Red Sox fall short in bid to repeat as champions
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Go on, admit it. You didn't think there was any way the Red Sox would lose Game 7, did you? After they rallied from a seven-run deficit with seven outs left to win Game 5, after they won Game 6, after the way they came back in the 2004 and 2007 ALCS, you thought the Sox would win yet again. Even when they trailed by two runs in the final innings Sunday night, you felt confident that they would come back, win the game and reach the World Series again.Don't be ashamed. You weren't alone. "I don't think anyone expected us to lose," closer Jonathan Papelbon said. "We put ourselves in position to win, and we fell a little short." After the 3-1 defeat in Game 7, shortstop Alex Cora walked through the Sox clubhouse wearing a T-shirt from the season's opening series in Japan. ("That seems like years ago," pitching coach John Farrell said of the Tokyo opener.) Catcher Jason Varitek sat surrounded by reporters, his voice breaking, unsure whether he had played his final game as a Red Sox. And while his teammates showered and dressed, third baseman Kevin Youkilis sat locked in deep concentration in front of his locker, still wearing his full uniform as if unwilling to take it off for the winter. "It hurts not going on to the World Series," Youkilis eventually said. "I didn't plan on that being my last at-bat and my last inning of ball. But it is, and we just have to move on and get ready for 2009."
ALCS GAME 7: RAYS 3, RED SOX 1
The Rays defeated the Red Sox 3-1 on Sunday night, winning the ALCS in seven games and advancing to
the World Series.
Story | ALCS page
• Jerry Crasnick: Rays headed to World Series
• Jim Caple: Red Sox surprisingly fall short
• Garza earns MVP honors
• Game 7 blog
• Inside Edge reports: Red Sox | Rays
• Vote: Phils or Rays?
• Game 7 chat
• Fan blogs
• World Series schedule
• Baseball Tonight Clubhouse: World Series glance
• Rays hold off Red Sox
• Analysis from Kruk, Phillips
• Francona on falling short
• Garza: 'Keep believing, keep fighting'
• Maddon on Garza, Price
• World Series Game 1 preview
• Reaction from ESPN Radio