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Division Series Game 3
October 8, 2004 • Fenway Park, Boston

Red Sox 8, Angels 6 (10 innings)

Box Score

        1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10  R  H  E
____________________________________  _______

Anaheim 0  0  0  1  0  0  5  0  0  0  6  8  2
Boston  0  0  2  3  1  0  0  0  0  2  8 12  0

The Red Sox came back to Fenway up two games to none in the best-of-five series. It was an unfamiliar position for Red Sox fans, after we watched them go down 0-2 to Oakland in 2003 and Cleveland in 1999. But we also remembered the Sox' comebacks in both those years, winning the final three games each time to advance to the ALCS. They certainly needed to finish of the Angels in Game 3, and not allow them the chance for a similar comeback. As a Tenth Man Plan holder, I was able to buy a Division Series ticket. However, we didn't get to choose which game it was for, and I had been assigned Game 4, if necessary. I had also been told that if the game we had been assigned did not get played, we'd get a ticket to the next round instead. But who knows what game that would end up being for, and whether it would be played. The important thing was to finish off the Angels tonight, even if I didn't get to go the next day. Better to win and miss seeing it than to not win at all!

Trot Nixon and Kevin Millar knocked in runs in the third to give the Sox a 2-0 lead. It was 2-1 after Troy Glaus homered for the Angels in the fourth. But the Red Sox didn't waste any time, scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning on two hits and two errors, and knocking Anaheim starter Kelvim Escobar from the game in the process. Singles by Bill Mueller, Johnny Damon, and Manny Ramirez gave the Sox another run in the fifth, for a comfortable 6-1 lead.

Bronson Arroyo was pitching brilliantly in his first career postseason start. He had only allowed three hits over the first six innings. So it was a little surprising when Terry Francona lifted him after only 91 pitches when he walked Jeff DaVanon to start the seventh. But when Casey Kotchman was announced as a pinch-hitter for Bengie Molina, Francona went to the 'pen, bringing Mike Myers in. Mike Scoscia countered by sending Jose Molina up instead, and he walked. Adam Riggs was announced as a pinch-hitter for Dallas McPherson, so Tito brought in Mike Timlin, prompting the Angels to send up Curtis Pride. It was clear that both managers were prepared to pull out all the stops to win this game! Timlin got Pride to pop up for the first out, but then David Eckstein hit a single, loading the bases. After Timlin struck out Chone Figgins, he walked Darin Erstad to force in a run. It was still 6-2 Red Sox, but that brought Vladimir Guerrero to the plate. Always a hot hitter, Guerrero had had some big hits against the Sox during the regular season and in the earlier games of this series. This game was no exception, and he hit a grand slam to right field to tie the game.

A hush came over the Fenway crowd. Arroyo had been cruising along and then just like that it was tied. Often a clutch hit like that can shift the tide of the game, and in a short series, that could have an even more devastating effect. We had to just cling to the belief that with the game at Fenway Park, the team could come up with some kind of magic to win it. Both teams' bullpens kept things quiet through the ninth. Alan Embree and Keith Foulke shut down the Angels, and Brendan Donnelly and Francisco Rodgriguez kept the Sox from scoring. Derek Lowe came on for the tenth. He had been upset when it was announced that he was the odd man out of the rotation, and would be working from the bullpen instead for the playoffs. I wasn't sure what to expect from him. He had certainly had success in the past, particularly in the postseason, but he had struggled throughout most of the regular season this year. He allowed two baserunners, but got out of the inning.

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In the bottom of the tenth, Damon led off with a hit. Bellhorn replaced him on a fielder's choice, and Pokey Reese came in to pinch-run. After Manny Ramirez struck out, there were two outs, but David "Big Papi" Ortiz was at the plate. The Angels didn't have any left-handed relievers, so Scoscia brought in lefty Jarrod Washburn, who had started Game 1. Papi launched the first pitch he saw from Washburn into the Green Monster seats for a walk-off game-winning, series-clinching homer! Fenway Park erupted in joy. The Red Sox were going to the American League Championship Series for the second year in a row. In the clubhouse, Big Papi hopped up and down, wearing goggles that were no match for the steady stream of bubbly provided by his teammates. The sweep meant they had three full days to rest before starting the ALCS, which would allow them to set their rotation the way they wanted. All that was left to do now was to await the winner of the Twins-Yankees series.

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