TROT NIXON

THE CURSE OF THE BAMBINO, PART 11 ...
IT'S TIME TO "COWBOY UP"

The Sox pull this game out with
a six run ninth inning

September 1, 2003 ... The Sox pulled a rabbit out of their caps as they sprang a six-run surprise on the Phillies in the ninth inning and stole out of town after an exhilarating 13-9 victory before 61,068 at Veterans Stadium. The magician-in-chief, Trot Nixon, pulled off the greatest trick by swatting a grand slam off Berkshires native Turk Wendell with one out in the ninth to break a 9-9 deadlock for the Sox' 36th comeback victory and their 11th win after entering the final inning trailing.

They won their latest without Manny Ramirez, who repeatedly told manager Grady Little and his coaches that he was too weak from his recent case of acute throat inflammation to play. Or even to pinch hit in the ninth inning, leaving it to Damian Jackson and Lou Merloni to step up in his absence. With Ramirez as a spectator, the Sox trailed, 9-7, after an eight- inning donnybrook between the two playoff contenders, a game similar to Philadelphia's brutal 6-5 victory in 13 innings June 21 at the Vet.

So Doug Mirabelli came out swinging to lead off the ninth, waging the first of five straight tough at-bats against Philly closer Jose Mesa. After Mirabelli walked, Jackson moved him to second with a one- out single before Mesa wild-pitched them into scoring position, prompting an intentional walk to Nomar Garciaparra to load the bases. The intentional pass made sense since Garciaparra was batting .583 (7 for 12) in his career against Mesa. It looked even better for the Phillies when Merloni strode to the plate rather than Ramirez. Merloni took a mighty cut, all right. And the ball rolled down the third base line, perfectly placed for an infield single that drove in Mirabelli to make it 9-8.

For the Sox, it also worked out well that Kevin Millar was able to battle Mesa's successor, Wendell, to a 3-and-2 count before drawing a walk to knock in Jackson with the tying run. And one pitch later, Wendell left a slider over the plate to Nixon, who launched it into the right-field grandstands for the seventh slam of his career and second of the season. Nixon's blast, after he was hit on the right hand with a pitch in the eighth inning (he said he was fine), was just the latest reminder of Boston's explosive resilience.

The Sox overcame a rocky start by Jeff Suppan (six runs on 10 hits and three walks over six innings), though he helped himself by holding the Phillies scoreless in the fifth and sixth.

The Sox got them back thanks to Nixon and the likes of David Ortiz (2 for 3 with a pair of walks and a key two-run double in the eighth inning), Johnny Damon (1 for 3 with three walks and two runs), and Millar (a single, two walks, and two RBIs). But every position player chipped in except the newly called-up Bill Haselman and Ramirez.

The Phillies issued a season-high 14 walks

It was so sweet for the Sox that it hardly mattered that it came as they started a four-city, nine-game road trip. In contrast to Manny Ramirez, who was unable to play for a fourth straight time as he recovered from an acute throat inflammation, Johnny Damon returned to action after a jarring collision Saturday with Gabe Kapler. Damon reached base four times and scored twice.

 

at Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia) ...

R

H

E

BOSTON RED SOX

0

0

4

1

0

0

0

2

6

 

13

13

2

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

2

2

0

2

0

0

0

3

0

 

9

14

1

W-Byung-Hyun Kim (7-9)
L-Jose Mesa (5-7)
Attendance 61,068

2B-Nixon (Bost), Ortiz (Bost), Ledee (Phil)
HR-Nixon (Bost), Rollins (Phil), Ledee (Phil)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Johnny Damon cf 3 2 1 .276  

 

Todd Walker 2b 2 1 1 .274  

 

Dave McCarty ph 0 0 0 .341  

 

Damian Jackson pr/lf 1 2 1 .252  

 

Nmr Garciaparra ss 5 2 1 .322  

 

David Ortiz 1b 3 1 2 .291  

 

Lou Merloni pr/2b 1 1 1 .276  

 

Kevin Millar lf/1b 4 2 1 .282  

 

Trot Nixon rf 4 1 3 .312  

 

Bill Mueller 3b 6 0 1 .323  

 

Jason Varitek c 4 0 1 .277  

 

Byung-Hyun Kim p 1 0 0 .200  

 

Jeff Suppan p 2 0 0 .279  

 

Gabe Kapler ph 1 0 0 .263  

 

Scott Sauerbeck p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Mike Timlin p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Alan Embree p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Doug Mirabelli ph 0 1 0 .264  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Jeff Suppan 6 10 5 3 2  
  Scott Sauerbeck - 1 0 2 0  
  Mike Timlin 1.1 1 3 2 1  
  Alan Embree - 1 0 0 0  
  Byung-Hyun Kim 1.2 1 0 0 2  

 

 

         

 

 

 

2003 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

New York Yankees 83 53 -

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 79 58 4 1/2

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays 68 69 15 1/2

 

 

Baltimore Orioles 61 75 22

 

 

Tampa Bay Devil Rays 53 82 29 1/2

 

 

 

 

2003 WILD CARD STANDINGS

 

 

Seattle Mariners 80 57 -

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 79 58 1

 

 

Chicago White Sox 73 64 7