It’s harsh… but comebacks are meaningless unless they go all the way

The Phillies showed some resolve not being eliminated in 5.

So did the Angels… will ANYONE remember that?


If the Yankees win game 6 or 7, nobody will remember any fight the Phillies had.

Is that harsh?


Well let me ask you something?

Do you remember how much heart the Mets had in 1999?

How about how the Pirates got off the matt in 1992 and started beating a Braves team that seemed to be incredibly superior?

Do you remember how the 1972 Reds fought back in the World Series against the A’s?

Or the Impossble Dream Red Sox coming back from a 3-1 hole to force a game 7 in 1967?


If you remember 1999, it is Kenny Rogers walking in the winning rin.
Francisco Cabrera is the only thing anyone remember about the 1992 NLCS.
72 was about Joe Rudi and Gene Tenace.
Bob Gibson is what people remember about ’67.

Even the brilliant Red Sox comeback in the Rays series last year has been forgotten.

The only times anyone remembers a team that came back and lost was if there was a great homer or two.

People remember the 1975 Red Sox because of Carbo and Fisk.
The 2001 Yankees are remembered for the homers off of Kim by Tino, Jeter and Brosius.
The 2005 Cardinals are remembered because of Pujols homer off of Lidge.

So 2009 Phillies… you don’t want to be forgotten?

You’d better win.

Or hit a few dramatic homers.

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Sully Baseball Presents THE BEST WORLD SERIES GAMES OF THE 2000s

The World Series has got a bad rap this decade.

Yes there were only 2 Game 7s the entire decade…
Yes there were three sweeps and three five game series.

The two Red Sox series were great for us Sox fans, but lacking in any real drama for other fans.

But a close look at some of the games played in the World Series this decade shows there was quite a bit of drama.

The White Sox may have swept the Astros in four games… but the last three games were all thrillers.

There were big hits from unlikely sources. Little regarded infielders like Jose Vizcaino, Alex Gonzalez, Geoff Blum and Mark Bellhorn all turned into late inning World Series heroes.

And the last walk off homer in a World Series game was hit by someone who had zero regular season homers that year.

The Red Sox and White Sox broke long curses. So did the Yankees (who consider a 9 year drought to be alarming.)

Each of the recent expansion teams (the Marlins, the Rockies, the Diamondbacks, the Rays) made the World Series… and two of the original expansion teams (the Angels and the Astros) finally made it all the way to the Series.

And proud franchises like the Cardinals and Phillies won again while the Tigers, Mets and Giants managed to return.

One team blew a 5-0 lead in a clinching game… one saw their best chance to tie the series end when their superstar was picked off of first…

And one series in 2001 was so exciting it briefly made people forget the horrors that hit the U.S. just a month and a half before.

Perhaps there was more excitement in the World Series than we originally remembered!

As started in the Best of 2000s Post Season Home Page, I am picking the best game for each game of the series… Best Game 1, Best Game 2… etc.

And when need be, I’ll have some honorable mentions.

Best Game 1 of the World Series for the 2000s
2000 – Yankees 4 Mets 3 (12 innings)

The first Subway Series since 1956 started with a thriller… and a classic bonehead base running mistake that would haunt the Mets.

For the first five innings, Al Leiter and Andy Pettitte kept the game scoreless. In the sixth with two outs and Timo Perez on first, Todd Zeile hit a long drive that sure looked like a 2 run homer.
Perez thought it was gone as he celebrated rounding second. The problem was it hit the wall and left fielder David Justice threw to Derek Jeter who relayed to Jorge Posada, throwing out Perez to end the inning. That run off of the board would come back to haunt the Mets.
The Mets would take a 3-2 lead into the ninth when they did something that is always dangerous: They handed the lead to Armando Benitez. The Yankees loaded the bases with one out and by a miracle all they could do was tie the game on a sacrifice fly by Chuck Knoblauch.
The Mets couldn’t get a base runner in extra innings while the Yankees stranded 5 runners in the 10th and 11th. With 2 outs and the bases loaded in the 12th, Jose Vizcaino became an unlikely World Series hero by singling home the winning run.
How could the series have unfolded differently if the Mets won the opener? I am sure Timo Perez and Armando Benitez think about that.
Honorable Mentions for Best Game 1 of the World Series for the 2000s

Barry Bonds finally got to play in a World Series game and he made the most of it. Leading off the second inning, Bonds crushed a homer off of Jarrod Washburn to give San Francisco the early lead. Reggie Sanders followed with a homer of his own.

For such a low scoring game, it was a slug fest. Troy Glaus hit two homers and J. T. Snow smacked a 2 run shot.

In the end, the Giants bullpen did the job with 3 1/3 no hit innings as San Francisco won their first World Series game in 40 years.

Just 2 days after the Aaron Boone game and just 4 days after the Steve Bartman game, two exhausted teams met to play the World Series.

Torre used Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina and David Wells in the Boone game and it wasn’t clear who would get the ball in Game 1. It turned out to be Wells.

The Marlins used speed and little ball to push a pair of early runs across. Juan Pierre drove the Yankees crazy, scoring one in the first and driving in a pair in the fifth.

Somehow Brad Penny, Dontrelle Willis and Ugeth Urbina made those three runs stand up. The Yankees left runners in scoring position in the first, third, fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth innings.

After the Red Sox made it past the Yankees in the ALCS, overcoming the 3-0 hole, they jumped right into the World Series swinging. The had an early 7-2 lead over the Cardinals and it looked like a laugher.

But St. Louis, who had their own tough series against the Astros in the LCS, fought back and tied the game… first 7-7 and then 9-9, thanks in part to errors by Manny Ramirez on back to back plays in the 8th.

The Curse looked alive and well…

But in the 8th inning, Mark Bellhorn, who had homered in games 6 and 7 of the ALCS, hit a go ahead homer off of Julian Tavarez. Keith Foulke, the most underrated hero of the 2004 post season closed the game out and the Red Sox were off and running.

Best Game 2 of the World Series for the 2000s

The Astros looked to even the series in Chicago and took a 4-2 lead into the 7th inning thanks to a Lance Berkman 2 run double.

With 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th, the White Sox rallied, thanks to a hit by pitch credited to Jermaine Dye. If that pitch hit him, it hit a thread of a jersey sticking out a few inches… but Dye took first anyway.

