ON THIS DAY (June
10, 1985) ... On their last chance of the evening,
the Sox parlayed fantasy, fortune and ferocious determination into a
three-run rally: specifically, a three-run Jim Rice homer into the
screen that gave them a 4-2 victory, ran their winning streak to
eight games, extended their overall surge to 11-1 and pulled them
into a third-place tie, 6 1/2 games behind front-running Toronto.
The first eight innings of this latest chapter in Red Sox resourcefulness were
implausible; the climax bordered on the impossible. It began with a single to
the opposite field by Wade Boggs. It proceeded with a would-be sacrifice bunt by
Bill Buckner that was headed into foul territory before it struck a kind-hearted
pebble and wound up as a single. And it ended with Rice's blast, which came
after the Boston strongman had twice failed to lay down his first sacrifice in
For eight innings, this match was the equivalent of the heavyweight boxing
championship being determined with a game of patty-cake. Two teams that had been
tattooing AL pitching, suddenly saw their bats turned into stumps by a pair of
left-handers with the wind blowing out at Fenway, no less.
The Brewers had packed a bit more wallop as Cecil Cooper's two-run third inning
homer overshadowed Glenn Hoffman's second-inning solo shot and gave Milwaukee a
2-1 lead. It appeared that would be the extent of the offense. And it appeared
Bob Ojeda would be cursed. In his third start since returning from the bullpen
to the rotation, Ojeda (4-1) was masterful, limiting the Brewers to seven hits
and retiring 18 of the 20 batters he faced after Cooper's bomb into the
But Ojeda seemed destined to see both his earned-run average (now 2.25) and
won-lost record lowered, because his counterpart, Milwaukee rookie Teddy Higuera,
had stifled the Sox on three hits and had set down 20 of the 21 batters he faced
after Hoffman's homer.
Boggs ended Higuera's spellbinding stretch with a leadoff single to left. Then
came Buckner's carom shot. At that point, with runners on first and second,
Brewer interim manager Frank Howard hauled Higuera off the mound, sending in
relief ace Rollie Fingers to face Rice.
Meanwhile, Rice, who was in the cleanup spot despite a scratched left cornea
that had forced him out of Sunday's game, was being assigned to perform the
unimaginable: sacrifice. Rice's best didn't quite pan out. He fouled his first
bunt attempt down the third-base line. His second bid went skimming toward
first, but it had originally struck his foot for strike two, meaning that the
sacrifice experiment now had to be scrapped. After two more pitches, Rice sent
the into the screen, and the Red Sox into third place.