JASON VARITEK

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

 2003 ALCS, GAME #6
A late inning Sox comeback
evens up the series

October 15, 2003 ... Trailing the Yankees, 6-4, in the seventh inning last night, on the very brink of elimination in the ballyard in which so many Sox hopes have been dashed, the Red Sox rallied for three runs in the seventh and two more in the ninth to beat the Yankees, 9-6, in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.

The resurgent Sox offense exploited Andy Pettitte and a squadron of Yankee relievers. Some of the guys who have struggled the most made the biggest difference, including Nomar Garciaparra (4 for 5 with two runs), David Ortiz (2 for 5 with three RBIs), and Kevin Millar (2 for 5 with an RBI).

The Sox kept their powder dry for Game 7 by holding back Martinez and gambling on John Burkett, the 38-year-old gunslinger who had not pitched for 10 days since he beat the A's in Game 4. Burkett entered the game with a solid record when he had pitched on more than five days' rest in his two years with the Sox: 3-0 with a 2.95 ERA in six starts. And he fared reasonably well for three innings, allowing only a homer to Jason Giambi with two out in the first.

The Sox rewarded him by rolling up their biggest inning of the series, a four-run outburst in the third ignited by Varitek's shot off Pettitte. Sox manager Grady Little made no secret before the game that the only way the Sox would rise out of the muck of their postseason slump was to bunch some hits together. Of the team's 32 postseason runs entering the game, 21 were generated by homers. It was time for some semblance of small ball, Little suggested, and Damon responded by drawing a walk off Pettitte immediately after Varitek's shot. Todd Walker then singled Damon to second before Garciaparra bounced into a fielder's choice and Manny Ramirez walked on four pitches to load the bases for Ortiz, who laced a two-run single to left-center before Millar capped the four-run rally by singling home Ramirez.

But with the lead in hand, Burkett let it slip away in the fourth, with an error by Garciaparra hastening the slide. With one out, Burkett surrendered consecutive singles to Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui before Nick Johnson belted a ground-rule double to right-center, making it 4-2. Matsui then dashed home as Aaron Boone grounded out to lift the Yankees to within a run, 4-3. Enter Garciaparra. When Karim Garcia stroked a routine bouncer to short, Garciaparra bobbled it for an error, putting runners at the corners and forcing Burkett to get an additional out, which he couldn't. Alfonso Soriano whacked Burkett's next pitch for a two-run double, routing the right-hander as the Yankees seized a 5-4 lead. Burkett's relief, Bronson Arroyo, picked him up in the fourth but faltered in the fifth, surrendering a solo blast to Posada that stuck the Sox in a 6-4 jam.

NOMAR GARCIAPARRA

No problem. When Garciaparra tripled and scored on Matsui's throwing error to start the seventh, the Sox were back in business. Garciaparra's triple sparked the Sox. Ramirez followed with a double before Ortiz singled him home. And when Damon drew a bases-loaded walk off Felix Heredia soon after, the Sox were up, 7-6, a lead Trot Nixon widened with a two-run homer off Gabe White in the ninth.

The Sox pen responded superbly as well, as Todd Jones, Alan Embree, Mike Timlin and Scott Williamson combined to pitch four scoreless innings down the stretch.

So now, after 25 meetings since May (Sox 12, Yankees 13), including six soul-sapping playoff games over the last eight days, it all comes down to one game tonight at Yankee Stadium: Pedro Martinez vs. Roger Clemens, Red Sox vs. Yankees, Athens vs. Sparta for the right to represent the American League in the World Series.



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2003 A.L. CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

 

 

Boston Red Sox

3 Games

 

 

New York Yankees

3 Games

 

 

2003 American League Championship Series, Game 6

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
 

BOSTON RED SOX

0

0

4

0

0

0

3

0

2

   

9

16

1

 
 

NEW YORK YANKEES

1

0

0

4

1

0

0

0

0

   

6

12

2

 

 

W-Alan Embree (1-0)
S-Scott Williamson (3)
L-Jose Contreras (0-1)
Attendance 56,277

2B-Mueller (2)(Bost), Ramirez (Bost), Damon (Bost),
Johnson (NY), Soriano (NY)
3B-Garciaparra (Bost)
HR-Varitek (Bost), Nixon (Bost), Giambi (NY), Posada (NY)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RED SOX

 

AB

R

H

 

 

Johnny Damon cf 3 0 1  

 

Todd Walker 2b 6 1 1  

 

Damian Jackson 2b 0 0 0  

 

Nomar Garciaparra ss 5 2 4  

 

Manny Ramirez lf 4 2 1  

 

David Ortiz dh 5 1 2  

 

Kevin Millar 1b 5 0 2  

 

Bill Mueller 3b 5 1 3  

 

Trot Nixon rf 5 1 1  

 

Jason Varitek c 4 1 1  
             
    IP H ER SO  
  John Burkett 3.2 7 3 1  
  Bronson Arroyo 1.1 2 1 2  
  Todd Jones 0.1 1 0 1  
  Alan Embree 1.2 1 0 1  
  Mike Timlin 1 1 0 1  
  Scott Williamson 1 0 0 1  

 

         

 

             

 

YANKEES

 

AB

R

H

 

 

Alfonso Soriano 2b 5 0 2  

 

Derek Jeter ss 3 0 1  

 

Jason Giambi dh 5 1 1  

 

Bernie Williams cf 5 0 0  

 

Jorge Posada c 5 2 2  

 

Hideki Matsui lf 4 1 2  

 

Nick Johnson 1b 4 1 3  

 

Aaron Boone 3b 4 0 0  

 

Karim Garcia rf 4 1 1  
             
    IP H ER SO  
  Andy Pettitte 5 8 4 5  
  Jose Contreras 1.1 4 3 3  
  Felix Heredia 0.2 0 0 2  
  Jeff Nelson 1.1 2 1 2  
  Gabe White 0.2 2 1 1