Reliever Chad Qualls came in for Houston and Paul Kornerko hit his first pitch into the stands for a no-doubt-about-it Grand Slam that gave the White Sox the lead.

In the top of the 9th, the White Sox were one out away from winning when pinch hitter Jose Vizcaino (hero of Game 1 of the 2000 World Series) smacked a 2 run game tying single.

In the bottom of the 9th, Brad Lidge made his first appearance since letting up Albert Pujols’ home run in the NLCS.

With one out he served up a walk off homer to Scott Podsednik that sent Chicago into hysterics.

It’s one thing to let up a game winning shot to Albert Pujols, the best hitter in the game. It’s another thing to let one up to Scott Podsednik, who had a grand total of ZERO home runs in the regular season.

It would not be the last time Brad Lidge lost a critical World Series game.

Honorable Mentions for Best Game 2 of the World Series for the 2000s

The drama in Game 2 of the 2000 World Series couldn’t be found in the box score. The game ended up being a 1 run game, but that is because the Mets scored 5 in the top of the 9th, but never did have the tying run on base.

The real drama came in the first inning when Mike Piazza fouled a ball off Roger Clemens and the bat broke. The barrel of the bat flew out towards Roger Clemens and he then threw the bat back at Mike Piazza.

Or that is what he did if you saw the event with your two eyes and had a brain.

Roger Clemens claimed he didn’t throw the bat at Piazza (even though he DID throw the bat at Piazza.) He had no shortage of excuses… He was throwing it back to the Mets dugout (even though he threw it in the direction of the Yankees dugout)… He thought it was the ball (????)

But of course the two had bad blood between them and of course he flung the bat back at him as a sort of “That’s the BEST YOU CAN DO?” macho display.

Clemens managed to throw 8 innings of shutout ball that game. A lot of Met fans felt like he should have been tossed in that inning. It wasn’t a pleasant series for Mets fans.

The Angels came out smoking in Game 2, knowing they could not be down 0-2 going back to San Francisco. They scored 5 runs in the first off of Russ Ortiz including a steal of home. But the Giants responded with 4 the next inning on back to back homers by Reggie Sanders and David Bell.

The two teams slugged it out, exchanging leads until the game was tied 9-9 with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th. Tim Salmon crushed a tie breaking homer off of Felix Rodriguez giving the Angels the lead.

Barry Bonds hit one of the longest home runs you could ever imagine with 2 outs in the 9th to make it a 1 run game, but the Angels held on… and Giants fans have to wonder how the World Series would have been different if they won a game where they scored 10 runs!

I know it is difficult to remember, but there WAS tension in the 2007 World Series.

After the Game 1 blow out, the Red Sox looked to take complete control of the Series in Game 2. But the Rockies did ever so briefly what the Cardinals couldn’t during the entire 2004 World Series: They took the lead… and they did it in the first.

And suddenly the Rockies looked like they might be making the Series interesting. If the Rockies won Game 2, then the Red Sox would be throwing an inconsistent Daisuke Matsusaka and young Jon Lester in Games 3 and 4… could the Rockies refind their winning ways?

The Red Sox tied the game and Mike Lowell’s double gave the lead back to the Sox… but it remained a 1 run Red Sox lead when Hideki Okajima relieved Curt Schilling with 2 on and 1 out in the 6th.

Okajima retired all 7 batters he faced. But when Papelbon relieved Okajima in the 8th, Matt Holliday greeted him with a single. Todd Helton came up as the go ahead run… but Papelbon picked Holliday off at first base, ending the inning and the threat.

The Rockies played well in Games 3 and 4, but after the pick off the suspense was over. 2007 was the Red Sox year and they would complete the sweep 3 days later.

Best Game 3 of the World Series for the 2000s
2005 – White Sox 7 Astros 5 (14 innings)

The Astros turned to NLCS MVP Roy Oswalt to stop the White Sox and through 4 innings, it looked like he was up for the job.

Houston built up a 4-0 lead going into the 5th and looked like they were cruising. But the White Sox erupted for 5 runs in the fifth, highlighted by a lead off homer by Joe Crede and a two out, two run RBI double by A. J. Pierzynski.

Now the White Sox seemed poised to take a 3-0 series lead. But with 2 outs and nobody on in the 8th, the Astros rallied, highlighted by a 2 run Jason Lane double to tie the game.

Then the White Sox kept dodging bullets. El Duque Hernandez worked out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the 9th. The Astros left men in scoring position in the 10th and 11th and squandered a lead off walk in the 13th.

Finally in the 14th, with 2 outs and nobody on, reserve infielder Geoff Blum homered to right field to give the White Sox the lead. Chicago then tacked on a second run.

In the bottom of the 14th, the White Sox turned to Game 2 starter Mark Buehrle to close out the thriller and put the South Siders on the verge of a sweep.

Honorable Mentions for Best Game 3 of the World Series for the 2000s

The Yankees had won the last 10 World Series games played. They were on a 14 game World Series winning streak and after the gut wrenching Games 1 and 2 wins, they seemed ready to sweep the Mets.

El Duque Hernandez was 6-0 lifetime in the post season and ready to go in Game 3.

In the 6th, the Mets managed to tie the game 2-2 but left the bases loaded. In the 8th, Benny Agbayani doubled off of El Duque giving the Mets the lead. Of course Armando Benitez let up a lead off single in the 9th, but he held onto the win and the Mets had life.

With the series tied at 1 back in Miami, Mike Mussina and Josh Beckett locked up in a classic pitchers duel. Mussina let up 1 run over 7 innings, striking out 9 and walking only 1.

Beckett pitched 7 1/3 innings, letting up only 3 hits and striking out 10. But Derek Jeter knocked him out of the game with a double… and Jeter would come around to score the go ahead run with 2 outs on Hideki Matsui’s single.

The Yankees would tack on four more runs to make the score seem more lopsided that it was. Beckett got the hard luck loss… but he would get revenge later.

45 year old Jamie Moyer made his first ever World Series start count. He pitched into the 7th inning and left as the potential winning pitcher as the game went into the 8th.

But then Tampa Bay’s B. J. Upton basically decided to tie the game by himself. He beat out a grounder to shortstop, stole second and scored when he stole third and the throw got away.

In the bottom of the 9th, the Phillies rallied without hitting the ball out of the infield.

A hit batsman, a wild pitch and an error by the catcher put Phillies left fielder Eric Bruntlett on third with nobody out.

