REVERSING THE CURSE,
THE NOMAR ERA BEGINS
Mo's walk-off homer wins for the Sox
1997 ... When
all else fails, you still can count on Mo Vaughn. He is cut from the
mold that one day could produce a championship for the Red Sox. Right
now, he's just a lot of fun to watch.
Vaughn waited until the ninth inning to save the Olde Towne Team from a sure
defeat. Then he slashed a dramatic three-run homer off hard-throwing Troy
Percival of the Anaheim Angels to give Boston a 7-6 victory that sent a sellout
crowd of 32,148 into a frenzy. It was a first for Vaughn, who had won many a
game with his bat, but never one at Fenway Park with what the Japanese call a
sayonara home run.
With the Sox
trailing, 6-4, Nomar Garciaparra and John Valentin set the stage with singles
off the Angels closer, who blew only his fourth save in 18 tries this year. The
count on Vaughn was 2-2 and Percival had thrown nothing but fastballs to the
slugging first baseman. He tried one more, and Vaughn sent it 435 feet into the
center-field seats. There was never a doubt.
Avery struggling early and giving up six runs, the Sox were on the verge of
losing their third straight to the Angels, who have been red-hot lately. But the
home-run ball has saved Boston on many a night, and this was no exception.
Angels starter Jason Dickson left after six innings with a 6-2 lead. Boston made
it close in the seventh on solo homers by Valentin and Mike Stanley, his second
pinch homer of the season. After Avery left, lefty Butch Henry kept Anaheim off
the scoreboard and gave Boston a chance for some late-inning thunder.
followed was the kind of confrontation that brings out the best in Vaughn. Since
coming off the disabled list July 17, he has been searching for a groove, a
rhythm that only he truly understands. Until he finds it, he usually just snarls
and snaps at pitchers. This night, he struck like a cobra.