Talking Baseball

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Posted by Jon on Thursday, October 21, 2004

Bringing Down the House that Ruth Built

I'll never forget it.

On Sunday, everybody in Fenway Park knows he's stealing second. Then Dave Roberts scores the tying run on a Bill Mueller single with Mariano Rivera on the mound. Roberts slides feet-first into homeplate, pops up, and in one motion jumps, spins, lets out a triumphant scream, and pumps his fist.

It was the beginning of the end for the Yankees, and the beginning of something extraordinary for the Red Sox.

Who wasn't a Red Sox hero in this series? Ortiz carried the team through the streak. Belhorn and Damon, who stumbled through the beginning of the series, were the heroes of Games Six and Seven. Lowe pitched as well as I've ever seen him throw the ball. Schilling threw a bloody good game. Foulke threw 100 pitches in a span of three days and made five appearances. He saved game after game, but only recorded one save. Wakefield tossed three gutsy innings of his own to stave off the Game Five Yankees. Mueller's RBI single off Rivera. Cabrera getting on base wherever he hit in the lineup. There was no thunder to Manny's bat, but he was on base an average of about two times per game, time and time again on first with Ortiz at the plate. Varitek caught every inning of the long series, stabbing just enough of Wake's floaters, and bashing the Game Five-tying sacrifice fly -- not to mention his crucial and much-overlooked Game Six battle and eventual RBI single in the fourth inning to give Boston the lead. Arroyo came through from the pen. Millar with the Game Four walk. Roberts stole two games from New York. Nixon and Kapler patrolled left effortlessly. Leskanic and Embree shut down the big boppers in pinstripes when they had to. Timlin fought and bridged it to Foulke. Myers got the out that counted. Pedro was Pedro, terrific until the sixth inning. And it was Reese to Meintkiewicz, who's timely hits and gold glove at first cannot be understated, for the final out.

But the biggest surprise of them all: Francona managed a hell of a series. It takes a lot of luck and fantastic performances to accomplish what the Red Sox accomplished, but aside from Pedro's relief appearance, Terry made all the right moves from Game Four to Game Seven.

For Boston fans, baseball just reached an 86-year emotional climax.

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