Two intentional walks later, Grant Balfour faced Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz who tapped weakly to third base. Evan Longoria’s throw home sailed high and Bruntlett scored the winning run, putting Philadelphia up 2-1 in the series.

Best Game 4 of the World Series for the 2000s
2003 – Marlins 4 Yankees 3 (12 innings)

Thanks to Miguel Cabrera’s first inning home run, the Marlins jumped on Roger Clemens early and took a 3-0 lead. Clemens settled down to pitch 7 strong innings and the fans in Miami gave him a prolonged standing ovation, knowing that this was probably the end of his career.

(He would pitch 4 more seasons.)

Carl Pavano pitched 8 masterful innings and the Marlins got to one strike away from tying the series at 2 each. But Ruben Sierra hit a game tying triple in the 9th, sending the game into extra innings.

Joe Torre opted not to use Mariano Rivera until the game became a save situation. Jose Contreras threw 2 shutout innings. Jeff Weaver, who hadn’t pitched in 28 days, came in amd allowed a walk off homer to Alex Gonzalez.

Instead of a 3-1 series lead, the Yankees were in a 2 game tie. The decision to use Weaver would be mentioned as one of his biggest managerial blunders.

Honorable Mentions for Best Game 4 of the World Series for the 2000s
2001 – Yankees 4 Diamondbacks 3 (10 innings)

The first inkling that the 2001 World Series was going to be really special happened in Game 4. Oh sure, Game 3 was a tight game and the appearance of W. throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium was great… but there was still a sense that the Yankees wouldn’t be able to win with Johnson and Schilling pitching.

And it sure looked like that was the case in Game 4, the first World Series game ever played on Halloween. Schilling was tremendous for 7 innings, letting up only 1 run, striking out 9 and walking 1.

The Diamondbacks handed closer Byung-Hyun Kim a 3-1 lead with 2 outs and 1 on in the 9th, it looked like the Yankees were going to go down 3 games to 1 in the series.

Then Tino Martinez unloaded on a two out pitch and homered to center, tying the game. Kim managed to wiggle out of more trouble in the 9th but Derek Jeter’s 2 out homer in the 10th after midnight won the game and tied the series, making him Mr. November.

Clearly a great series was brewing.

The Angels, behind Troy Glaus, looked like they were poised to take a 3-1 series lead. Glaus’ homer gave the Halos an early 3-0 lead. But the Giants fought back to tie the game on Benito Santiago’s RBI single in the 5th.

Francisco Rodriguez, the mysterious rookie that nobody could hit all post season, was brought in to pitch the 8th with the score tied. The Giants figured him out with two singles and a passed ball, giving the Giants a 4-3 lead.

In the 9th, the Angels put the tying run on, but Robb Nen induced Brad Fullmer to hit into a game ending double play, tying the World Series at 2 wins apiece.

When Johnny Damon hit a lead off homer to start the game, it was clear the Red Sox were hell bent to close the World Series out without any more delay. Derek Lowe pitched 7 shutout innings and Trot Nixon added two more runs to give the Sox some breathing room.

Then Keith Foulke came in and shut down the Cardinals… and we Red Sox fans finally got to see something we were never sure we were actually going to see: A Red Sox World Series celebration.

It seemed like a once in a lifetime celebration and we may have partied too much for your liking.

I don’t care.

It was a great night, if not actually a great ballgame.

The Astros, barely clinging to life down 3-0, turned to Brandon Backe to save the World Series. He held his end of the bargain, throwing 7 innings of shutout ball, letting up 5 hits with no walks.

The problem for Houston was Freddy Garcia, a former Astros farmhand, was shutting them down as well. He kept the Astros off the board over his 7 innings of work, including striking out Jason Lane with the bases loaded in the 6th.

In the 8th inning, Brad Lidge was brought into the game. He let up a lead off hit to Willie Harris and two batters later Jermaine Dye singled him home for the game’s first run.

The Astros put runners on the corners in the 8th but couldn’t score.

In the 9th, with a runner on, Division Series hero Chris Burke hit a foul pop that White Sox shortstop Juan Uribe caught with a spectacular play into the stands.

Pinch hitter Orlando Palmeiro then hit a grounder to Uribe and was thrown out by a step to give the White Sox the sweep.

The City of Chicago finally had a World Series winner… and to the delight of White Sox fans, it wasn’t the Cubs!

The heavily favored Tigers were down 2-1 in the series but took an early 3-0 lead off of NLCS hero Jeff Suppan. But Yadier Molina’s double cut the lead to 3-2.

In the 7th, Curtis Granderson slipped on the wet Busch Stadium grass and allowed David Eckstein’s fly ball to drop into a double. He would score when Detroit pitcher Fernando Rodney threw away So Taguchi’s bunt (yet another error by a Tigers pitcher.) Preston Wilson would single home the go ahead run on a play where Albert Pujols was thrown out at third to end the inning.

In the 8th, the Tigers rallied with a Pudge Rodriguez lead off double and a Brandon Inge game tying double.

In the bottom of the 8th it was the Cardinals turn to rally. Yadier Molina led off the inning with a walk and with two outs David Eckstein again came through, this time with an RBI double.

The Tigers went down 1-2-3 in the 9th to give St. Louis a stunning 3-1 series lead.

Down 2-1 in the series and facing CC Sabathia in Game 4, the Phillies were in a very bad spot. And it looked even worse when the Yankees took a 4-2 lead into the 7th.

Chase Utley hit his third homer off of Sabathia to make it a 1 run game but the Phillies still trailed by a run with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the 8th.

But then Pedro Feliz hit a game tying homer off of Joba Chamberlain that made every Phillies fan think the same thing at the same moment:

“If the Phillies could hold the Yankees scoreless in the 9th, then they could win the game with a run in the bottom of the 9th… and have Cliff Lee pitching Game 5… and the Phillies could be up 3 games to 2 going back to New York.”

Brad Lidge got the first two outs in the 9th and had 2 strikes on Johnny Damon… who… just… kept… fouling… off… pitches.

Finally Damon plunked a single into left. And then stole second… and realized nobody was covering third and took off for third.

Then Lidge hit Mark Teixeira… and every Phillies fan all started gulping at the same time.
A-Rod doubled home the go ahead run and Jorge Posada singled home two more.

With the Yankees up by three with Rivera on the mound, that potentially magical 9th inning turned into a 1-2-3 formality, and the Phillies best chances were dashed.

