REVERSING THE CURSE, PART 4 ...
THE HENRY, WERNER & LUCCHINO
ERA BEGINS

Nomar re-writes the record books

July 23, 2002 ... A makeup game between the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Devil Rays required a makeover of the record book before it was over, with Nomar Garciaparra hitting three home runs, two in the third inning, a grand slam in the fourth, and driving in eight runs in a 22-4 win over the D-Rays that had an announced crowd of 33,190 serenading the Sox shortstop with birthday greetings before it was over. It was Nomar's 29th birthday.

But celebration turned to shock in the rain-delayed night game, when the Devil Rays scored five runs before making an out in the ninth inning against Sox relievers Chris Haney and Ugueth Urbina to beat the Sox, 5-4, and split the doubleheader. It was the Sox third last-at bat loss in their last four games.

By losing the second game, in which Derek Lowe threw seven shutout innings after a 2-hour-13-minute rain delay, the Sox picked up just a half-game on the Yankees, 9-3 losers to the Indians, when they could have sliced a game and a half off their lead.

After lefthander Haney loaded the bases by giving up two singles and hitting Ben Grieve with a pitch, Urbina gave up a two-run double to former Sox infielder Andy Sheets and a three-run home run to Jared Sandberg, the 24-year-old nephew of former Cubs All-Star Ryne Sandberg. Urbina, who walked Jorge Posada with the bases loaded in the ninth inning Sunday in New York, absorbed his second loss in the last three games and dropped his record to 0-6.

Devil Rays closer Esteban Yan struck out Manny Ramirez, who had staked the Sox to an early lead with a two-run single in the first, with runners on first and second to end the game, a stunning finish before a crowd of 32,729 that witnessed the day's last just before midnight. The Devil Rays had lost nine straight games against the Sox before perhaps the most improbable win of the season for the majors' youngest team; they began the night 2-54 in games in which they trailed after eight innings.

The day couldn't have been more special for Nomar and the Sox. The Sox had lost two straight on the weekend to the Yankees, but fears of a hangover effect disappeared in a 10-run third inning, which Johnny Damon led off with the first of seven home runs hit by the Sox, with Nomar and Manny hitting consecutive home runs in the inning and combining for five home runs, 13 RBIs, five runs scored, and six hits by the end of the afternoon. In the process, they also set a major league record by becoming the first teammates to combine for nine home runs in two games.

Damon was on base five times with a double, two singles, and a walk in addition to his home run. Nixon, whose psyche supposedly was tender after a damaging error Sunday, had four hits, including his 14th home run, and Merloni scored four times in front of Nomar and Manny as the Sox, ahead, 16-4, after four innings, amassed 19 hits, equaling their season high.

The D-Rays became the first team in three years to give up 20 or more runs to the Sox, who have done it 15 times in all. As if that wasn't punishment enough, they also had to hang around last night to face Lowe, the Sox pitcher who threw a no-hitter against them here on April 27.

Tanyon Sturtze, the Worcester native, gave up three home runs, two doubles, two singles, and a walk in the span of 10 batters before Tampa Bay manager Hal McRae decided to spare him any further abuse. McRae didn't even have anyone warming up until Nixon, the eighth batter in the inning, had doubled to make it 6-4.

The 22 runs were the most unanswered runs in an American League game in 49 years, since the Yankees beat the Washington Senators Aug. 12, 1953. The Cubs scored 22 unanswered runs in a 22-6 win over San Diego May 17, 1977.

Nomar, who hit three home runs (two grand slams) here and drove in 10 runs against the Mariners May 10, 1999, joined Ted Williams (3), Jim Rice (2), and Mo Vaughn (2) as the only players in Sox history to have multiple games of three home runs. He and Vaughn are the only players to have done so in Fenway.

Nomar hit his first home run over the screen in left off Sturtze on a 3-and-0 fastball. It was the second time this season Nomar has gone deep on a 3-and-0 pitch, a count on which he never used to swing in the past.

Brandon Backe, who entered in the third and retired Merloni on a popup, gave up the second home run, a 395-foot screen job, to make it 10-4 in the third, and also yielded the slam, another screen shot (370 feet) on a 2-and-2 breaking ball.

Nomar had two more opportunities to become the third player this season (Mike Cameron, Shawn Green) to hit four home runs in a game. But he was walked in the sixth by Steve Kent and hit a first- pitch flyball to center in the eighth against Travis Phelps. Nomar, who homered twice on Sunday against the Yankees, had five home runs and 11 RBIs in two games after batting .185 (10 for 54) with no home runs and six RBIs in 13 games, the worst slump of his Sox career. He went 1 for 5 in the nightcap.

 

F   E   N   W   A   Y     P   A   R   K

 

Game #1

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
 

TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

 

4

7

2

 
 

BOSTON RED SOX

0

0

10

6

0

2

1

3

x

 

 

22

19

0

 

 

W-Tim Wakefield (4-3)
L-Tanyon Sturtze (1-10)
Attendance 33,190

 2B-Winn (TB), Nixon (2)(Bost), Mirabelli (Bost),
 Damon (Bost), Ramirez (Bost)

 HR-Cox (TB), Damon (Bost), Nixon (Bost),
 Garciaparra (3)(Bost), Ramirez (2)(Bost)

 

 

F   E   N   W   A   Y     P   A   R   K

 

Game #2

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

 

R

H

E

 
 

TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

   

 

5

9

0

 
 

BOSTON RED SOX

2

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

   

 

4

11

0

 

 

W-Victor Zambrano (4-4)
S-Esteban Yan (13)
L-Ugueth Urbina (0-6)

 2B-Huff (TB), Sheets (TB), Nixon (Bost), Varitek (Bost)

 HR-Sandberg (TB)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game #1

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Johnny Damon cf 5 4 4 .298  

 

Lou Merloni 2b 4 4 1 .252  

 

Nmr Garciaparra ss 5 3 3 .305  

 

Manny Ramirez lf 6 2 3 .337  

 

Shea Hillenbrand 3b 5 0 0 .303  

 

Brian Daubach dh 5 1 1 .270  

 

Jose Offerman 1b 5 2 1 .236  

 

Trot Nixon rf 5 3 4 .268  

 

Doug Mirabelli c 4 3 2 .228  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Tim Wakefield 5 5 4 1 4  
  Willy Banks 4 2 0 0 0  

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game #2

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Rickey Henderson lf 3 1 1 .239  

 

Brian Daubach ph 1 0 0 .269  

 

Johnny Damon cf 5 1 1 .297  

 

Nmr Garciaparra ss 5 0 1 .304  

 

Manny Ramirez dh 5 0 1 .333  

 

Jason Varitek c 4 1 2 .283  

 

Shea Hillenbrand 3b 4 0 2 .305  

 

Tony Clark 1b 3 1 1 .221  

 

Trot Nixon rf 3 0 2 .271  

 

Rey Sanchez 2b 2 0 0 .311  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Derek Lowe 7 5 0 1 5  
  Chris Haney 1 2 3 0 1  
  Ugueth Urbina 1 2 0 0 1  

 

 

         

 

 

 

2002 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

New York Yankees

62 37 -

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX

58

40

3 1/2

 

 

Baltimore Orioles

47 50 14

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays

43 55 18 1/2

 

 

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

31 67 30 1/2