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1999 Season Highlights

April 5 - Opening Day
Pedro beats Kansas City 5-3, striking out nine. Offy goes 4-5 with a double and a triple, and Valentin launches a home run.

April 23 - The Big Fight
After over a week of struggling to score runs and a quick drop in the standings, the Sox meet up with Cleveland. Jaret Wright, who beaned Darren Lewis in last year's playoffs, drills D-Lew again, igniting a fight on the field and an offensive explosion at the plate. The Sox lose the game 11-7, but go on to beat the Tribe the next two nights and get the offense back in gear.

May 2 - I Feel Sick
Kip Gross is forced into emergency service as a starter, and Creighton Gubanich's first major league hit is a grand slam. The Sox lead Oakland 7-0 after two innings, then blow the lead and take an 11-11 tie into the tenth inning. Tim Harikkala issues a bases-loaded walk to force in the winning run.

May 7 - The Return of Mo
Mo Vaughn comes to Fenway for the first time as an Anaheim Angel. He goes 0-4 against Pedro, including two strikeouts. Pedro fans 15 Angels, a new career high. Mo will go on to finish the year 3-20 against the Red Sox.

Pedro pitches his way to the Cy May 10 - Nomar's Big Night
Nomar hits two grand slams and a two-run homer for a very special 10-RBI night, as the Sox beat Seattle 12-4.

May 18 - Movin’ on Up
With a thrilling win over the Yankees, the Red Sox move into sole possession of first place! Pedro Martinez doesn't have his best stuff, but still manages to hold the Yankees to two runs while fanning 11. It's Pedro's 7th consecutive 10-K game. Mike Stanley goes 2-3 with a home run against his former team.

May 19 - Rose’s '99 Debut
The Red Sox beat the Yankees for the second straight game, thanks to Brian Rose and Jason Varitek. In Rose’s first game of the season, he pitches seven shutout innings, allowing only six hits, all singles. Meanwhile, Varitek provides the offense, going 4-4 for the first time in his career and belting two home runs. The lead atop the East increases to 1 1/2 games.

May 29 - The Night of the Fives
The Red Sox beat Cleveland in a wild game. Tim Wakefield gives up 5 runs in 5 innings, but apparently his knuckleball is really floating, since Jason Varitek is charged with 5 passed balls, one short of the major league record. Varitek redeems himself at the plate, however, hitting a 437-foot home run and two doubles. Nomar Garciaparra adds two home runs of his own, and the Red Sox finish with 5 homers. Derek Lowe pitches four perfect innings to earn a save despite the 12-5 score.

May 30 - Sox Take the Jake
Red Sox complete a sweep of the Indians in Cleveland. Nomar hits another home run - his fourth in the three games - and Brian Rose takes a perfect game into the sixth. The Tribe is swept at home in a three-game series for only the second time since Jacobs Field opened in 1994. The Red Sox wrap up their 20-8 May on top in the East. Pedro is Pitcher of the Month and Nomar is Player of the Month.

June 5 - Flash's Blown Save
Tom Gordon allows a 2-run double to Javy Lopez. It's his first blown save after successfully converting a Major League record 54 in a row. The Sox rally to tie the game back up, but lose anyway. Less than two weeks later, Gordon is placed on the D.L. and is out until the end of September.

July 13 - The All-Star Game
The 70th All-Star Game is held at Fenway Park. Before the game, 33 candidates for an All-Century Team are introduced. Most of the living players are in attendance, including former Red Sox greats Carlton Fisk, Carl Yastrzemski, Roger Clemens, and Dennis Eckersley. Ted Williams throws out the first pitch, but not before tipping his cap to the fans and chatting with the All-Century players and current All-Stars in an emotional moment on the mound. Then the game begins, and Pedro Martinez is the star. He strikes out all three players he sees in the first inning - Barry Larkin; Larry Walker, who leads the N.L. with a .382 average; and Sammy Sosa, who leads the league with 32 homers at the break. In the second inning, he fans single-season home run king Mark McGwire, and after Matt Williams reaches on an error, Pedro strikes out Jeff Bagwell, too. Meanwhile, the A.L. offense scores four runs, giving Pedro the victory, 4-1, over the National League. His stunning 5-strikeout performance earns him the game's M.V.P. honors. It’s the first time in history anyone has struck out the first 4 batters in an All-Star Game. Nomar Garciaparra, in his first game back after a hamstring injury, plays 2 innings and flies out in both at-bats, but leaves to a thunderous ovation when he is replaced by Derek Jeter at the start of the fourth. Jose Offerman goes hitless in his only at-bat and commits an error in the 7th inning, but the night belongs to Pedro.

