Boston wasted a 5-3 lead, but rallied to win 7-5 on two bases-loaded walks by
Lavelle after cleanup hitter Buckner had sacrificed over Boggs and Rice. On
Sunday Lavelle was again the victim as the Red Sox rallied from a 6-3 deficit
to win 7-6. Hoffman had a two-run single and Evans the game-winning sacrifice
fly in the eighth. Afterward, Easler surveyed the scene in the clubhouse and
said, "Look, 12 to 14 guys are being interviewed, and none of them is named
Rice, Armas, Evans or Easler."
The one game
emblematic of the Red Sox' transformation came on June 10 against Milwaukee.
They reached the bottom of the ninth trailing the Brewers 2-1. Milwaukee rookie
Teddy Higuera, winner of the Fernando Valenzuela Clone Contest, had allowed
only a homer to Hoffman. Boggs, who has hit .387 since Memorial Day, led off
the ninth with a single that brought up the middle of the order. And what did
McNamara do? He had his 3-4 hitters each bunt. Buckner laid one down that went
foul for 60 feet. Then, much to Cecil Cooper's shock, the ball hit a pebble and
caromed into fair territory, and because Buckner had hustled down the line, he
ended up with an infield single.
enter Rollie Fingers. McNamara called Rice over. "Can you bunt?" he
been asked to since 1975, but I think I can," Rice replied.
mind?" McNamara asked.
"Not if you
think it'll help us win."
admitted that there was some symbolism in his move. "If the manager can
have Jim Rice bunt, then no one else here can question being asked to do
anything McNamara wants," Pitcher Bob Ojeda said admiringly. Not only that,
but McNamara also got lucky. Unaccustomed as he was to squaring around, Rice
fouled off two sacrifice attempts, the second off his foot. He then got a
Fingers forkball that didn't fork and sent it into the screen for a 330-foot
bunt. Boston 4, Milwaukee 2.
Well, Earl, the
Red Sox haven't changed altogether.