Best Game 5 of the World Series for the 2000s
2001 – Yankees 3 Diamondbacks 2 (12 innings)

On the heels of the startling Game 4 win by the Yankees, a decision by Arizona manager seemed to doom his club.

He pitched Curt Schilling on short rest in Game 4 hoping to put the series away. But with the blown save, he was now starting Miguel Batista with the series deadlocked.

As it turned out, Brenly’s decision didn’t backfire. Batista was tremendous, pitching shut out baseball into the 8th.

Once again the Diamondbacks gave Kim a 2 run lead in the 9th. Once again the Diamondbacks were one out away from winning their third game and sending the series back to Arizona where a rested and ready Randy Johnson was waiting to clinch the World Series.

There was no way the Yankees could do it again, could they?

Yup. Scott Brosius took the hero role this time and clubbed a game tying shot. As a Red Sox fan, I always hated Brosius. But with some distance (and the 2004 and 2007 Series to mollify me) I can admit his reaction was perfect. He couldn’t believe he did what he did.

The Yankee bench couldn’t believe it. The place wasn’t so much cheering as they were reeling in disbelief. My friend, the great writer Adam Felber, was at the game and he said the people around him almost couldn’t let themselves believe the Yankees did it in back to back nights.

After that, the rest of the game was a formality. The Yankees would win when Alfonso Soriano singled home Chuck Knoblauch. Now the World Series had entered the “All Time Great” category… and there would be one more heart stopper to come.

Honorable Mentions for Best Game 5 of the World Series for the 2000s

The Mets pinned their slim World Series hopes on the arm of Al Leiter, and manager Bobby Valentine seemed willing to lead on Al until his arm fell off.

The Mets took a 2-1 lead into the 6th when eventual World Series MVP Derek Jeter homered to tie the game.

Leiter looked ready to send the game into the bottom of the 9th tied when he struck out the first two batters in the top of the 9th. Then the roof caved in.

Posada walked on a full count and Scott Brosius walked. Then on Leiter’s 142nd pitch Luis Sojo of all people singled home Posada with the go ahead run and Jay Payton’s bad throw allowed Brosius to score.

The Mets brought up Mike Piazza in the bottom of the 9th as the tying run and he hit a ball to the deepest part of the ballpark where Bernie Williams tracked it down to give the Yankees the World Series title.

Down 3-1 in the Series, the Tigers looked defeated. They were making errors and throwing wild pitches and looked flat. Then Sean Casey launched a 2 run homer, briefly giving the Tigers the lead.

But yet another error by a Tiger pitcher (this time Justin Verlander) put runs on the board and helped give St. Louis the lead right back.

The 5th game became a validation of Jeff Weaver’s strange up and down career. Labeled a loser in New York and cut by the Angels earlier in 2006, Weaver was masterful in the clinching game. He threw 8 solid innings, letting up only 4 hits and 1 earned run while striking out nine.

In the 9th, Adam Wainwright pitched around a walk and a double to strike out Brandon Inge and give the Tony LaRussa led Cardinals an unlikely World Series title.

In terms of elapsed time from first pitch to last pitch, this was easily the longest World Series game ever played. According to, the game lasted 3 hours and 28 minutes.

But that is not taking into account the fact that the game started on October 27th and ended on October 29th.

With rain in the forecast, Game 5 went on as planned with NLCS MVP Cole Hamels up against All Star Scott Kazmir. The two teams played in ridiculously wet conditions and a delay seemed inevitable and a shortened game seemed possible.

Could the World Series be clinched on a rain shortened game?

We’ll never know because almost right after the Rays tied the game in the 6th, the tarp came out and the game was delayed… almost on cue from a commissioner who didn’t want to see a 6 inning final game of the World Series.

Bud Selig suspended the game, citing a rule that existed only in his mind, and we all had to wait.

2 days later, the two finished the World Series in a Reader’s Digest version of baseball. With the game resuming in the bottom of the 6th, Geoff Jenkins doubled and scored on a Jayson Werth single.

But Rocco Baldelli homered to tie the game again and preventing Cole Hamels from getting his second World Series win. In the 7th, Carlos Ruiz singled home Eric Bruntlett to give the Phillies the lead.

The Rays tried to rally in the 9th but with 2 on,Eric Hinske struck out to end the series. My wife thought he looked feeble at the plate.

Philadelphia went into a great celebration… 48 hours after first pitch!

The Phillies were clinging to life in Game 5, down 3-1. Chase Utley’s 5th home run, matching Reggie Jackson’s 1977 total, gave Philadelphia a 3-1 lead in the first inning. And a big rally in the 3rd inning made the score 6-1 Phils with Cliff Lee on the mound. The score was 8-2 going into the 8th and Charlie Manuel thought the game was so well in hand that he replaced Shane Victorino with Ben Francisco.

But these were the Yankees and no lead would be safe. A-Rod doubled home two off of Cliff Lee in the 8th and the Yankees would cut the lead to 8-5.

In the 9th, Manuel did not hand the ball to Lidge but rather to Ryan Madson, who let up a double and a single to the first two batters he faced. The tying run came to the plate with nobody out.

Jeter hit into a run scoring double play, but Johnny Damon singled bringing Teixeira to the plate as the tying run.

Madson got Teixeira out swinging, leaving A-Rod on deck and sending the series back to New York… where the Yankees would clinch in game 6.

Best Game 6 of the World Series for the 2000s

In many ways as cruel a game to tortured fans as Game 6 of the 1986 World Series was to Red Sox fans and Game 7 of the 1997 World Series was to Cleveland Indian fans.

The Giants were up 3-2 going back to Anaheim and looked ready to FINALLY win their first World Series since coming over to California in the 1950s.

And early on, the game looked more like a coronation than a contest.

Veteran Shawon Dunston homered giving the Giants an early lead. Bonds hit a monstrous homer off of Francisco Rodriguez and the Giants went into the 7th with a 5-0 lead and Russ Ortiz dealing.

And my dad, as big a Giants fan as you will ever meet, was sitting in Scotland listening to the game.

In the 7th with 1 out and 2 on, Dusty Baker took Ortiz out… then stopped and gave him the game ball, as if the game was already won.

Baaaaaaad idea Dusty.

Scott Spiezio fouled off about 400 pitches before hitting arguably the most underrated homer in World Series history. It literally changed the tone of the game and series and direction of both franchises with one swing.

