Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sox Win Wild One In Game Three!

On a night when rookies ruled, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia sparked the Red Sox from the top of the order, Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning and Boston beat Colorado 10-5 on Saturday for a 3-0 Series lead.

Still, the Red Sox weren't quite ready to celebrate. "We don't want to eat the cake before your birthday," Manny Ramirez said.

Ellsbury became the first rookie in 61 years with four hits in a Series game, getting three of Boston's seven doubles. Pedroia had three hits, including a bunt single that helped spark a six-run third against Josh Fogg, who allowed 12 of 19 batters to reach.

Colorado was down 6-0 in the third and seemingly out but came back with two runs in the sixth. The Rockies then closed to 6-5 when Matt Holliday hit a three-run homer in the seventh on Hideki Okajima's first pitch.

But the Rockies' chance to get back into the World Series vanished into Coors Field's thin air.

Ellsbury lofted an RBI double down the right-field line off Brian Fuentes in the eighth that just eluded Brad Hawpe's attempt at a sliding, backhand catch, and Pedroia followed with a two-run double to right that made it 9-5. Jason Varitek added a sacrifice fly in the ninth of a game that took 4 hours, 19 minutes -- the longest nine-inning game in Series history.

The 22 previous teams that took a 3-0 World Series lead all went on to win, 19 with sweeps.

"It looks like we're in groundbreaking territory," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said.

If the Rockies are the National League's best, the senior circuit has a lot of catching up to do. Maybe it is the rust of a record eight-day layoff for the Rockies, or maybe the Red Sox really are a league above.

Colorado has been outscored 25-7 and is batting just .222. Boston's batters have been bruisers, hitting .352 in the Series with 16 doubles. The Rockies were the talk of baseball with 21 wins in 22 games coming into the Series, but they've gone into reverse, looking more like the fourth-place team they were in mid-September.

Matsuzaka, the first Japanese pitcher to win a World Series game, was worth every penny of the $103 million the Red Sox spent to lure him last winter. He pitched shutout ball into the sixth and wound up allowing two runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings. He also drove in two runs with his first big league hit.

Matsuzaka left after consecutive walks with one out in the sixth, and Javier Lopez allowed consecutive RBI singles to Hawpe and Yorvit Torrealba that made it 6-2. Mike Timlin escaped when pinch-hitter Ryan Spilborghs flied to the center-field warning track and Jeff Baker, another pinch hitter, lined to leaping shortstop Julio Lugo.

Holliday had Rockies fans thinking comeback with his home run into the Rockpile, which ended a streak of 17 1/3 scoreless innings in the postseason for Okajima and closer Jonathan Papelbon. Todd Helton followed with a single, but Okajima recovered to strike out Garrett Atkins and Hawpe, then retired Torrealba on a comebacker. Papelbon retired Holliday on a flyout to left with two outs in the eighth and finished for his second save of the Series.



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