2004: Win (4-0)
It seemed it would be (a la Yogi Berra) déjà vu all over again for the Red Sox in 2004. Equipped with a new manager in Terry Francona and a new free-agent starter in Curt Schilling, the Red Sox swept the Anaheim Angels in the ALDS and faced the Yankees in the ALCS for the third time in five seasons.
This year’s ALCS began even worse for the Red Sox than the last one as they lost the first three games, including a 19-8 embarrassment at home in Game 3. With Mariano Rivera coming in for the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 4 with the Yankees holding a 4-3 lead, it looked it was all over. But a Rivera walk to Kevin Millar set up one of the most memorable plays in Red Sox history. Aging outfielder Dave Roberts pinch-ran for Millar and stole second base, then was driven home by Bill Mueller to tie the game at four.
The teams were tied heading into the 12th inning, and in the bottom of the frame, David Ortiz hit a two-run, game-winning home run to keep the Red Sox alive.
Game 5 was just as intense, going into extra innings again after Boston rallied from being down two runs in the bottom of the eighth, and Ortiz was the hero again, hitting a game-winning single in the bottom of the 14th to send the series back to New York.
Game 6 proved to another classic, as Curt Schilling made the start despite a surgically repaired torn tendon sheath in his right ankle, causing him to bleed through his sock. But Schilling soldiered on, throwing seven innings and allowing just one run on a home run in the seventh.
In the bottom of the eighth, with Derek Jeter on first base, Alex Rodriguez hit a ground ball that was fielded by pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who attempted to tag Rodriguez out. In what was already an incredibly wild series, Rodriguez slapped Arroyo’s arm and the ball came loose, allowing Jeter to score and Rodriguez to take second. The umpires held a quick meeting, however, and decided that Rodriquez would be called out for interference and Jeter must return to first, prompting outrage from the fans at Yankee Stadium.
Keith Foulke shut the Yankees down in the ninth, and, although there was technically one game remaining in the series, it might as well have been over, as the Red Sox scored early and often in Game 7, ultimately crushing the Yankees 10-3 to win their first pennant since 1986, in the process becoming the first team in MLB history to win a seven game series after falling behind 3-0.
The Red Sox kept rolling through the World Series, sweeping the Cardinals to win their first world championship in 86 years, officially ending the “Curse of the Bambino.”