And That’s That
The Red Sox creamolished the Yankees tonight in the Bronx to advance to the World Serious for the first time since 1986. Truthfully, it wasnít much of a contest at all. Johnny Damon led off the first inning with a single to left off of Kevin Brown, and promptly stole second. He was thrown out at the plate moments later, but then David Ortiz deposited a room service fastball into the right field seats to give Boston a quick 2-0 lead. Brown, who enraged teammates and Yankee fans alike when he broke his left hand punching a clubhouse wall late this season, didnít have anything. He recorded a grand total of four outs and left the bases loaded for Javier Vazquez in the second inning. Damon glicked Vazquezís first pitch into the right field seats for a grand slam.
Damon was having a truly awful series until tonight. He would add a two-run moon shot into the upper deck later on for good measure. Meanwhile, Derek Loweís sinker was working and the Yankee offense went down with much of a fight. Lowe allowed one run on one hit over six innings. Curiously, he was replaced by Pedro Martinez in the top of the seventh with the Sox comfortably ahead 8-1. The only explanation I have for the decision is that Terry Francona wanted Martinez to exact a measure of revenge against the New York crowd. So Pedro gave up back-to-back doubles to Hideki Matsui and Bernie Williams. Kenny Lofton added an RBI single and for the first time all night, the crowd was energized, chanting, “Whoís Your Daddy?” I think it was a cheap move by Francona but I understand his thinking. Johnny Damon and the rest of the team showed a class and restraint as they whupped the home team but good. Bringing in Pedro in that spot struck me as crass.
However, it would be the only speed bump in an otherwise glorious night for Boston. Martinez worked out of the inning and Mark Bellhorn blasted a home run off the right field foul pole off of Tom Gordon in the top of the eighth; Boston tacked on another run in the ninth. There would be no great Yankee comeback this time. At 12:01 on Thursday morning, October 21, 2004, Ruben Sierra grounded out to second base as the Red Sox finally beat their arch-rivals in a money game.
Fact is, this game will go down as one of the single most deflating losses in Yankee history. Plus, losing this series, after leading 3-0, just three outs from the World Serious in Game 4, has got to be one of the most painful, if not the most painful failures in Yankee history. There will be plenty of time for Yankee fans to examine what went wrong over the winter. There is blame to go all around: pitching, hitting, managing. The 2004 Yankees will be remembered as the team that choked, that blew the pennant, which is a shame because although they were a flawed team