ON THIS DATE (April 15, 1998) ... For
the fourth time on this homestand, the Red Sox won in their last
at-bat, Troy O'Leary singling home John Valentin in the bottom of the
ninth for a 4-3 triumph, their sixth in a row as they stayed perfect
on Yawkey Way. And for the first time since 1984, Dennis Eckersley
rang up a win for the Red Sox.
outs, nobody on, and one strike away from extra innings, Valentin lined a
ground-rule double into the right-field corner off reliever Mike Mohler. With
first base open, Mo Vaughn was intentionally walked, bringing up O'Leary, who
already had homered and singled and scored twice. O'Leary grounded a base hit
just past first baseman Matt Stairs to score Valentin, whose diving play at
third on a smash by A.J. Hinch helped keep the A's from seizing the lead in the
three-hit game, O'Leary lifted his average on the homestand to .500 (10 for 20).
All three of his home runs have come at home, including one each of the last two
nights, both into the right-field bullpen. He has scored seven runs and knocked
in five in the last six games. This was the sixth time in his career he has
homered in consecutive games and only the second he has hit three homers in four
games. Three years ago, he homered in three consecutive games.
hitting .349 after batting .217 on the season-opening eight-game trip, has been
thrust into a much higher profile by three developments. He signed a four-year,
$14.8 million contract this winter; he is playing every day as opposed to
sitting against lefthanders; and as of Tuesday, he is hitting behind Vaughn in
the Sox order against righthanders.
their job last night. The last five hitters in the order combined for eight of
Boston's 11 hits and three runs. O'Leary's second-inning homer made it 1-0, and
after Oakland took a 2-1 lead in the third against rookie Brian Rose, the Sox
tied it on Darren Lewis's two-out triple and Mike Benjamin's single on an 0-2
The Sox took
a 3-2 lead in the sixth when O'Leary singled, took third on a double by catcher
Scott Hatteberg, and scored on a double-play grounder by Lewis. The A's tied it
in the seventh on a double by Rafael Bournigal and a single by Jason McDonald,
but on Yawkey these days, it's starting to resemble the NBA: Only the last two