Shea Hillenbrand's walk-off
 rescues the Red Sox in the 18th inning

SHEA HILLENBRAND

ON THIS DATE (June 5, 2001) ... It lasted so long that the Tigers tied an American League record by walking Manny Ramirez four times. No A.L. team had intentionally walked anyone four times in a game since Yankee great Roger Maris received four free passes from the Los Angeles Angels May 22, 1962.

It went so long that the Red Sox and Tigers used every last position player on their rosters and all but depleted their already overworked bullpens. It got so desperate that the Sox used two relievers, Rod Beck and Rich Garces, who pitched for a fourth straight day and finally rolled out Tim Wakefield, who is scheduled to start tomorrow.

And it even lasted long enough that a crew of bleacher creatures, reflecting the determination of both teams, abandoned their post- midnight chant of "Yankees Suck" and broke into "Hell, no, we won't go."

In a marathon that rivaled the longest game at Fenway in 20 years, a 20-inning affair against Seattle Sept. 3 and 4, 1981, the Sox and Tigers waged a 5-hour 52-minute dogfight until the Big Dog of the moment, Shea Hillenbrand, smacked an 0-and-1 pitch from Dave Borkowski over the Green Monster to lead off the bottom of the 18th inning for a 4-3 victory in the sleepy Fens.

The last act of the mini-epic unfolded before the last bastion of bedraggled souls - fewer than 5,000 - among the 32,814 who had passed through the Fenway turnstiles hours the night before. It was the longest contest for the Sox since they were defeated, 5- 4, in a 19-inning epic against the Mariners in Seattle last Aug. 1. Before it was over, the Sox and Tigers had used 40 players who had 127 at-bats, saw 482 pitches, and gotten 27 hits.

For the hardy souls who stuck it out in the Fens, the standoff provided a multitude of twists and more scares than either teams cared to bear. The win went to Wakefield, who escaped a crucial jam when he picked off the potential go-ahead runner, Jose Macias, at second with two out in the top of the 18th.



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W-Tim Wakefield (3-0)
L-Dave Borkowski (0-2)
Attendance - 23,199

2B-Easley (Det), Palmer (Det), Cruz (Det)

HR-Encarnacion (Det), O'Leary (Bost), Ramirez (Bost),  Daubach (Bost), Hillenbrand (Bost)