ON THIS DATE (October 18, 2004) ...
David Ortiz and the Red Sox just beat the Yankees in two extra-inning playoff games on the same calendar day.
In perhaps the most thrilling and torturous postseason game in 104 years of Red Sox baseball, the Sox beat the Yankees, 5-4, when the mythic Ortiz singled home Johnny Damon from second base in the bottom of the 14th at 10:59 p.m. It came less than 23 hours after the same Ortiz cracked a walkoff homer to win Game 4 at 1:22
this morning. The Hub has never seen two days of baseball drama like this.
The Yankees have to be wondering what hit them the last two nights at Fenway. New York embarrassed the Red Sox, 19-8, Saturday, taking what looked like an insurmountable lead in the series. But now the Sox have pushed the issue back to the Apple and both teams have depleted bullpens. Tim
Wakefield was right in the middle of it. In that last inning, he was on fumes. He pitched the last inning on heart.
Game 5 featured 35 players, including 14 pitchers. Wakefield, the man who was on the mound when the Yankees broke the Sox' hearts in 2003, dazzled New York with three innings of one-hit, shutout, shout-out relief.
The winning rally started when the slumping Damon (2 for 24) drew a one-out walk off Esteban Loaiza in the bottom of the 14th. With two outs, Manny Ramirez (no RBIs in 21 at-bats) walked to push Damon to second. Enter "Papi," who can lay claim to being the most clutch performer in Sox
history. He already has 9 RBIs in five games. He worked the count to 2-and-2, then started fouling off pitches. On the 10th pitch from Loaiza, Ortiz dumped a single into center and again there was bedlam on the Fenway lawn.
Neither team had scored since the Sox rallied from a 4-2 deficit and put two runs on the board in the bottom of the eighth. Pedro Martinez was not sharp. He failed to register a 1-2-3 inning. For the second straight game, Mariano Rivera blew a save, this time when Varitek hit a sacrifice fly
to center. That was the end of the scoring until the 14th.
Varitek's three passed balls while catching Wakefield in the 13th inning of Game 5 set a postseason record, topping the two that got away from Pat Borders in the second inning of Game 5 of the 1991 ALCS between Toronto and Minnesota.
It was certainly a special couple of days at Fenway.