|Facing elimination, Red Sox lead 2-1 after 6 innings|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 18 October 2007 17:49|
The Indians led the best-of-seven series 3-1 and were trying to clinch a pennant at home for the first time. Boston ace Josh Beckett was trying to send the series back to Fenway Park.
With the score 1-1 in the top of the third, David Ortiz drew a two-out walk from C.C. Sabathia. Ramirez then hit a drive to deep center field where Grady Sizemore leaped at the wall. The ball appeared to hit the yellow line on top of the wall before bouncing back on the field.
Ramirez jogged to first base as Ortiz raced around to score, and umpires ruled the ball was in play. Jacobs Field ground rules state that a ball is a home run if it travels over the yellow line on top of the wall on a fly.
Ramirez, Red Sox manager Terry Francona and first-base coach Luis Alicea contended it should have been a homer. The umpires conferred and stood by the original call. Bench coach Brad Mills came out to escort Francona, who was becoming more animated, back to the dugout.
Sabathia stranded Ramirez by striking out Mike Lowell.
He and Beckett faced each other in a rematch of Game 1, won by the Red Sox 10-3. The Indians took the next three games.
If a sixth game is necessary, Curt Schilling will pitch in Boston on Saturday night against Fausto Carmona.
Kevin Youkilis homered for Boston in the first and Sizemore scored for Cleveland in the bottom of the inning.
Players rushed onto the field from both dugouts and bullpens when Kenny Lofton flied out to left on a 3-1 pitch in the fifth. After the previous pitch, he had dropped his bat on the plate, but umpire Gary Cederstrom called it a strike. When Lofton hit the next pitch, Beckett yelled at him. Lofton responded and, after running to first, walked toward Beckett.
There were no blows struck or ejections.
In the second, Sabathia and Beckett each walked one batter and struck out two. It was the first walk issued by Beckett in the playoffs, a span of 16 2-3 innings.
He retired the next nine hitters before singles by Casey Blake and Sizemore put runners at first and third in the fifth. But Beckett struck out Asdrubal Cabrera to end the inning then retired the side in order in the sixth.
Sabathia left the bases loaded in the fifth before retiring the side in order for the first time in the sixth.
Youkilis' homer came with one out. Ortiz struck out and Ramirez hit a fly ball, but left fielder Lofton took a bad angle and the ball rolled past him into left-center field for a double.
Then the Indians were bailed out by a poor decision by Boston third-base coach DeMarlo Hale.
Lowell flared a single to right and Hale waved Ramirez around third. Strong-armed Franklin Gutierrez threw the ball on a fly to catcher Victor Martinez. He tagged Ramirez, who was several feet from the plate and didn't bother to slide after flipping his helmet off halfway down the line.
Cleveland tied it quickly as Sizemore led off the first with a double, took third on Cabrera's single and scored on Travis Hafner's double-play grounder.
Beckett has three postseason shutouts, the latest in the opener of Boston's three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels in the first round.
Then he allowed two runs in six innings of the ALCS opener. Sabathia, lacking an aggressive approach and struggling with his control, gave up eight runs in just 4 1-3 innings in that game.
Ramirez's double tied Pete Rose's LCS-record 15-game hitting streak.