- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
No team had ever come into Fenway for the postseason and failed to score more than one run in two straight games, but Colorado left with that very indignity. The Sox had produced two well-pitched games for the ages, with Schilling, the grand master of October, true to form.
GAME 3, at
Under National League rules for Game 3 in Colorado, the Red Sox turned their postseason hits leader (Kevin Youkilis) into a designated sitter, started three rookies (Jacoby Ellsbury, Pedroia and Daisuke Matsuzaka) and lost the wonderfully claustrophobic confines of Fenway Park for the expansive, mile-high frontier that is Coors Field. None of it mattered. The Series continued to be played under the Red Sox' rules.
Once again Boston dictated the terms by wearing down a Colorado starting pitcher with brutally relentless at bats, leading the way to a 10-5 win. This time the Sox wore out Josh Fogg, sending him to the showers in the third inning with one of the worst starts in Series history: Fogg gave up 10 hits in less than three innings. In three games Colorado starters lasted only 11 1/3 innings—none of them clean—while being forced to throw 261 pitches. "It's the toughest lineup I've ever seen," said Colorado reliever Franklin Morales, who replaced Fogg. "We're paying for every mistake we make."
So deep was the Red Sox' onslaught that they pounded the Rockies even with no home runs and only one hit combined from Ortiz and Ramirez. The real trouble-makers were the three rookies. Ellsbury (who had three doubles among his four hits), Pedroia (three hits, two RBIs) and Matsuzaka (a two-run single for his first big league hit) either drove in or scored nine of Boston's 10 runs.
Ellsbury became only the third rookie with four hits in a World Series game, joining Joe Garagiola (1946) and Freddie Lindstrom (1924). His leadoff double in the third inning began a six-run explosion in which the Sox sent a conga line of nine consecutive batters to the plate with runners in scoring position to face Fogg.
Pedroia followed Ellsbury with an infield single, Ortiz sent a run home with a double, Ramirez was walked intentionally, and Lowell stroked a two-run single to make it 3-0. After Drew popped up, the march on Fogg continued: a single by Varitek, a walk to Julio Lugo, the two-run single by Matsuzaka and a run-scoring double by Ellsbury. Matsuzaka also provided 5 1/3 innings of three-hit ball, leaving with a 6-0 lead. Javier Lopez allowed two inherited runners to score, and Okajima gave up a massive three-run homer to Holliday to make it 6-5 in the seventh. No problem. Boston simply summoned more offense, scoring three times in the eighth on doubles by Ellsbury and Pedroia and adding another run in the ninth.
Just about everything was going right for the Sox. Even Ramirez, rarely talkative with the press, stepped up as resident team philosopher after Game 3, striking just the right tone in a confident but calm clubhouse. Said Ramirez, one win away from the championship, "You don't want to eat the cake before your birthday."
GAME 4, at
It was five minutes past midnight back in Boston when Papelbon walked off the Coors Field mound in Denver, rubbed up what would be the last baseball of the season and in his head heard the words Varitek had been telling him all October: Take it one pitch at a time.