JASON VARITEK

THE RAYS and A ONE WAY
TICKET TO "MANNY-WOOD" ...
 2008 ALCS, GAME #6
Captain Varitek leads the
way to a final showdown

October 18, 2008 ... Carrying the good karma and momentum gained in Thursday night's historic comeback at Fenway Park, the still-defending world champion Red Sox beat the Rays again last night, 4-2, to force Game 7 for the right to advance to the World Series.

It really is the stuff of dreams. Once known as postseason floppers, the Red Sox are now kings of October. They have won nine straight American League Championship Series elimination games since the 19-8 beatdown by the Yankees in 2004.

It was Josh Beckett, and Jason Varitek, and Kevin Youkilis, and Hideki Okajima. And it was Jonathan Papelbon, closing out a Boston win and extending his postseason brilliance. It was Game No. 172 to the no-game-is-bigger-than-any-other Red Sox and provided passage to another showdown.

Easy or not, it is on to Game 7 in a series that seemed destined to end in Game 5. Still, on a night that featured a TV blackout, an injured umpire, a shocking home run by Varitek, and a solid five from Beckett, the Red Sox moved on to one last must-win to reach the World Series.

It was a game that seemed destined for greatness, and it was all due to a most unlikely source. Not that the five innings of two-run ball from Beckett could be overlooked. But it was the surprising, out-of-nowhere, home run for Varitek that gave the Sox a lead they wouldn't give up.

With Jason Bartlett having just hit an equally astounding homer inside the left field foul pole, Varitek stepped to the plate with two outs in the sixth inning with the burden of an 0-for-14 streak. He stung the pitch just hard enough to reach the first row of the right-field bleachers, though even he wasn't quite sure he had hit it hard enough. Balls don't always carry true in this ballpark.

So as James Shields was slipping in and out of trouble in the early innings, it was the pitcher with the actual big-game resume who was doing his wily best to keep the Rays off the bases. With an added focus on his curveball, in addition to a fastball that he was commanding, Beckett collected yet another postseason win. He had allowed just one hit in the first inning, a solo home run by the sizzling B.J. Upton, which hit the C-ring catwalk, then fell to the turf in left field in front of Jason Bay.

With a fastball that didn't exceed 93 miles per hour and a heavy dose of his curveball, Beckett kept the Rays without another hit until Carl Crawford flared a two-out single into short left field in the fourth. But Beckett allowed the Rays to tie up the score at 2-2 in the fifth on Bartlett's homer.

Shields and his bullpen buddies were dancing around danger. The Sox left 12 runners on base, and were just 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position. And, still they won. It all came down to doing things right. Not only did the Sox get solid starting pitching from Beckett, but they followed that with perfection from their bullpen, including two innings from Okajima. Other than that clutch hitting, the Sox found just enough runs to win, just enough momentum to give themselves another day and another game.



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2008 A.L. CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

 

 

Boston Red Sox

3 Games

 

 

Tampa Bay Rays

 3 Games

 

 
 

 

THE CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG WELCOMES YOU

2008 American League Championship Series, Game 6

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
 

BOSTON RED SOX

0

1

1

0

0

2

0

0

0

 

 

4

10

0

 
 

TAMPA BAY RAYS

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

 

 

2

4

1

 

 

W-Josh Beckett (1-0)
S-Jonathan Papelbon (3)
L-James Shields (1-2)
Attendance 40,947


2B-Ortiz (Bost), Drew (Bost)
HR-Youkilis (Bost), Varitek (Bost), Upton (TB), Bartlett (TB)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RED SOX

 

AB

R

H

 

 

Coco Crisp cf 4 1 3  

 

Dustin Pedroia 2b 4 1 0  

 

David Ortiz dh 4 0 2  

 

Kevin Youkilis 3b 5 1 1  

 

J.D. Drew rf 4 0 2  

 

Jason Bay lf 3 0 0  

 

Mark Kotsay 1b 5 0 1  

 

Jed Lowrie ss 3 0 0  

 

Jason Varitek c 4 1 1  
             
    IP H ER SO  
  Josh Beckett 5 4 2 3  
  Hideki Okajima 2 0 0 1  
  Justin Masterson 1 0 0 1  
  Jonathan Papelbon 1 0 0 1  

 

         

 

             

 

RAYS

 

AB

R

H

 

 

Akinori Iwamura 2b 4 0 0  

 

B.J. Upton cf 4 1 1  

 

Carlos Pena 1b 3 0 0  

 

Evan Longoria 3b 3 0 0  

 

Carl Crawford lf 4 0 1  

 

Cliff Floyd dh 2 0 0  

 

Willy Aybar ph 2 0 0  

 

Dioner Navarro c 3 0 1  

 

Gabe Gross rf 1 0 0  

 

Ben Zobrist ph/rf 2 0 0  

 

Jason Bartlett ss 1 1 1  
             
    IP H ER SO  
  James Shields 5.2 9 3 3  
  J.P. Howell 1 1 0 1  
  Grant Balfour 0.1 0 0 0  
  Chad Bradford 1.2 0 0 0  
  Trever Miller 0.1 0 0 0