Josh Beckett got his second win of the 2007 post season

In a match up between Cy Young contenders on a blustery fall Friday night at Fenway, each of the aces gave up a first inning run. But unfortunately for the Cleveland Indians and C.C. Sabathia it didn’t stop there as the Tribe was pounded by the Boston Red Sox 10-3 in Game One of the American League Championship Series.

Every Red Sox starter had at least one hit, Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell each had 3 RBI and Jason Varitek and Bobby Kielty drove in 2 runs each to back the 6 inning, 2 run, 4 hit, 7 strike out performance of Josh Beckett.

Kielty watches Hafners home runBoston starter Beckett who had not allowed a post season run in more than two games was touched for a wind aided solo home run by Cleveland designated hitter Travis Hafner into the Indians bullpen. It was Hafner’s second post season home run this year and gave the team from the banks of the Cuyahoga River an early 1-0 lead. But Beckett did manage to strike out the side in the inning getting Grady Sizemore and Victor Martinez looking and Asdrubal Cabrera flailing at a breaking ball.

The Red Sox came back in the bottom of the inning against Chief Wahoo’s top gun Sabathia. After preserving his own life when Dustin Pedroia lined a bullet back up the middle that was hit harder than Sabathia threw it, he gave up consecutive two strike singles to center field to Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz. Then Ramirez followed suit with a single to center of his own to plate Youkilis and tie the game 1-1. Sabathia was able to wiggle out of the 1st and 2nd with one out jam by inducing Lowell to hit into a tailor made 4-6-3 twin killing.

Lowell drives in two with a doubleAfter Sabathia struck out the side in the second inning, the Sox jumped on him for 4 runs in the third. Julio Lugo led off with a ground rule double, Pedroia sacrificed him to third. Youkilis walked after being down 0-2, Ortiz was hit by a pitch and now the bases were loaded for Ramirez who has 20 career grand slams but none in the post season among his major league high 22 career post season jacks. Ramirez quickly went into a 0-2 hole but battled back to get Sabathia to walk him and give Boston a 2-1 lead. Lowell followed with a ground rule double of his own off of Franklin Gutierrez’s glove and two more runs were plated and Sox had Big C.C. reeling and down 4-1. Kielty, playing in place of JD Drew, got an intentional walk to re-load the bases for Varitek. The captain grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Ramirez and now it was 5-1. Coco Crisp grounded out to Casey Blake at third to end the threat and get Sabathia out of the inning.

Meanwhile, since the Hafner homer, Beckett had set down 10 straight Wig-Wamers before he hit Ryan Garko with a pitch leading off the fifth but he was quickly erased when Jhonny Peralta bounced into a 6-4-3 double play. The ageless one, Kenny Lofton, who was robbed earlier in the game by a leaping, running catch by Ramirez, doubled down the left field line for the first Cleveland hit since the first inning homer. He was left standing there though as Gutierrez took a called third strike on a nasty curve from Beckett to hold the Tee Pee dwellers off the board again. It was the second whiff of the night for the young outfielder.

RBI single for MannyThe Red Sox were back on Sabathia (1-1) in the fifth, Ortiz got on base for his third time with a walk, Ramirez got on base for his third time with his second single of the night and Lowell walked to load the bases. Kielty then drilled the ball into right center field to score Ortiz and Ramirez but Lowell got hung up between second and third and was out on a run down 9-3-5, which allowed Kielty to advance to second. With the score now 7-1 Red Sox that would chase Sabathia after 4 and 1/3 innings. Jensen Lewis would come in and be greeted by a Varitek RBI double and it was now 8-1 Boston. The Sox would leave Varitek stranded at second as Crisp and Lugo would each fly out to end the inning. So much for the match up of aces as Sabathia allowed 8 runs, all earned, on 7 hits, he walked 5, hit 1 and struck out 3.

The Sons of Geronimo would get one of those runs back off of Beckett (2-0) in the 6th as Blake doubled to left to lead off the inning, with out one, Cabrera drove in a run with a single to center and the Indians got back to 8-2. But that’s as close as they would get in that inning as Beckett set down the big boppers, Hafner and Martinez to close out the frame.

In the Sox half of the sixth Pedroia and Youkilis got back to back singles to start the inning off of Lewis. Eric Wedge replaced him with lefty Aaron Fultz to face Ortiz. Fultz issued a free pass to Ortiz to once again load the bases for Ramirez. And for the second time on the night after being down 0-2 Ramirez worked a bases loaded walk to give the Sox a 9-2 lead and Manny his 3rd RBI of the night. Lowell came up and facing Tom Mastny got a sacrifice fly to center to score Youkilis for his 3rd RBI of the night and it was 10-2 Boston with one out. Drew was sent up to pinch hit for Kielty and flew out to Sizemore in center then Varitek struck out for the second time to end the inning.

