Red Sox pull off a magical comeback victory
BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox have pulled off this type of baseball miracle before, thanks to Dave Roberts' legs and Bill Mueller's bat and David Ortiz's power and heart. They've done it against the likes of Mariano Rivera and CC Sabathia. So when they found themselves trailing 7-0 in the seventh inning against Tampa Bay with the season about to expire, they had a wellspring of positive experiences to tap into.As catcher Jason Varitek so aptly put it, "You can't take away belief." So here are a few things to believe after Boston pulled off the second-biggest postseason comeback in major league history:
- You finish off defending champions when you have a foot on their throat, because hope leads to momentum, and momentum becomes contagious in the dugout, and who knows what can happen when a team starts grinding out a few marathon at-bats?
- When some Boston die-hards joked that the Red Sox had the Rays right where they wanted them trailing 3-1 in the American League Championship Series, it might not have just been idle talk borne out of desperation.
- Contrary to all logic, the ALCS will resume with a Game 6 Saturday night at Tropicana Field, when Tampa Bay's James Shields takes on Boston's Josh Beckett. If Game 5 is any indication, they might want to keep the defibrillators handy.
Outside the Lines
What does the Game 5 loss do to the Rays' confidence? Today on Outside the Lines (3 p.m. ET, ESPN), we discuss how the Rays will react to their monumental collapse.
"I don't think we can grasp the magnitude of what just happened yet," said left fielder Jason Bay. "I don't want to say [the Rays] had already written our ticket home. But it was definitely one of the more viable options."According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only larger comeback in baseball history came in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series, when the Philadelphia Athletics beat the Chicago Cubs 10-8 after trailing 8-0. Jimmy Dykes was the hitting star in that game, and Lefty Grove nailed it down for the A's with two innings of shutout relief.
As Boston manager Terry Francona likes to point out, Ortiz is always one swing away from being a major factor in a game. On this night, that single swing came in the bottom of the seventh inning.With two outs, Boston had a run home and two men on base when Ortiz stepped to the plate with a chance to make it a game. Rather than summon Trever Miller or Howell, lefties who had combined to hold Ortiz to two singles in 20 career at-bats, Maddon stuck with Balfour, his designated strikeout guy. But Balfour, ineffective in Game 2, was even worse Thursday night.
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ALCS GAME 5: RED SOX 8, RAYS 7
Down 7-0 in the seventh inning of an elimination game, the Red Sox rallied to stun the Rays 8-7 in Game 5 of the ALCS.
Story | ALCS page
• Jerry Crasnick: Magical comeback win for Sox
• Jim Caple: Stunned Rays hope for the best
• Game 5 blog
• Fan blog reaction
• Inside Edge reports: Red Sox | Rays
• Ortiz, Drew power Boston's comeback
• Drew on late-innings heroics
• Crisp on his game-tying single
• Analysis from Kruk & Buck
• Managers Francona and Maddon
• BBTN Minute: ALCS Game 6 preview
• Complete reaction from ESPN Radio