It didn’t give the Angels the lead… nor tie the game… or even make it a 1 run game.
But suddenly a 5-0 laugher was a 5-3 game… and there was a sudden feeling of desperation in the Giants dugout.

Darin Erstad hit a homer to lead off the 8th to make it 5-4. Then the Angels put the tying and go ahead runs on base with nobody out in the 8th. Robb Nen was called in to get a 6 out save, but he was in an impossible situation.

Troy Glaus doubled home both runs to give the Angels a 6-5 lead. But there was one more obstacle for Angels closer Troy Percival: Avoid Bonds in the 9th.

The Giants needed two base runners to get to Bonds… but Percival got them 1-2-3, forcing a game 6 and crushing Giant fans from San Francisco to Scotland.

Honorable Mention for Best Game 6 of the World Series for the 2000s

Leading the series 3-2, Marlins manager Jack McKeon gambled big time on Game 6. He threw Josh Beckett on short rest. If Beckett lost, he would throw Mark Redman in Game 7 of the World Series in Yankee Stadium. If Redman lost Game 6, then Beckett would throw Game 7 on full rest.

It seemed like the risk outweighed the reward.

The point was moot. Beckett was outstanding, throwing his second complete game shutout of the post season.

The Marlins rallied with 2 outs and nobody on in the 5th to push a run across Andy Pettitte and added another one in the 6th thanks to a Derek Jeter error.

Beckett retired the last nine batters he faced including Jorge Posada who grounded back to the mound and Beckett tagged him out.

Appropriately enough, Beckett ended the World Series unassisted.

Best Game 7 of the World Series for the 2000s

After Randy Johnson and friends blew out the Yankees in Game 6, the Series went the distance… as was fitting.

Also fitting was the fact that two aces were facing off. Eventual Cy Young winner Roger Clemens with playoff hero Curt Schilling.

Clemens struck out 10 in 6 1/3 innings. He left with the score tied 1-1.

Schilling pitched 7 1/3 innings, striking out 9, but letting up a solo homer to Alfonso Soriano in the 8th that gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Arizona manager Bob Brenly brought Randy Johnson out of the bullpen on no days rest to get the Diamondbacks out of more trouble in the 8th.

But by then it was too late. The Yankees had brought in Mariano Rivera for a 2 inning save on three days rest. Rivera got through the 8th and went to the 9th… poised to send a post September 11th New York into delirium and be the first team since the 1949-1953 Yankees to win 4 World Series in a row.

Mark Grace led off the 9th with a single. Then Damian Miller hit a ball back to Rivera that looked like it might have been a double play… but Rivera threw the ball into center field.

Was it possible? Could Rivera blow a game?

The next play was a Jay Bell bunt that Rivera fielded and threw to third for the out. Yankee fans (and evidently some Yankees) thought Brosius should have thrown to first to get the double play.

The very next batter was Tony Womack who doubled into right field. For a moment, I thought it was going to score both the tying and winning runs. Instead it tied the game. Womack’s hit should be ranked as one of the most underrated in World Series history.

After Rivera hit Craig Counsell, Luis Gonzalez came up with the infield drawn in. Well we all know what happened. In fact Tim McCarver knew it was going to happen BEFORE it happened.

Gonzalez hit a floater over Jeter’s head and the mighty Yankees were toppled.

The winner was baseball as the 2001 World Series has to be on anyone’s short list for greatest World Series of all time.

Honorable Mention for Best Game 7 of the World Series for the 2000s

Lest we forget… the Giants had a Game 7 to play right after blowing the 5-0 lead in Game 6. And they took an early 1-0 lead.

But Dusty Baker’s decision to start Livan Hernandez over Kirk Reuter proved to be disastrous. Hernandez looked awful over the first two innings and only a base running blunder by David Eckstein kept the Angels from scoring more than 1 run in the first 2 innings. Hernandez clearly shouldn’t have pitched the third… or at least be lifted if he let up a base runner.

Instead he loaded the bases with nobody out… and then let Garret Anderson unload them with a bases clearing double. In the end, he didn’t record an out in the inning. Kirk Reuter would come in the next inning and throw 4 innings of 1 hit shut out ball… but by then it was too late.

John Lackey pitched into the 6th and the bullpen did the rest. When Troy Percival got Kenny Lofton to fly out in the bottom of the 9th, the Angels won their first ever World Series… and the Giants had to ponder “What if?”


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There was a period of time during the 1980s and 1990s where the drama of the NFC title game over shadowed the drama of the Super Bowl.

The same could be said to a degree about the ALCS this decade. While many years the World Series was a bit of an anti climax, the ALCS was reliable for some of the most thrilling and down to the wire games of the decade.

And yes, a lot of attention was put on the Yankee/Red Sox series. Well I am sorry, rest-of-the-country… but the Red Sox and Yankees played in back to back ALCS and they were two of the best ALCS in history! And not just because of an East Coast Bias. They were thrillers and each had a spectacular “I can’t believe the rivalry is getting bigger!” conclusion.

This decade featured walk off homers, including two ALCS ending walk off shots. It featured coaches being thrown to the ground, balls being slapped out of gloves by superstars, a team blowing a late 7-0 lead, a remarkable come back started by a stolen base… and of course a bloody sock.

As started in the Best of 2000s Post Season Home Page, I am picking the best game for each game of the series… Best Game 1, Best Game 2… etc.

And when need be, I’ll have some honorable mentions.

Best Game 1 of the American League Championship Series for the 2000s

A year after the Twins were threatened with contraction, they found themselves with home field advantage in the ALCS.

Joe Mays took the mound for the Twins and was brilliant against a hard hitting Anaheim Angels squad.

He pitched 8 strong innings, letting up only a single unearned run. The Twins took the lead on Corey Koskie’s 5th inning double and Eddie Guardado made it count with a shut out 9th inning.

The Twins wouldn’t win another game in the series, but for one day it looked like Minnesota could give the ultimate middle finger to the powers that wanted to contract the team.

Honorable Mentions for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series for the 2000s

After squeaking past Oakland, the Yankees faced the 116 win Mariners. Paul O’Neill’s homer in the 4th gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead, putting Seattle on the defensive. The Mariners offense could not get going but still brought Edgar Martinez to the plate as the tying run in the bottom of the 9th. Mariano Rivera got him to ground out to end the game.

Daisuke Matsuzaka no hit the Rays for the first 6 innings but James Shields was also tough, holding the Red Sox to 1 run over 7 innings.

