On This Date in Sports in October 28, 2007: Red Sox Do it Again
In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
The Boston Red Sox are World Champions again, sweeping the Colorado Rockies in four straight for their second title in four years. The Fall Classic is anything but classic as the Rockies are clearly overmatched from start to finish as they outscored in the four games 29-10. Mike Lowell is named series MVP, with a .400 average, a home run, three RBI, and six runs scored in the four-game whitewash.
Just getting to the World Series was a miracle for the Colorado Rockies managed by Clint Hurdle, who held a record of 76-72 on September 16th. The Rockies would go on a great run over the final two weeks, winning 13 of 14 games as they finished the 162-game schedule and 89-73 in a tie with the San Diego Padres for the National League Wild Card. Hosting a one-game playoff against the Padres at Coors Field, the Rockies played one of the greatest games ever, as 13 innings were needed to decide a back-and-forth battle won by Colorado 9-8. Propelled by the end-of-the-year run, the Rockies riding lightning in the bottle, swept the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS to reach the World Series.
The Boston Red Sox no longer had a curse to deal with after winning the World Series in 2004. In the two years after ending their drought, Boston was swept by Chicago White Sox, who ended their own drought in 2005 and missed the playoffs altogether in 2006. Two players who struggled in their first season in Boston, Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett, were keys to the Red Sox's resurgence in 2007. The Red Sox acquired the two players in a Thanksgiving Day deal with the Florida Marlins in 2005, sending their top prospect Hanley Ramirez to Florida in return. The Red Sox won their first division title under Terry Francona in 2007, posting a record of 96-66. After sweeping the Los Angeles Angels in the Division Series, the Red Sox were pushed to the brink in the ALCS by the Cleveland Indians, trailing 3-1 with Game 5 at Jacobs Field. Boston would bash the Indians in historic fashion over the final three games, winning by a combined score of 30-5 to advance to the World Series.
Momentum was the deciding factor in the 2007 postseason. After their excellent finish, the Rockies carried the momentum into the playoffs and won seven straight to reach the World Series, but had to endure an eight-day layoff before the first game of the World Series at Fenway Park. The Red Sox, who outscored the Tribe 30-5 in the final three games of the ALCS, had just two days off and picked up right where they left off as ALCS MVP Josh Beckett struck out the Rockies in the first inning of Game 1. Dustin Pedroia meanwhile hit a leadoff home run against Jeff Francis to give the Red Sox their first lead. The Red Sox would add two more runs in the first inning for a 3-0 lead. Troy Tulowitzki put Colorado on the board with a double in the second inning. It would be the only run Josh Beckett would allow as he pitched seven innings, allowing one run on six hits with nine strikeouts. The Red Sox meanwhile got a run-scoring double by David Ortiz in the second and a two-run double by Jason Varitek in the fourth inning to make it 6-1. In the fifth inning, the game would go off the rails for the Rockies as Boston scored seven runs as Ryan Speier came on to pitch with the bases loaded and two outs with four runs already across, walking three straight batters to make it a 13-1.
In Game 2, the Rockies scored a first-inning run against Curt Schilling as Willy Tavares was hit by a pitch to lead off the game and came around to score. It would be the only run the Rockies would score as Schilling, Hideki Okajima, and Jonathan Papelbon combined to allow just four hits. Ubaldo Jimenez had a strong start for Colorado but got the loss, as the Red Sox scored a run in the fourth and took the lead on a double by Mike Lowell in the fifth to win the game 2-1.
As the series shifted to Coors Field, the Rockies turned to Josh Fogg to keep their hopes alive in Game 3, while Daisuke Matsuzaka got the start for the Red Sox. After two scoreless innings, the Red Sox broke the game open with six runs in the third inning; as David Ortiz got the scoring started with a double, he would come into score on a two-run double by Mike Lowell. The Red Sox onslaught continued when Matsuzaka helped his own cause with a two-run single and came into score on a double by Jacoby Ellsbury to cap the rally. The Rockies cut into the deficit in the sixth on RBI hits by Brad Hawpe and Yorvit Torrealba. In the seventh inning, Matt Holliday made it a one-run game with a three-run home run. However, Colorado would not get any closer Boston scored three runs on back-to-back doubles by Ellsbury and Pedroia, while Jason Varitek capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to make a 10-5 final in favor of the Red Sox.
The Red Sox had cancer survivor Jon Lester on the mound in Game 4, looking to win the World Series with a sweep, while Aaron Cook looked to salvage at least one game for the Rockies. Dustin Pedroia led off with a double and scored on a single by David Ortiz to start the countdown in Boston. In the fifth, Mike Lowell led off with a double and scored on a hit by Jason Varitek to make it 2-0 as the countdown continued. Lowell added a home run in the seventh, while Brad Hawpe put the Rockies on the board in the bottom of the inning. Bobby Kielty continued the Boston attack with a home run in the eighth to make it 4-1. Garrett Atkins hit a two-run shot off Hideki Okajima to give Colorado some hope at 4-3 in the eighth inning. However, Jonathan Papelbon slammed the door shut, retiring all five batters he faced, including a strikeout to Seth Smith to end the World Series.