Manny's 8th inning shoe stringerAfter Mike Timlin threw a scoreless 7th inning, Javier Lopez came in for the 8th and promptly gave up a lead off double to Blake. He advanced to third when Sizemore flew out to Drew in right who made a nice catch against the wall near the pole. Blake would score and cut the lead to 10-3 when Ramirez made a shoe string grab of a Cabrera liner. Lopez then walked Hafner but Martinez bounced out to Pedroia to wrap up the inning.

Eric Gagne came on for the ninth and struck out pinch hitter Chris Gomez, then gave up a single to Peralta and a double to Lofton after both Crisp and Drew failed to get to the ball quickly. He got Gutierrez to go swinging for the third time on the evening and then walked Blake to load the bases. After getting behind 3-0 he was able to strike out Sizemore for the third time on the night to close out the game.

Notes and Musings:

Box Score, Game One ALCS

This is the fourth time the two teams have met in baseball’s post season. They faced off in the Division Series in 1995, 1998 and 1999. The Indians won the first two series, the Red Sox came back to win the third series when Pedro Martinez pitched 6 perfect innings in relief in Game 5.

The Indians won their 7th AL Central title since 1995. Only the Braves (11) and Yankees (10) have more division titles in that time span.

This is Chief Wahoo’s boys first ALCS since losing to the New York Yankees four games to two in 1998. This is their fourth ALCS, they previously defeated Seattle in 1995 and Baltimore in 1997.

This is the 8th ALCS for the Red Sox. They won in 1975 (Oakland), 1986 (California) and 2004 (New York). They lost in 1988 (Oakland), 1990 (Oakland), 1999 (New York) and 2003 (New York). This is the first time since 2004 that an AL East team has advanced to the ALCS.

This is the 18th time in team history the Sox are in the post season.

What the hell was NESN’s Tina Cervasio wearing during the “Olympia Sports presents the Boston Globe Pregame Show”?? It looked like Mr. Pipps concentration poster.

Well with the game being on Fox we weren’t bombarded by promos for “Frank TV but Dane Cook I beg you…….STFU!!!!

NESN was in a bit of pickle tonight as the Bruins-Kings game didn’t start until 10:30 p.m. about the time the Red Sox game was to end. They decided to carry the hockey game live and the Red Sox post game show on tape delay once the Bruins game ends around 1 a.m. If it was me I’d have tape delayed the hockey game and carried the baseball post game show live. The reason being is this is playoff baseball Red Sox fans want the analysis of the game win or lose. While this is just the B’s 4th game of the young season and a late west coast start at that.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft was in the box of Red Sox principal owner John Henry for the game.

Danny VinikDanny Vinik, the kid who took the ball away from Jeff Mathis in ALDS Game 2, threw out the first pitch.

16-year old County music recording artist and Springfield MA native Ashley Gearing sang God Bless America.

The Red Sox were 5-2 this season against the Erie Warriors. They were 2-1 at Fenway Park.

In the ALDS the Tribe hit .283 with RISP and .444 with RISP and two out.

Fausto Carmona (3.06) and C.C. Sabathia (3.21) were second and fifth in the AL in ERA for 2007. It marked the first time since 2000 that the Indians had two pitchers in the top ten in ERA.

The Indians spent the fewest days on the DL among all 30 MLB teams.

Tonight was Sabathia’s 3rd career post season start. This year against the Red Sox he was 0-1 with a 1.29 ERA in one start a 1-0 loss to Daisuke Matsuzaka at Jacobs Field on July 24th. In his career against Boston he is 2-4 with a 3.91 ERA in 7 starts.

Manny Ramirez is 14 for 23 (.608) with 3 doubles and 4 HR’s vs. Sabathia.

Ramirez walked twice tonight with the bases loaded. He and Jim Palmer are the only players to this in post season play.

Ramirez and David Ortiz were on base all ten times they batted tonight with 4 hits, 5 walks and a hit by pitch.

Josh Beckett was 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA against Cleveland this year in two starts. In his career he is 1-3 with a 6.57 ERA vs. the Tribe in 4 starts.

Travis Hafner is 5 for 12 (.416) with 1 double and 2 HR vs. Beckett.