Cabrera, who flew all night after leaving the team for two days
to go home to Colombia to be with his ailing wife, homered in the
bottom of the 12th inning to lead the Red Sox to their second
straight win in their last at-bat, 7-6 over the Baltimore Orioles
on Wednesday night.
Cabrera lined a 2-2 pitch from Rick Bauer (1-1) into the Green
Monster seats in left field. Cabrera's wife, Eliana, underwent an
undisclosed surgical procedure earlier this week.
"I slept the whole night on the plane," Cabrera said. "From
Bogota to New York -- six hours."
On Tuesday, Mark Bellhorn's two-out, two-run single in the
bottom of the ninth lifted the Red Sox to a 3-2 win. Wednesday's
victory moved the Red Sox 6˝ games ahead of Anaheim in the
wild-card race and cut their AL East deficit to 3˝ games behind the
New York Yankees, who play a three-game series at Fenway Park this
"I was thinking about taking another day because my wife asked
me to stay another day," he said. "I kept saying, `I got to go. I
got to go."
Once Cabrera got back to Boston, he told manager Terry Francona
he was ready to play.
"Once I landed in Boston, I went to my apartment and called
Terry and left a voice mail saying I was here and that I wanted to
Curtis Leskanic (3-5) worked out of a bases-loaded jam with one
out in the top of the inning for the win.
Baltimore loaded the bases with one out against Leskanic, but
the Red Sox turned a 3-2-4 double play on Jay Gibbons' grounder
when first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz threw home before Jason
Varitek fired to Pokey Reese, covering first.
"What a play!" Francona said. "The whole way around:
Mientkiewicz, Varitek, back to first."
David Ortiz gave Boston a 6-5 lead with his 40th homer in the
seventh, but Rafael Palmeiro belted a pinch-hit homer leading off
the ninth against Boston closer Keith Foulke to tie it. It was
Palmeiro's 549th homer, moving him into 10th place on the career
list ahead of Mike Schmidt.
Boston is 5-0 in games Foulke has blown saves at home.
The Red Sox loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but
Jason Grimsley got Cabrera and Bill Mueller to ground into
fielder's choice grounders. Third baseman Melvin Mora barehanded
Cabrera's high chop and fired home, cutting down pinch-runner Dave
Roberts. Mueller followed by grounded to second.
"Melvin made a phenomenal play, phenomenal play with the bases
loaded," Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli said. "Can't hang your
head, not the way (we) played."
The Orioles had the best chance in the next two innings, but
Larry Bigbie grounded out to end the 10th with runners on first and
Foulke also blew a save in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 3-2
win, allowing a two-run homer to Javy Lopez, before Bellhorn won
Ortiz became the 10th player in team history to hit 40 for
Boston. He joined Manny Ramirez, who leads the AL with 41 homers,
as the first Red Sox teammates to each hit 40 since Hall of Famer
Carl Yastrzemski and Rico Petrocelli each hit 40 in 1969.
David Newhan hit a two-run homer for the Orioles, who had won
five of six meetings at Fenway Park before dropping the last two.
"We've played these guys tough all year," Gibbons said.
"These games weren't gimmies for these guys. We make them work."
The Orioles went ahead 5-4 in the sixth on Bigbie's RBI double
off reliever Mike Myers.
Orioles starter Sidney Ponson gave up six runs and 11 hits in
Boston took a 2-0 lead in the second on Ramirez's run-scoring
groundout and Mueller's sacrifice fly.
The Orioles tied it at 2 in the fourth on consecutive RBI
doubles by B.J. Surhoff and Lopez.
Baltimore took a 4-2 lead in the fifth on Newhan's two-run homer
into the Red Sox's bullpen after Brian Roberts walked.
The Red Sox tied it 4-4 in the fifth, but poor baserunning
likely cost them a run. Ramirez had an RBI double and Trot Nixon
added a bases-loaded single, but Ramirez held at third on the play
despite being waved home by third-base coach Dale Sveum on a
grounder up the middle.
Bellhorn struck out twice, giving him 163 for the season,
setting a club record. Butch Hobson fanned 162 times in 1977.
Boston starter Bronson Arroyo gave up five runs and six hits in
5 1-3 innings.<
^Note:@ Newhan was 0-for-9 in the series before he doubled in the
first. ... Palmeiro missed Tuesday's game with a strained right