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Home » 2007 PostseasonOctober 2007 » Diné


ALCS Game 6: October 20, 2007
Indians 2 L: Fausto Carmona (0-1) ALDS: 3-1
ALCS: 3-3
WinRed Sox 12 W: Curt Schilling (2-0) ALDS: 3-0
ALCS: 3-3
Highlights: “Diné” is what people that we call the Navajo call themselves. Jacoby Ellsbury represented his people proudly with a 1-for-5 showing accompanied by a run and an RBI. Take note, Cleveland fans: this is an authentic Native American. Not Chief Wahoo, who, as Jonathan Zimmerman wrote in The Christian Science Monitor, should go the way of Sambo.

The Red Sox loaded the bases in the first after Curt Schilling sat down the top of the order, one, two, three.

It seemed so easy, A, B, C. Dustin Pedroia bounced the ball towards his counterpart Asdrubal Cabrera, who rounded second base, barehanded the catch, and threw across his body. Unlike cribbage matches against his manager, Pedroia beat the throw. He also motored hard to second on Kevin Youkilis’s ground ball to short, unnerving Cabrera enough that he couldn’t hold onto Jhonny Peralta’s relay.

With none out, David Ortiz watched uno, dos, tres pitches from Fausto Carmona miss the zone. A generous Dana DeMuth called two strikes, the first less strikey than the second. But the fifth pitch was way outside and the bases were replete with baserunners.

Surprisingly, neither Manny Ramirez nor Mike Lowell drove in a run. So, with two out and three on, the much-maligned J.D. Drew serenely stepped into the box. Drew was as tranquil as Carmona was perturbed; the young pitcher fell behind 3-1 in the count and then threw a sinker down the pipe.

Drew’s effortless swing dropped the ball into the camera hut in center. A grand slam in an elimination game in the ALCS made a $70M price tag suddenly palatable, a vilified player immediately pleasing. The only expression of Drew’s emotion? A clenched fist as the ball disappeared at the feet of the cameramen.

With łáá'íí, naaki, táá', dįį' runs on the board, all that remained was for Curt Schilling, the paragon of postseason pitching, to turn in a quality start. He did that, and more: seven innings, six hits, two earned runs, no walks, and five strikeouts. Lack of a Cy Young award notwithstanding, on the basis of his performance in elimination games Schilling gets into the Hall of Fame.

For all the clamor over Ramirez’s grandstanding, the former World Series MVP with his Hall of Fame credentials and 14 years of experience took less time than Victor Martinez to round the bases on his home run trot. The Cleveland backstop took about five years, or the length of his major league service time, to complete the circuit for his second-inning homer.

The only other run plated by the Tribe was precipitated by Ryan Garko’s leadoff triple in the seventh that just eluded Jacoby Ellsbury’s glove. It wasn’t the only thing Garko instigated; he prompted unintentional motivation to the opposition with his words to Scott Petrak of the Chronicle-Telegram. “The champagne tastes just as good on the road as it does at home,” said the hardened veteran of 670 regular season at bats and a single playoff campaign.

Ortiz took his place in history with his second-inning double play; the 2007 Red Sox now have sole possession of the record for twin killings in a league championship series. Ramirez provided another historical footnote with his lack of hits, tying Pete Rose’s 15-game hitting streak in playoff games.

Unlike previous games in this series, hitters not named Ortiz or Ramirez provided the offense. Failing to get an out in the bottom of the third, Carmona was knocked out after surrendering consecutive walks to Ramirez and Mike Lowell and a gutshot RBI single by Drew.

Rafael Perez fared no better than Carmona and reprised his poor showings in this series. Ellsbury looped a single into left to plate his first postseason RBI and soon crossed the plate himself on Julio Lugo’s double down the third base line.

The Indians had less composure than Little Leaguers in Lamade Stadium the rest of the inning. With Pedroia at first on a free pass, Youkilis lined a shot off the wall to drive in Lugo. As Youkilis got caught up between first and second, Pedroia astutely observed events unravel.

And unravel they did. The overly lauded Cabrera teamed up with Garko for a shoddy rundown of the Red Sox first baseman. With a heads-up return slide and a relay that deflected off his helmet, Youkilis lay safe at first with a ground-level view of Pedroia crossing home.

Garko fielded a foul ball called fair by Randy Marsh and turned an ill-gained out at first only to throw galley-west to Cabrera. Again Youkilis flourished partially due to Cleveland’s ineptness.

But rather than being apt at baseball, Garko has crafted cleverer quotes for the media than Youkilis. And that is what the second season is all about, isn’t it? That, and spinning allegations about human growth hormone into homilies about being a good Christian as his teammate Paul Byrd did.

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