July 27 - Huskey Arrives
After a weekend where they lost two of three to the lowly Tigers (despite Trot Nixon’s three-homer display on Saturday) the Red Sox seem to have hit bottom. Cho is faltering, Ohka’s debut is a disaster, and the surging Blue Jays have taken over the wild card lead. And worst of all, Pedro is on the D.L. But then Butch Huskey arrives in time for a crucial two-game series against Toronto. Butch goes 3-5 in the first game, then belts two home runs, including a grand slam, in the second. The Sox sweep the series and regain control of the wild card for good.

August 1 - Beating the Yanks
The weekend provides plenty of drama, as the Red Sox come from behind twice to beat the hated Yankees. Friday night is a disaster, as the Sox lose 13-3. For Saturday's game, local Sox hero Brian Rose faces off against his boyhood idol, the hefty, pinstriped traitor, Roger Clemens. The Sox score four runs in five innings off the Rocket, during which time his two wild pitches match his strikeout total for the day. Twice the Sox fall behind, but each time they come back, winning 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth, when John Valentin hits a bloop single to score Jose Offerman, who had led off with a triple. Offerman reaches base in all five plate appearances that day. On Sunday, the Yanks once again take their familiar two-run lead, but Bret Saberhagen pitches a brilliant seven innings, and home runs by Brian Daubach and Troy O'Leary and an RBI single from Nomar Garciaparra help the team build a 5-2 lead. Tim Wakefield comes on to start the eighth, and gives up two runs to cut the lead to 5-4, but he strikes out Derek Jeter in a dramatic 13-pitch at-bat. In the ninth, the Yankees load the bases, but Wakefield gets Jeter to ground out to second to end the game and give the knuckleballer his 14th save.

August 10 - Wakefield Strikes out Four in an Inning
In a game against the Kansas City Royals, homers by Troy O'Leary, Brian Daubach, and John Valentin help the team take a 5-3 lead. But then comes the bottom of the ninth. Tim Wakefield strikes out the first two batters. He strikes out the third batter, too, but a passed ball allows the runner to reach, and of course the next batter homers to tie the score at five. The next batter strikes out for the third out (and Wakefield's fourth strikeout of the inning!) In the tenth, the Sox score four runs, capped by Daubach's two-run double. In the bottom of the tenth, it nearly happens again, when another strikeout victim reaches base. But the Sox hang on to win it, as Rich Garces records the last out for the save.

August 14 - Pedro is Late
When Pedro Martinez arrives at Fenway late, his start is given to Bryce Florie. But Bryce pitches well in his emergency start, and the Sox provide plenty of offense. Jose Offerman hits a deep homer above the center field cameras. Brian Daubach goes 5-6, with 5 RBI. When Florie struggles in the fifth inning, he is relieved by Rheal Cormier, who gives up a single to the only batter he faces, but gets out of the inning on a controversial tag at the plate, when the runner attempts to score from second. Seattle manager Lou Piniella and third base coach Steve Smith are ejected when they argue the call. Pedro comes in to pitch in the sixth. He strikes out six in his four innings of work, and is awarded his 17th win, as the Sox pound the Mariners, 13-2.

Brian Daubach August 16 - Daubach’s Double
Before the game, Brian Daubach is named Player of the Week after hitting .500 for the week with 15 RBI, 3 home runs, 4 doubles, and 1 triple, while slugging 1.077. In this game against wild-card rival Oakland, Brian Rose struggles early, and the Sox trail the whole game. In the bottom of the ninth Jason Varitek, Butch Huskey, and Jose Offerman reach base. With two outs and the Sox down 5-3, Daubach comes to the plate. He works the count to 3-2, then fouls off four more pitches. Then he drives the ball deep down the right field line, a game-winning grand slam for sure - or is it? It is ruled foul, and Daubach returns to the plate. He smacks the very next pitch off the Green Monster, and Offerman scores the winning run.

