RED SOX NOTEBOOK
Bash brothers can take it -- and dish it out
NEW YORK -- They taunted him, chanting an obscenity each time he strode to the plate. But Manny Ramirez, who last Saturday drew the wrath of the metropolis he once called home by charging toward Roger Clemens with a bat in hand, responded to the crowd at Yankee Stadium by helping the Red Sox stun the Yankees in Game 6. Oh, he did it in concert with his Dominican pal, David Ortiz, not far from where Ramirez starred in high school in the city's Washington Heights neighborhood.
Ramirez, who has struggled often in the clutch in the postseason, scored two runs, first after drawing a walk to load the bases in the third inning and then by doubling in the seventh. Each time Ortiz responded with a big hit. In the third, Ortiz, who entered the game hitting .135 in the postseason, ripped a single to left center, knocking in two runs. And in the seventh, Ortiz drilled a single off the bag at first base, driving in another.
Between them, Ramirez and Ortiz were emblematic of the resurgent Sox offense, which scored more runs than they had produced in the previous three games combined (eight). After combining to hit .127 (7 for 55) in the first three games of the series, Nomar Garciaparra, Kevin Millar, and Bill Mueller collected a total of nine hits to help pace the Sox.
Mueller snapped an 0-for-8 run with his second-inning double and Millar ended an 0-for-8 skid with his third-inning RBI single.
On the hot seat
Tickets for the series were so coveted that Sox players heard for the first time in years from such distant acquaintances as former high school and college classmates. Notable among the ticket seekers was Doug Mirabelli's former high school pal who wasted little time after he recently was released from jail before he called Mirabelli's mother looking for seats at Yankee Stadium (no such luck). "They've come out of the woodwork," Todd Walker said. "People I've hardly talked to in 10 years were calling and saying, `I've never seen Fenway before.' Where were they the first 81 games? They're bandwagoners." . . . As the Sox departed Tuesday for the Bronx, they dispatched Byung Hyun Kim to Fort Myers, Fla., for a final test in case they made it to the World Series and needed to consider adding him to the roster. Kim, who developed tendinitis in his right shoulder as he pitched a career-high 122 1/3 innings in the regular season for the Sox and Diamondbacks, was sent to the team's training headquarters to face batters from the organization's instructional league. The Sox had yet to receive a report on the outing. Kim joined Brandon Lyon and Andy Abad, who reported to Fort Myers earlier.
Bang for buck
As much as Todd Jones appreciated the first playoff experience of his 11-year career (he faced three batters in the sixth inning in his first postseason appearance), he was less than enthusiastic about Major League Baseball's aggressive marketing efforts.
"MLB has done a nice job of selling its soul during the playoffs," Jones wrote in his weekly column in the Birmingham News. "As soon as the postseason begins, MLB moves in and decides everything from who gets passes to get on the field to what product will be put in our hands for advertising. Todd Walker is a prime example. In Game 1 [of the Division Series], he had just hit a game-tying home run. Immediately afterward, he's supposed to grab a Gatorade to drink, then reach for his Majestic sweatshirt to keep him nice and warm. And for $99.95, you can get yours at MLB.com!"
So much for postseason bliss. "I'm thankful for it," Jones wrote of his postseason debut. "But I'll admit, all the concentration on the almighty dollar takes some of the innocence out of it."
Jason Varitek's third-inning shot off Andy Pettitte was Boston's 16th homer of the postseason, a franchise record. The previous high was 15 in 1999 . . . Jorge Posada's fifth-inning blast off Bronson Arroyo was the first homer Arroyo allowed in 20 innings with the Sox, 17 1/3 inning in the regular season and 2 2/3 in the playoffs . . . The Sox, who went 26-27 against lefthanded starters in the regular season, improved to 3-3 in the postseason . . . Pedro Martinez enters tonight's game with a career postseason record of 4-1 and a 2.60 ERA in seven appearances, including six starts. Roger Clemens is 8-6 with a 3.34 ERA in 23 postseason starts . . . Tonight's game will be the first Game 7 of an ALCS since 1986, when the Sox completed their comeback from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the California Angels. Yesterday was the 17th anniversary of the clincher at Fenway Park. The Sox are trying to return to the Fall Classic for the first time since '86 . . . The Sox improved to 4-0 in elimination games this postseason . . . Scott Williamson set a franchise record with his third save in the LCS. The previous best was two by Dick Drago in 1975 . . . The Sox and Yankees combined for 28 hits, the most in an ALCS game since Toronto and Oakland combined for 29 hits over 11 innings in Game 4 in 1992 . . . The celebrity list included Nicole Kidman, Dustin Hoffman, LL Cool J, Matthew Modine, and musician Nick Lachey . . . Imagine Sox manager Grady Little's despair when he was handed a picture from a New York tabloid of one of his favorite singers, Shania Twain, performing at Madison Square Garden in Yankee pinstripes on the eve of Game 6. Never mind that Twain recently donned the Sox colors at the FleetCenter. "That's a hard blow right there," Little said in mock outrage. "I'm going back to Faith Hill." . . . Boston continued to pull strong ALCS ratings, earning a 37.2 rating (66 share) for Tuesday's Game 5 between the Yankees and Red Sox. The audience peaked in the final 30 minutes with a 47.3 rating.
Bill Griffith of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
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