Dice-K wiggled out of trouble in the 7th but needed help from the bullpen in the 8th. With 2 on and 1 out, Justin Masterson got Evan Longoria to ground into a double play and end the threat.

Best Game 2 American League Championship Series for the 2000s

The White Sox did NOT want to go down 2-0 back to Anaheim and they would do anything to get a win in Chicago… even something sneaky.

The game was tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 9th thanks to a great 9 inning performance by Mark Buehrle and Angels reliever Kelvim Escobar. With 2 outs and nobody on, Escobar got White Sox catcher A. J. Pierzynski to strike out to end the inning.

Angels catcher Josh Paul casually went back to the dugout but Pierzynski saw he wasn’t called out and sprinted to first base. Home plate umpire Doug Eddings claimed the ball hit the dirt before going into Paul’s glove, making it a live ball and Pierzynski reached first. Replays showed it actually went into the glove.

Either way, another out would have made the point moot. But pinch runner Pablo Ozuna stole second and scored on Joe Crede’s walk off double.

The Angels were fuming but the White Sox got the win… and they wouldn’t lose again the entire post season.

Honorable Mentions for Game 2 of the American League Championship Series for the 2000s

2007 – Indians 13 Red Sox 6 (11 innings)

The Red Sox stampeded through the Division Series and Game 1 of the ALCS. In Game 2, the Indians took an early lead off of Curt Schilling but Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell hit back to back homers to briefly give the Red Sox the lead.
The Indians tied it up… and suddenly the scoring stopped.
In the bottom of the 9th, Kevin Youkilis fouled off a bunch of pitches before hitting a low line drive snared by Grady Sizemore, saving the game. In the 11th, Francona handed the ball to Eric Gagne who got rocked… before the 11th was over the Indians scored 7 runs, including a go ahead single by Trot Nixon and a homer by Franklin Gutierrez.
The Indians had new life and looked like they had life in the ALCS.

2008 – Rays 9 Red Sox 8 (11 innings)

The crisp pitchers duel of Game 1 gave way to a sluggish slug fest in Game 2. Jason Bay and Evan Longoria traded 2 run first inning homers. Pedroia would homer twice. Youkilis would add another one. Cliff Floyd and B. J. Upton homered for the Rays.
But Beckett couldn’t hold onto a 6-5 lead and Tampa couldn’t hold the lead with 2 outs in the 8th.
The Red Sox left runners in scoring position in the 9th and 11th and Tampa won the game on a sacrifice fly in the 11th by Upton. How could the series have been different had the Red Sox taken a 2-0 series lead?
2009 – Yankees 4 Angels 3 (13 innings)
The Angels needed to win Game 2 in order to realistically have a shot at going to the World Series… and somehow the Angels blew every conceivable chance to win it, even when the Yankees handed the game over on a silver platter.
Joe Saunders and Kevin Jepsen held the mighty Yankees to 2 runs over 9 innings… but A. J. Burnett of all people shut the Angels down as well. The Angels loaded the bases in the 5th and tied the game on a wild pitch… but left the bases loaded in the 7th and left runners in scoring position in the 8th.
In the pouring rain in the 11th, the Angels took the lead and sent closer Brian Fuentes to close out the 11th. He faced A-Rod and then a bunch of bench players… all he had to do was make sure A-Rod didn’t homer in the downpour.
OF COURSE HE DID and the game was tied.
The Angels left runners in scoring position in the 12th and the Yankees left the bases loaded in the bottom of the frame. Vlad Guerrero once again left runners in scoring position in the 13th while the Yankees took advantage of sloppy defense to win it in the 13th.

Best Game 3 of the American League Championship Series for the 2000s

Let’s get the Don Zimmer/Pedro Martinez fight out of the way first.
Yeah there was a big fight. And yeah I thought Manny Ramirez was out of line yelling at Clemens because the pitch was nowhere near his head.
But anyone who saw it saw Don Zimmer, one of the great idiots in baseball history, running at Pedro Martinez… clearly not to chat.
Pedro tossed the old fool aside… maybe with a little too much relish.
But how it was covered in New York leapt far beyond absurd. Pedro did NOT attack Don Zimmer. One person talked on the radio about how “Zimmer was trying to make peace and Pedro attacked him.”
That is as truthful as saying “Los Angeles is in Rhode Island.”
What you might forget about that insane game was that it was actually a good GAME! Pedro and Roger… Sox taking an early lead… Jeter and Ramirez homering…
But the fact of the matter is the high pitches to Posada that started the insanity woke up the Yankees and gave them life as Pedro Martinez lost a playoff game for the first time.

Honorable Mention for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series for the 2000s
2009 – Angels 5 Yankees 4 (11 innings)

The Yankees looked like they were ready to sweep away the Angels when they took a 3-0 lead in the 5th. But the Angels got off the matt, highlighted when Game 2 goat Vlad Guerrero launched a game tying homer off of Andy Pettitte. The Angels took the lead but Jorge Posada tied it with a homer in the 8th.
The game went into extras again… where once again Guerrero left the bases loaded. But this time the Angels were able to push a run across in extra innings when Jeff Mathis singled home Howie Kendrick and gave the Halos some hope.

Best Game 4 of the American League Championship Series for the 2000s

Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten the Dave Roberts game… just giving some love to the good folks in Detroit.

Just 3 years removed from a 119 loss season, the Tigers were on the verge of a pennant.

But the A’s, fighting for their life, came out swinging. Milton Bradley and Eric Chavez hit RBI doubles in the first and Jay Payton added a solo shot to make it 3-0 Oakland. But the Tigers fought back, tying the game on a Magglio Ordonez homer in the 6th.

The A’s blew a bases loaded chance in the 8th. In the 9th, with 2 outs and nobody on, the Tigers rallied. Finally Huston Street grooved one to Ordonez, whose second homer of the game, a 3 run shot, won the pennant for the Tigers.

Honorable Mentions for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series for the 2000s

Mariners starter Paul Abbott had a no hitter going through 5 innings. The problem was he also let up 8 walks and wasn’t exactly sharp.

Either way, it is harsh to lift a guy while throwing a post season no hitter!

Roger Clemens and Ramiro Mendoza combined for 2 hits over 8 innings. In fact going into the bottom of the 8th, the Mariners had a 1-0 lead and there were only 3 hits in the entire game.