September 1 - Beck’s First Save
The Red Sox win their sixth straight game, as they beat the Royals. Wilton Veras, called up the previous day to replace the ailing John Valentin, has a nice defensive play in the seventh, leaping to snare a line drive that would have scored a couple of runs. Newly-acquired closer Rod Beck arrives at the field mid-game, after flying across the country from Los Angeles. He makes it out to the bullpen in the fifth inning and begins to meet his new teammates. By the ninth, with the Sox up 4-3, he is called into action. Having never played in the A.L., he has never even been introduced to catcher Jason Varitek until he takes his warm-up tosses on the mound. But Beck needs only 11 pitches to dispose of the Royals and notch his first American League save.

September 10 - Pedro’s Outing in New York
In the middle of the crucial 12-game road trip, Pedro takes the mound at Yankee Stadium, and pitches possibly the greatest game of his career! He throws a complete game one-hitter, facing only one batter over the minimum. The lone hit is a home run by Chili Davis in the second, but even that is only Pedro's ninth home run of the season, and all nine have been solo shots. The Sox take over the lead when Mike Stanley hits a homer with Nomar Garciaparra aboard, and add an insurance run in the ninth on a triple by Wilton Veras and a single by Jose Offerman. Pedro strikes out the side in the fifth, seventh, and ninth innings, for a total of 17 in the game - a new career high! He fans every Yankee who comes to bat at least once. In fact, it is the first time in history that the Yankees have ever struck out 17 times in a game! The Yanks only manage to hit one fair ball after the 4th inning.

September 15 - The Road Trip Ends
The Red Sox finish up their longest road trip of the year, and are in the best shape they've been in all season. On the make-or-break 12-game trip against wild card rivals Seattle and Oakland and division leaders New York and Cleveland, the Sox exceed all expectations. When they left for the trip, they were two games ahead of Oakland in the wild card race, and 6.5 behind the Yankees in the division. After going 9-3 against the best teams the A.L. has to offer, they're now 3.5 ahead of the A's and 3.5 behind the Yankees. The final game in Cleveland exemplifies the whole season for the Red Sox. It starts with another dominating performance by Pedro Martinez, who strikes out 14 in 7 innings. In the third, he strikes out the 1500th batter of his career. He leaves with a 3-2 lead, but the usually-sharp Rich Garces is unable to hold it, allowing the Indians to take the lead, 4-3, in the eighth. But Jose Offerman, who had hit a two-run homer earlier, hits a sacrifice fly in the ninth to tie the game at 4. Rod Beck pitches three scoreless innings, and then in the top of the 13th, Jason Varitek and Trot Nixon homer, and the Sox win 6-4. Boston uses 15 position players, and while Offerman has 3 RBI and Nomar Garciaparra has two hits including a double, everybody contributes to the win. Pinch-runner Donnie Sadler scoots from first to third on a single, setting up the game-tying sacrifice fly. Jeff Frye and Damon Buford make great plays to prevent the Tribe from scoring. Catcher Scott Hatteberg legs out two infield hits. Beck believes his three-inning stint to be the longest of his career. Even John Wasdin throws 2 scoreless innings to earn the win. And remember this for the playoffs - the mighty Cleveland offense is 2-50 when batting against Derek Lowe and Rheal Cormier this season!

September 21 - Pedro Gets 292 and 300
Pedro Martinez has another brilliant outing! This one is a complete game shutout over the Toronto Blue Jays for his 22nd win of the year. In the third inning, Pedro records his 292nd strikeout of the year, breaking the Red Sox season record set by Roger Clemens in 1988. But he isn't done yet. In the ninth, he picks up his 12th strikeout of the game - his 300th of the year! In 1997 he struck out 305 for Montreal, making him only the second pitcher in baseball history (after Randy Johnson) to record 300 strikeouts in a season in both leagues. He's also only the second player (along with Nolan Ryan, who did it twice) to strike out 300 and win 20 games in the same year.

September 29 - Sox Clinch the Wild Card
With a 6-2 win over the Chicago White Sox, the Red Sox clinch a spot in the postseason. It's the first time they've qualified for the postseason in back-to-back years since 1915-1916. Kent Mercker picks up the win, and a two-run blast by Nomar Garciaparra proves to be the decisive blow. After Rod Beck disposes of the White Sox in the ninth, the team rushes onto the field for high-fives, and Pedro turns a cartwheel!

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