22 October 2007

After a weekend of sporting disaster

As a Scottish member of the BoSox nation, for those not au fait with Baseball that is what us fans of the Boston Red Sox are known as, I had a sleepless night last night.

Game 7 of the American League Championship Series fell on Five's normal Sunday scheduled basball night. So having recovered from 3-1 down during the week to take the series to the deciding game us UK fans were guaranteed at least one more look at the Green Monster, an iconic 37 foot high wall, at Boston's Fenway Park for this year. The Sox starting well getting the first hitter in each of the first 3 innings unto base and scoring a run as a result. However, two double plays (that is a hit that results in two men getting out) helped keep the Cleveland Indians in it as many runners were left on base. At the same time Boston's Japanese Starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka retired the entire Cleveland team in order for no hits.

The Middle three innings saw Cleveland fight back with two runs scoring. But there also controversy in the fifth when after collecting the ball off the Green Monster in his ungloved hand, fired it to second base, where the umpire ruled that Kenny Lofton had been tagged out by Dustin Pedroia. TV replays showed that the tag did not occur until after Lofton's left hand was securely on the bag.

However, after a solid defensive game and series by both teams the errors started to happen in the final third. An error by shortstop Julio Lugo allowed Kenny Lofton to finally make it to second base. From there he set off when Franklin Gutierrez hit a line drive down the third base line, but it ricocheted off the photo boxes and out into the outfield where Manny Ramirez was bearing down on the ball. Lofton was held up. But Japanese reliever Hideki Okajima got out of his own mess without allowing Cleveland to trouble to scoreboard operator.

The bottom half of the inning again saw Pedroia take centre stage. After Casey Blake possibly worried about Jacoby Ellsbury's pace allowed the rookie to ease to second base when he should have been held at first, up stepped Pedroia. Relief pitcher Rafael Betancourt, after giving up his first hit of the series to Ellsbury, then could only watch as Pedroia leaned back and let one rip up into the first row of the Monster seats, the smallest man in the game had come up with the biggest hit.

There was more to come in the bottom of the eighth when first Kevin Youkilis fired a homer which hit the Coke bottle part of an advertisement over the Green Monster for a home run double. Before Perroia followed up with the bases loaded to hit a drive through the centre to score three more. Making the final score 11-2, if the Red Sox repeat their World Series win of 2004, which wiped out the Curse of the Bambino, in the year that 4 time winning manager Joe Torres walks from fierce Divisional rivals the New York Yankees many hope it is the start of a transfer of power in the AL East, that might last as long as the curse.

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