Bret Boone’s homer gave Seattle the lead, but Bernie Williams’ homer tied the game in the bottom of the 8th.

In the bottom of the 9th Alfonso Soriano hit a walk off homer off of Kaz Sazaki, giving the Yankees a 3-1 win and a 3-1 series lead.

A lot of people made a big deal about the fact his homer took place at 9:11 PM in the wake of the September 11th attacks. I think it was a coincidence.

I know I will catch flack from Red Sox fans for not putting this game at the top.

Yes, I know it was the turning point of the rivalry. Yes I know it was the moment where the Red Sox stared into the abyss and found their character. I know it was the moment where the single most transcendent moment happened in Red Sox history and Dave Roberts stole that base and started a chain reaction that resulted in the Red Sox slaying their demons.

I know. I remember the game well.

I remember Papi’s homer too.

I remember it all.

And guess what? The 2004 ALCS is going to get a lot of love on this page. And besides, when the game was over, I thought “Oh man… this is just prolonging the agony.” It wasn’t until the Game 5 victory that I began to think “wait a second! We can win this thing!”

Best Game 5 of the American League Championship Series for the 2000s

Less than 24 hours after The Dave Roberts Game ended, the Red Sox and Yankees had to play another game.

As I said in Reverse the Curse of the Bambino, I was actually a little pissed when the euphoria ended at the end of Game 4. The Red Sox were still in a terrible hole, down 3 games to 1, and while it was fun to see the Sox squeeze out a win… the series was still over.
Game 5 just seemed cruel, especially when the Red Sox took an early 2-0 lead only to see it slip away on a 2 out 3 run double by Jeter on Pedro’s 100th pitch.
Then Game 5 became surreal. Down 4-2 with Tom Gordon on the mound, David Ortiz homered to make it a 1 run game… and Kevin Millar walked again and Dave Roberts came in to run again.
And I sat back thinking “Oh man… so cruel. They’ll bring in Rivera now.”
But an unnerved Tom Gordon remained in the game long enough to let Trot Nixon execute a perfect hit and run putting the tying run on third with nobody out. Rivera came in but let up a game tying sacrifice fly.
Then Game 5 became insane…
Tony Clark hit a 2 out ground rule double that just skipped over the fence, taking a potential pennant winning run off of the board for the Yankees.
The Red Sox had 2 on and nobody out in the 11th and couldn’t score.
David Ortiz tried to steal in the 12th. He was called out even though replays should he might have been safe.
The Red Sox had to bring in Tim Wakefield and use Jason Varitek as his catcher. The Lobster couldn’t catch Wakefield’s knuckler yet kept calling for it. In the bizarre 13th inning, Wakefield had two base runners and threw three passed balls… and yet didn’t let up a run. Why Torre never set the runners in motion never made sense to me.
In the 14th, the Red Sox rallied against a surprising Esteban Loaiza with David Ortiz driving home the winning run with 2 outs, 2 strikes and a brown stain creating at bat.
After that game, Red Sox fans dared think “Hmm… I wonder if the Sox could win this.”
There was no time to think. The next game was less than 24 hours away.
Honorable Mentions for Game 5 of the American League Championship Series for the 2000s

Only the emotion of the 2004 series kept this from the top spot. One of the most mind boggling comebacks in post season history. The Rays took a 7-0 lead with 2 outs in the 7th at Fenway and were poised to blow the Red Sox out for the third straight game for the pennant.

The Red Sox cut the score to 7-4 and the next inning J. D. Drew brought the Red Sox to within 1 with a homer. Then Coco Crisp fouled off 4,391 pitches and singled home the tying run with 2 outs in the 8th.

After a double play killed a 9th inning Rays rally, the Sox took advantage of an error and a J. D. Drew double to win a game that just didn’t seem to be really happening.

I will go on record in saying that Game 5 of the 2009 ALCS was one of the strangest playoff games I have ever seen. The Yankees were held scoreless in all but one inning. The Angels were held scoreless in all but 2 innings.
Most of the game was a tense pitching duel. But those three innings were so wild that it gave the game a sense that it was a crazy slugfest.
The Angels pounded A. J. Burnett and were up 4-0 before he recorded an out. Then the Angels bats went dead.
Then with 2 outs in the 7th and the bases loaded, Mike Scioscia took out John Lackey, who didn’t seem happy about it. Turns out Lackey was right. The Yankees scored 6 runs with 2 outs and looked like they were lined up to win the pennant. But Girardi let A. J. Burnett start the bottom of the 7th and then the Yankee bullpen collapsed. Vlad Guerrero tied the game with a single and Kendry Morales gave the Angels the lead.
Brian Fuentes had 2 outs and nobody on… and managed to let the Yankees load the bases. But Nick Swisher popped up to end the game and force a Game 6.

Best Game 6 of the American League Championship Series for the 2000s

First of all, let me say this right off the bat:

I was there.
It’s not often you get to be in the stands during one of the classic playoff games of all time. But I was there, thanks to Jon Griggs getting me a ticket.
The game was an unnerving experience, waiting for that moment when the other shoe was going to drop and the Yankees would win in front of the home crowd.
First I thought the Yankees were going to bunt like crazy off of Schilling. I couldn’t see the bleeding sock… but we all knew he had a crazy surgery just days before the game and nobody was sure if his foot was going to pop off of his ankle, let alone have him throw a shutout into the 7th.
And then came the A-Rod slap. From where I was sitting, it wasn’t clear what happened. I just assumed Bronson Arroyo did something stupid and threw the ball away.
But when Yankee Stadium was going nuts, screaming 19-18 and Boston Sucks, I noticed the umpires huddling. Now heaven forbid they use replay to check the play… but they did get the call right. A-Rod slapped that ball away and was out… despite his protestations.
What people forget about that game was that the Yankees brought the pennant winning run to the plate in the bottom of the 9th. With 2 outs and 2 on, Tony Clark faced Keith Foulke… who could have been the post season MVP for the 2004 Red Sox.
All the while I was thinking “This is it… this is where the 2004 Red Sox end… Tony F—ing Clark.”
But Foulke struck him out and one of the iconic games of the decade went to the Red Sox.
There was no time to rejoice… they would play again in less than 24 hours.

Honorable Mentions for Game 6 of the American League Championship Series for the 2000s

Facing elimination, the Mariners jumped out to an early lead thanks to first inning RBIs by then Mariner A-Rod and Edgar Martinez.

