REVERSING THE CURSE,
THE NOMAR ERA BEGINS
The Sox stage another
9th inning walk-off
1997 ... The
Olde Towne Team got out of the American League East cellar thanks to
another ninth-inning, come-from-behind victory over the Anaheim
Angels, this time winning, 6-5. The decisive run came home on a
single by Wilfredo Cordero with the bases loaded, causing the 28,454
at Fenway Park to go wild.
didn't dare leave before the ninth, even though the Red Sox trailed, 5-3. Boston
has come from behind to win in the ninth or later seven times this season, and
did it for the second straight game. Yesterday, the Red Sox wiped out a 6-4
deficit on two singles and a three-run homer by Mo Vaughn. Today, it took four
hits, a walk, and a hit batsman to get the job done. But not only did it produce
a victory, it lifted the Red Sox a half-game ahead of Detroit.
A month ago,
the Red Sox would have had trouble pulling out such a victory. They weren't in
sync, as they appear to be thus far in the second half. They have won nine of
their last 13, and two straight since a tough double dip to Anaheim Friday.
bad early, when Aaron Sele gave up runs in the first and fourth. But Boston
scored three in the fifth, and Sele seemed on his way to his 11th victory.
Predictably, Sele turned around and gave up three runs in the seventh, including
solo home runs by Garret Anderson and Jack Howell. But the Sox somehow found a
way to rebound, thanks in a large part to relievers Jim Corsi and Ron Mahay.
relieved Sele after Luis Alicea tripled, and got a strikeout. Gary DiSarcina
reached on a failed fielder's choice, and Alicea scored on a Darin Erstad
sacrifice fly. But Corsi got another strikeout, and the Sox had avoided a huge
inning. Mahay, the one-time replacement player, kept the game close in his two
innings, earning his second career victory.
ninth began with Japanese pitcher Shigetoshi Hasegawa on the mound. Pinch hitter
Troy O'Leary greeted him with a single to left-center. Anaheim manager Terry
Collins opted for Mike James, a tough sinker-slider pitcher just off the
muscled a single to left. Then John Valentin sliced a double to left, scoring
O'Leary and sending Garciaparra to third. An intentional walk to Vaughn loaded
the bases. But the strategy backfired, as James hit Mike Stanley with a pitch,
bringing in the tying run. Cordero and James then waged a classic struggle,
which was won by the Red Sox left fielder. He may receive boos in other
situations, but when his hard grounder up the middle went into center, he was a
hero to all who cheered the Red Sox, including his teammates.