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Steve Wulf
October 15, 1990
The Oakland A's lived up to their billing by stifling the Red Sox in Boston
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October 15, 1990

'one Helluva Team'

The Oakland A's lived up to their billing by stifling the Red Sox in Boston

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A 29-year-old rookie, born in Sleepy Eye, Minn., Kiecker would have made a nice story had Boston won. He might have even joined Michael Jordan and Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled in the pantheon of athletes who stick their tongues out while they work. But his future fame, and any chance the Red Sox had of making this a series, rested on the tired shoulders of the bullpen. The CITGO sign was blinking.

Mike Gallego and Henderson both singled to lead off the seventh, and Andersen came on to relieve Greg Harris, who had relieved Kiecker. Two batters later, Baines ripped a shot down the first base line. Quintana made a diving stop of the ground ball and threw to first for the force, but the lead run had scored. It was 2-1 and, just as the night before, it seemed a heavily lopsided 2-1.

Boston blew golden opportunities in the sixth and eighth. Brunansky, the hero of the previous two weeks, grounded out with the bases loaded in the sixth. With one out in the eighth, Boggs and Burks chased Welch off with singles. Greenwell grounded back to reliever Rick Honeycutt, who turned to throw to second for a possible double play. The throw was low, however; shortstop Walt Weiss was upended by the sliding Burks and had to leave the game with a sprained knee.

Runners at first and third. Was there hope? No, there was Eckersley. The Eck was summoned to face Dwight Evans, and he struck him out on three fastballs. "Up, up and up," Eckersley described them. "He hit a grandslammer off me last year, so I guess we're even."

Completing the sense of d�j� vu, the A's scored in the top of the ninth to seal things, this time with two runs off the Red Sox closer, Jeff Reardon. Boston then went down 1-2-3, as Eckersley mercifully cut the playing time to a mere three hours and 42 minutes—surely some kind of a record for a 4-1 game. The fans went home resigned to the fact that they wouldn't be back. Said Eckersley, "The Red Sox have given Boston a lot of excitement this summer. But we really didn't want to be a part of any of that."

Said Morgan, "You look back and ask, 'How did the Dodgers beat those guys?' It can be done." It was not impossible, of course, but the Red Sox headed to Oakland down two games to none, and only two teams in the history of postseason play have won a best-of-seven series after losing the first two at home. Worse yet, Morgan's best chestnut was now only 6-4.

Actually, the most frightening aspect of the Boston Massacre was the low visibility of the Hendersons, Dave and Rickey. Dave, who has seven homers and 19 RBIs in 30 postseason games but is not fully recovered from a knee injury, didn't even play last weekend. Rickey, who nearly singlehandedly destroyed the Toronto Blue Jays in last year's ALCS, was held to three singles and one stolen base. He did hit two long fly balls to straightaway center in Game 2, and after the game he said, "I guess I'm just gonna have to lift some more weights." As if that pronouncement weren't ominous enough, Rickey was wearing a T-shirt that read: OAKLAND, CALIF. CRIME SCENE. DO NOT ENTER.

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