Their 4-0 lead quickly became 4-3. Then in the 7th, David Justice launched a 3 run homer that game the Yankees the lead.

The Mariners would rally with an A-Rod homer in the 8th and had the tying run at the plate in the form of Yankee killer Edgar Martinez in the 9th. But Edgar grounded out to give the Yankees the pennant.

The tremendous 2003 ALCS looked like it was running out of gas with the Yankees pulling away. The Red Sox blew an early 4-1 lead and the Yankees took the lead partially on a Nomar Garciaparra error.
But Nomar made up for it by tripling in the 7th and scoring on Hideki Matsui’s error, making it a 1 run game. In the same inning David Ortiz tied the game with a single and Johnny Damon’s walk with the bases loaded gave the Red Sox the lead.
Trot Nixon’s homer gave the Red Sox some wiggle room and the Yankees couldn’t rally off of relievers Alan Embree, Mike Timlin and Scott Williamson… a fact forgotten by manager Grady Little 24 hours later.
The Angels were on the brink, trailing the series 3-2 and were down 3-1 in the 8th. But the Angels cut the lead to one on a Vlad Guerrero RBI single. The Angels just needed to play mistake free ball in the bottom of the 8th to give the team a shot in the 9th.
That didn’t happen. The usually steady Angels made two errors in the bottom of the 8th and the Yankees pulled ahead and clinched the pennant with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Best Game 7 of the American League Championship Series for the 2000s

Arguably the single greatest game of the decade.

The Red Sox seemed poised to finally slay their demons in the Bronx.

The Yankees were ready to maintain supremacy.
It was Pedro vs. Clemens just a few days after the Zimmer brawl.
The build up to the game was so intense that there was no way it could match up to the hype. Somehow it surpassed it.
If you are reading this blog, then you don’t need a recap for Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.
So here are some facts and thoughts about the last game of the curse:
– Aaron Boone didn’t start the game. Enrique Wilson had a solid record against Pedro Martinez and started at third in his place. Boone didn’t enter the game until he was a pinch runner in the dreaded 8th.
– The biggest hero of the game might have been Mike Mussina who came into the game in the 4th, Yankees down 4-0 with 2 on and nobody outs… Sox in danger of blowing the game open. He threw 3 scoreless innings and kept the Yankees in the game.
– Every single Red Sox fan knew that Pedro Martinez always fell apart after 100 pitches. When he struck out Alfonso Soriano with 2 on to end the 7th, I yelled what every other Red Sox fan yelled. “GREAT! TAKE HIM OUT!”
– When Pedro came out to start the 8th, I thought “OK, but take him out after he lets up a base runner.”
– Alan Embree’s ERA in the ALCS was 0.00… so was Mike Timlin’s… and Scott Williamson had 3 saves. It’s safe to say they could have cobbled together 5 outs. In fact Embree and Timlin DID get 5 outs… when it was too late.
– Anyone who said that Grady Little made the right decision with the lame excuse “Pedro was the best pitcher so he should have been there in the 8th” is insane. I would always say in return “So did Grady make the wrong decision taking Pedro out when the game was tied?”
– Little took David Ortiz out of the lineup in the 9th when he lifted him for a pinch runner. If the game went deep into extras, Gabe Kapler would have been protecting Manny Ramirez.
– If the Red Sox won this game and won the 2003 World Series, chances are the Yankees would pick up Curt Schilling in the off season and the Red Sox would have acquired Alex Rodriguez.
– That night almost hurt as much as 1986… the only thing that made it hurt less was that it was erased the very next year.
Honorable Mentions for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series for the 2000s
The closest 10-3 game in history. Even when the Red Sox were up 8-1, I couldn’t relax. I kept thinking “Oh Christ… how will the Yankees come back?”
And it sure seemed like we were going to get our answer when Pedro Martinez came into the game in the 7th. The game went from 8-1 to 8-3… then Pedro reached back and struck out Olerud and got Cairo out… and Bellhorn homered in the top of the 8th.
Then I remember a very strange feeling take over my body… confidence.
And in one game the rivalry was changed forever. The Yankees can win in the future and they did this year… but the Red Sox finally had a highlight against the Yankees go THEIR way.
In some ways the World Series was an anticlimactic after thought. As Red Sox fans, what do you think about when 2004 is mentioned? Is it the Cardinals? Or beating the Yankees?

There is no way to look at the final score to know how tense this game was. The Indians were trying not to let a 3-1 ALCS lead completely slip away. The Red Sox were trying to complete yet another comeback and get back to the World Series.
And in the 7th inning, it looked like the Series was going to turn in the Indians favor. With the Red Sox up 3-2, Kenny Lofton reached when Julio Lugo let an easy fly ball drop. With the speedy Lofton on second, Franklin Gutierrez singled to left. Manny Ramirez loafed in and tossed it to second… and Kenny Lofton was standing on third base. Third base coach Joel Skinner held him from scoring the tying run. Historians for generations will study that tape and not have any clue why he was held at third. A double play in the next play ended the rally.
Dustin Pedroia homered to give the Sox some breathing room in the 7th, but the Indians put the tying run at the plate with nobody out in the 8th. Papelbon came in and got Hafner and Martinez out… then Garko hit a deep flyball that looked like it was going to tie the game or at least make it a 1 run game. But Jacoby Ellsbury tracked it down.
The Red Sox unloaded on the Indians bullpen in the 8th to make it a blow out… but make no mistake, this game could have gone either way.

The Red Sox looked like they were going to complete their third “Down by 3-1 in the ALCS” comeback in 5 seasons. Pedroia homered in the 1st and Jon Lester was on the hill… and the Rays were suddenly the Devil Rays again.
But Matt Garza didn’t let up another hit until the 7th and the Rays managed to score 3 runs and take a 3-1 lead into the 8th… setting up one of the most heart stopping innings of the decade.
Alex Cora reached on an error, knocking Garza out of the game. Against the bullpen that blew the 7-0 Game 5 lead, the Red Sox loaded the bases and had playoff hero J. D. Drew come to the plate.
In came David Price, a year removed from Vanderbilt University. Drew chased a 1-2 pitch and the inning ended as a heart breaking goose egg (for me at least). Price worked around a walk in the 9th to be one of the most unlikely bullpen closers in playoff history.
He was so cool under pressure that he was enlisted to introduce Barack Obama at a rally in Florida.


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