the way in record-setting Game 4
Posted: Monday October 11, 1999 12:58 AM
Bring your calculators: The scoreboard at Fenway tells the story of the explosive record-setting offense by the Red Sox. AP
BOSTON (AP) -- No, they didn't change uniforms. And no, that wasn't Manny Ramirez driving in all those runs.
That really was the Red Sox setting major-league postseason records with 23 runs and 24 hits against baseball's highest-scoring team since 1950, the Cleveland Indians.
And the seven RBIs? Boston's John Valentin got those, not Ramirez, whose 165 RBIs were the most in the majors since 1938. Valentin did it with two homers, a double and a single, all in the first four innings.
He had plenty of company, as Boston pounded five Cleveland pitchers in a 23-7 win Sunday: Trot Nixon and Jose Offerman each drove in five runs, Jason Varitek went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and a postseason record five runs, and Mike Stanley went 5-for-6.
The Red Sox hope they have enough strength left to swing the bats some more in Monday night's decisive fifth game in Cleveland.
At least they got there -- on a day in which they outscored 19 NFL teams.
A day earlier, that seemed about as unlikely as Valentin getting a hit.
They totaled three runs and 11 hits in losing the first two games at Cleveland, and he was 0-for-10 going into the bottom of the sixth of Game 3 with the score at 2.
Then everything changed.
Valentin's solo homer put the Red Sox ahead, but the third baseman's second costly throwing error of the series allowed Cleveland to tie the game in the seventh Saturday.
Valentin came up again in the bottom of the seventh and broke the tie with a two-run double. That started a six-run inning that gave the Red Sox a 9-3 win.
And on Sunday, he and the Red Sox earned several lines in next year's postseason record book.
The previous record for most runs in a postseason game was 18 by the New York Yankees in an 18-4 win over the New York Giants in the 1936 World Series. The previous record for most hits in a postseason game was 22 by Atlanta against St. Louis in Game 7 of the 1996 NL Championship Series.
Valentin's seven RBIs tied the division series record held by former teammate Mo Vaughn, who did it in last year's opener at Cleveland, and Seattle's Edgar Martinez.
His 11 total bases broke the division series record of 10 shared by Vaughn and Eric Karros of Los Angeles.
Valentin accomplished something that may be more amazing.
He came to bat in each of the last three innings Saturday and each of the first four Sunday. In those seven straight appearances, he homered, doubled, lined out to right, homered again, singled, homered yet again and doubled.
That added up to four runs and 10 RBIs in a span of just seven innings.
Pretty good for a player who hit just .253 with 12 homers and wasn't assured of a spot on the postseason roster until he returned from the disabled list on Sept. 23. He went on it Aug. 31 with tendinitis in his left knee.
Rookie Wilton Veras played well in his place. But Valentin assured his playoff spot by ending the season with a five-game hitting streak and staying healthy.
He finally was stopped Sunday when he struck out -- swinging, of course -- against Sean DePaula in the sixth. Valentin was due up in the seventh, but with the score 21-6, manager Jimy Williams sent up Donnie Sadler to pinch hit.
Naturally, Sadler doubled.
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