Sunday, October 21, 2007

Game 7: A Red Sox History

The Red Sox have gotten to the 10th Game 7 in their storied history last night with a 12-2 drubbing of the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park last night. In the process, they are trying to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series, something they have done twice in the postseason (1986 ALCS and 2004 ALCS). The Sox are also in Game 7 of the ALCS for the third time in the last five years.

Yesterday we took a look at each Game 6 in Red Sox history. Today it's time to look at each Game 7. The results overall aren't as good, but still it's been as interesting as Game 6.

1903 World Series at PIT: The immortal Cy Young went all the way in the Americans 7-3 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh to send the first World Series to a Game 8 (it was best-of-nine) back to Boston, where the Americans won 3-0 to win the first ever Fall Classic.

1912 World Series vs. NYG: The Giants tied the World Series at 3 at Fenway with an 11-4 pounding of the Sox, as they score 6 runs off Smokey Joe Wood in the first inning. (There was a tie game in Game 2, so it brought on an eight-game series.) The Red Sox would win the World Series the next day with a 3-2 win in 10 innings on Larry Gardner's sacrifice fly.

1946 World Series at STL: The favored Red Sox were tied with the Cardinals, 3-3 n the eighth when, with Enos Slaughter on first, when Harry Walker gets a base hit to left and Slaughter scores all the way from first in his famous "mad dash." Johnny Pesky is called a goat in the series for holding on to the ball as Slaughter headed for the plate, but film evidence contradicts that.

1967 World Series vs. STL: The Red Sox were down 3-1 in the series, but fought back to win the next two to force a Game 7. It was a matchup of two of the best pitchers in baseball: Bob Gibson vs. Jim Lonborg. Lonborg won Game 5 and pitched on short rest, but Gibson was just too much as he won his third game of the series, 7-2.

1975 World Series vs. CIN: The Red Sox won Game 6 in dramatic style and took a 3-0 lead in the first inning behind Bill Lee. But it wouldn't last as Cincinnati tied the game with two runs in the sixth and Tony Perez hit a solo shot off Lee to tie the game. The Reds won it in the ninth off rookie Jim Burton on Joe Morgan's single.

1986 ALCS vs. CAL: The shellshocked Angels were no match for the Red Sox, as they scored seven runs in the first four innings that included home runs by Jim Rice and Dwight Evans and won 8-1. It would be Roger Clemens' only postseason win in a Red Sox uniform, and it capped off a remarkable comeback by the Red Sox, as they were down to their last strike in Game 5 and came all the way back to win.

1986 World Series at NYM: After the devastating loss of two nights earlier, the Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but like in Game 7 of 1975, they would lose the lead starting in the sixth, as the Mets scored three in that inning and two more in the seventh and would go on to an 8-5 win.

2003 ALCS at NYY: It was Pedro vs. Clemens. The Sox scored early, and built up a 5-2 lead on home runs by Trot Nixon, Kevin Millar, and David Ortiz. Pedro Martinez pitched seven solid innings and appeared to be leaving the game...and you know the rest.

2004 ALCS at NYY: In the immortal words of Joe Castiglione: "The greatest win in team history." The Red Sox cap the greatest comeback in MLB postseason history as Johnny Damon hits two huge home runs and drives in six as Yankee fans sit back and watch the Red Sox celebrate their first AL pennant in 18 years on their sacred turf. Exactly one week later it would conclude with the Red Sox' first championship in 86 years.

So, the Red Sox are 3-6 in Game 7s in their history. It may not be as glorious as some of the Game 6 wins (but the last one in 2004 sure did negate a lot of the previous hard losses), but it sure has been fascinating to look back at. We'll see where tonight's game lives up as far as past Game 7 are concerned. It should be fun.

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