Posted: Monday October 11, 1999 01:24 AM
BOSTON (Ticker) -- On a night they forced a one-game season, the Boston Red Sox did more than enough scoring for an entire series.
The Red Sox staged the newest version of the Boston Massacre, setting major league postseason records for runs and hits in a 23-7 rout of the Cleveland Indians that evened their American League Division Series at two wins apiece.
The fifth and deciding game is Monday night in Cleveland, where the Red Sox will try to become just the second team to win a Division Series after losing the first two games. The Seattle Mariners rallied to defeat the New York Yankees in 1995, the first year of the new format.
"Well, it was embarrassing. It was humiliating," Indians catcher Sandy Alomar said. "But the good part about it is none of those runs mean anything tomorrow. Tomorrow is 0-0 and we're not playing in this ballpark."
John Valentin homered twice and tied a postseason record with seven RBI for the Red Sox, who shattered the playoff mark of 18 runs set by the New York Yankees in the 1936 World Series against the New York Giants.
The 24 hits eclipsed the mark of 22 by Atlanta in the 1996 National League Championship Series against St. Louis. Boston set other postseason records with 12 extra-base hits, 48 at-bats, 44 total bases and win margin.
The Red Sox scored at least two runs in each of the first five innings and led 15-2 after four frames.
The Red Sox were trounced by the Indians, 11-1, in Game Two and have returned the favor the last two days at Fenway Park. Boston had a six-run seventh inning -- its biggest postseason frame in 24 years -- in a 9-3 win on Saturday.
"We savor this victory tonight. It was a nice victory. A key victory in a playoff game," Red Sox manager Jimy Williams said.
"We did some things really, really well offensively as a unit.
It's a one-gamer now."
Valentin homered and drove in three runs in Game Three and kept swinging a hot bat tonight, delivering two-run homers in the first and third innings and a three-run double in the fourth.
"Tonight was a very special night for the Red Sox and it was a very special night for me," Valentin said. "But I'm not going to look back on what I did until the series is over. Our goal is still to win a world championship."
He tied the postseason RBI record set by Edgar Martinez of Seattle against the Yankees in 1995 and equaled by Mo Vaughn of the Red Sox last season against Cleveland.
Jose Offerman and Jason Varitek also homered for Boston, which still has reason for concern as it heads to Jacobs Field.
Likely Cy Young award winner Pedro Martinez, forced to leave Game One due to a back strain, is not healthy enough to pitch on Monday night. Game Two loser Bret Saberhagen will start against Charles Nagy.
Offerman drove in five runs, Mike Stanley had five hits and Varitek scored five times in the victory.
The Red Sox received a boost from the return of star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who missed Saturday's game with a sore right wrist. He had one hit in three at-bats before leaving after six innings with the contest out of hand.
"Everybody clearly contributed. Twenty-three runs again tomorrow, we'll take that," Garciaparra said.
Indians manager Mike Hargrove started Bartolo Colon (0-1) on three days rest for the first time in his career and it was a disaster. Colon was gone after failing to retire any of the five batters he faced in the second inning and was charged with six runs and seven hits.
"I felt good physically, but I did't throw the way I did in Cleveland," said Colon, who pitched eight strong innings in Game One. "I threw a breaking ball to Valentin early, the one he hit for a home run. This is a tough ballpark to throw a lot of breaking balls to right-handed hitters."
Colon allowed a two-run homer to Valentin in the first before the nightmarish second, which Boston opened with six straight hits.
Stanley, Varitek and Darren Lewis singled to bring home the first run and Trot Nixon blasted a two-run double off the center-field wall to make it 5-2.
Offerman followed with a two-run homer the opposite way to left field, finishing Colon. Valentin greeted Steve Karsay with a single before the reliever worked out of the inning.
The Red Sox kept the pressure on Karsay in the third with a double by Varitek, a single by Lewis and a sacrifice fly by Nixon. One out later, Valentin made it a double-digit night for Boston with a two-run homer over the "Green Monster."
Steve Reed was the sacrificial lamb in the five-run fourth.
Garciaparra was hit by a pitch and later scored on a double by Varitek. Offerman singled home a run and Valentin lined a three-run double to increase the lead to 15-2.
Boston starter Kent Mercker was not around long enough to enjoy the prosperity. He struggled with his control and was lifted after allowing two runs, three hits and three walks in 1 2/3 innings.
Manager Jimy Williams used five relievers, with Rich Garces (1-0) following Mercker and allowing one run in 2 1/3 innings.
The Indians scored three times off Tim Wakefield in a four-run fifth.
The Red Sox scored three times in the fifth on an RBI triple by Stanley and a two-run homer by Varitek off Reed, who was charged with eight runs and seven hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Boston added a two-run double by Nixon and an RBI single by Offerman in the seventh, increasing the lead to 21-6. Scott Hatteberg had an RBI single and Offerman drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth.
Cleveland scored the initial run of the game on a groundout by Roberto Alomar in the first.
Wil Cordero homered in the ninth off Tom Gordon for the 30th run of the game, breaking the postseason mark set when Toronto defeated Philadelphia, 15-14, in the 1993 World Series.
Cleveland's Manny Ramirez, who drove in 165 runs in the regular season, was 0-for-3 and is hitless in 15 at-bats in the series.
The fifth and deciding game will be just the third since Division Series play began. The Indians were involved in the most recent one, defeating the Yankees in 1997.
Boston has first two-game winning streak in postseason play since capturing Games One and Two of the 1986 World Series against the New York Mets.