This goes to the most exciting, exhilarating, exhausting game that involved a New England team. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a victory for the good guys. It just has to be an amazing contest.
Here are the nominees:
1/22: AFC Championship Game - Indianapolis Colts 38, New England Patriots 34
4/7: NCAA Hockey Championship - Michigan State 3, Boston College 1
4/20: Okajima Emerges - Boston Red Sox 7, New York Yankees 6
10/25: Soggy Comeback - Boston College 14, Virginia Tech 10
10/25: World Series Game 2 - Boston Red Sox 2, Colorado Rockies 1
11/4: Super Bowl XLI ½: New England Patriots 24, Indianapolis Colts 20
11/16: Celtics Hang on in Miami: Boston Celtics 92, Miami Heat 91
12/29: Pursuit of Perfection - New England Patriots 38, New York Giants 35
And the winner is…
World Series Game 2!
This was a great year for great games, as you can see from the nominees. I could have probably come up with 20 more great games to nominate, but I think this post is long enough as is, don’t you?
The Red Sox destroyed the Rockies 13-1 in Game 1 of the World Series, but Game 2 was the first nail in the coffin. It was a neo-classical pitcher’s duel, and by that I mean it turned into a battle of bullpens.
Curt Schilling got the start for the Sox, and the Rockies went ahead 1-0 in the first inning. A hit batter, an infield single, and a throwing error allowed Todd Helton to get an RBI groundout. The Red Sox got a few free passes in the following innings, but didn’t get a hit until the 4th. That’s when Colorado starter Ubaldo Jimenez was figured out by none other than JD Drew. Drew’s base hit advanced Lowell - who had walked - to third. Varitek hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Lowell and tying the game at 1-1.
In the bottom of the 5th, a two out walk to Ortiz, followed by a Ramirez single, set-up Lowell. The soon-to-be World Series MVP hit a double off the Monster to score Ortiz and give the Sox a 2-1 lead.
Then it was Schilling’s turn to come undone. After Matt Holliday singled and Todd Helton walked, Francona hooked Schilling, replacing him with Okajima. Hideki got out of the jam with a groundout and a strikeout. He retired the side in order in the 7th, and struck out the first two men he faced in the 8th before being relieved by Papelbon. Okajima retired 7 straight batters, four via strikeout.
The Red Sox came close to adding on to their lead, but were unable to get the big hit. It was up to Papelbon to save the game.
Papelbon’s first batter was the dangerous Matt Holliday, who reached on an infield single. But Jonathan had something tricky up his sleeve. Knowing that opponents know he doesn’t throw to first very often, he baited Holliday into taking a big lead. Papelbon gunned a pickoff throw to first, beating Holliday and ending the top of the 8th in dramatic fashion.
Papelbon pitched a 1-2-3 9th, striking out Helton to begin the inning, and Hawpe to end the inning and the game.
The nerve wracking win all but sewed up the World Series. The red hot Rockies had been derailed in a 13-1 blowout, then a 2-1 nail-biter. They seemed off. They couldn’t get the big hit, and their pitchers were being brutally exposed.
The Red Sox would win Game 3 10-5, then wrap up the Series with a 4-3 win in Game 4. But Game 2 was the back-breaker. Colorado wanted desperately to split the games in Boston, but were forced to go back to Denver empty handed, with 2 demoralizing losses under their belts, and a ferocious Red Sox team circling for the kill.