Friday, October 17, 2008
The Rays, as they've tended to do the past week, jumped out to an early lead. The Sox flatly went down inning after inning. It seemed as though the Sox would exit the ALCS with a whimper. Fans left Fenway Park, I even started to write my "Looking Ahead to 2009" post about potential free agent acquisitions.
Then Jed Lowrie led off the bottom of the 7th with a single. Two outs later and Crisp hit a single. Pedroia's base hit knocked in Lowrie. Then Ortiz DESTROYED a ball that landed 15 rows deep. A little bit of hope.
Then Jason Bay walked in the 8th. Drew blasted one to right and it was a 1 run game. Kotsay doubled with 2 outs, and Crisp had one of the best at-bats I've seen in years. Ball, strike, ball, foul, ball, foul, foul, foul, foul, sharp single to right. Tied fucking game!!
Masterson navigated a hairy top of the 9th and the stage was set. A freak bounce robbed Pedroia of a basehit, Ortiz struck out, Longoria screwed up a groundball and Youkilis reached 2nd on the error. Bay was walked intentionally, and in stepped JD Drew, who has become a sort of Mr. October for the Red Sox the last two seasons. He got ahead in the count and drove a ground rule double over the right fielder, completing one of the most amazing comebacks in Red Sox/postseason/baseball history.
This was the 2nd largest comeback in playoff history, behind an 8 run turnaround by the 1929 Philadelphia Athletics. This was the first time the Rays lost a game they had been leading by 3 runs or more ALL YEAR. This was the 7th straight ALCS elimination game the Red Sox have won.
The Man of the Game is JD Drew, who was 2 for 4 with a homer and the walkoff ground-rule "single."
The series goes down to Tampa Bay. Josh Beckett faces James Shields Saturday night. There's still a lot of heavy work to do, but like a cornered animal, the Red Sox showed a fierce determination to stay alive.
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
AP Photo/Charles Krupa