It was a truly exciting night at not only Fenway Park, but at Professor Thom's pub, as the Red Sox won a thrilling 6-3 game over the Los Angeles Angels and now have a commanding 2-0 lead in the ALDS.
Manny Ramirez hit a three-run home run, a bomb over everything in left to give the Sox the win and send the bar into an absolute frenzy. It was Manny's first "walkoff" home run since September 1996. (Boy that is so hard to believe.)
It was a tough night for Daisuke Matsuzaka, as he struggled early. He allowed three runs in the second (his usual "tough" one inning), and Terry Francona rightly pulled him in the fifth and turned it over to his bullpen. The pen was simply superb, not allowing the Angels a hit the rest of the game.
In the fifth, the Sox got an assist from the stands. With two on and one out and down 3-2, Manny Ramirez hit a foul pop that was landing just inside the first base temporary boxes. Catcher Jeff Mathis reached in, but Red Sox fan Danny Vinik snatched the ball away from him to keep Manny's at-bat alive. (In today's papers, I've been reading comparisons to Jeffrey Maier, that kid who helped the Yankees win that ALDS game in 1996. Ridiculous. Maier blatantly interfered and the Yankees got away with it, the young fan last night had every right to that ball, and didn't reach out on to the field and interfere.) The fan got a huge ovation (both at Fenway and at Thom's) and Manny walked, and the Sox tied it on Mike Lowell's sac fly.
(BTW, the Sox were lucky this was a postseason game, as had the temporary seats not been there that Mathis reached into which were only there because it was the postseason, he would have easily caught that ball.)
It then turned into a battle of the bullpens. At Thom's there seemed to be a feeling of confidence among the patrons. The bar was once again jammed, and just as crowded, if not more than Wednesday night. I just had that feeling when David Ortiz was walked intentionally for the second time in the ninth. You can tempt fate just so many times. Manny unloaded on Francisco Rodriguez' second pitch, one that caught too much of the plate, and the bar went absolutely stir crazy. My friends and I were high-fiving and hugging, and for a good five minutes it was sheer bedlam. It brought back wonderful memories of the glorious 2004 postseason.
The Red Sox are now in the driver's seat, and Curt Schilling will attempt to complete the sweep in Anaheim on Sunday afternoon.