Tue, Oct 23, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Red Sox win to reach World Series

AFP , BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

The Boston Red Sox completed a stunning reversal to reach the World Series, routing Cleveland 11-2 on Sunday to win the best-of-seven American League championship four games to three.

The Red Sox, who lost three of the first four games, outscored Cleveland 30-5 over the final three games to advance to Major League Baseball's best-of-seven final against the National League champion Colorado Rockies.

Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis each went 3-for-5 with a home run while Japanese pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima and relief ace Jonathan Papelbon baffled Indians batters most of the night to secure the win.

Rookie Pedroia drove in five runs and scored three times to spark the Red Sox and complete a rare comeback, only the 11th time in more than a century of playoff baseball when a team won a series after trailing 3-1.

"We started clicking at the right time," Pedroia said. "When your back is against the wall, it shows what kind of ball club you have. We kept believing. It's a great thing for this team and this city."

The Rockies have won 21 of their past 22 games and will make their World Series debut in Wednesday's opener at Fenway Park.

Boston won five of the first 15 World Series titles, including the first back in 1903, but had not won the Series since 1918 until a 2004 breakthrough. After an 86-year drought, the Red Sox could win two titles in four years.

"I'm looking forward to it. I would like to have another [championship] ring," said Boston pitcher Josh Beckett, who won games one and five to claim AL finals Most Valuable Player honors and will likely start the Series opener.

Boston scored one run in each of the first three innings to seize command early and never trailed.

Manny Ramirez singled home Pedroia in the first, Jason Varitek scored from third base when Julio Lugo hit into a double play in the second and a Mike Lowell sacrifice fly scored Youkilis in the third for a 3-0 Boston lead.

The Indians answered in the fourth when Ryan Garko doubled off the "Green Monster," Fenway Park's huge left-field wall, to score Travis Hafner from second base.

Grady Sizemore's sacrifice fly in the fifth inning scored Franklin Gutierrez to trim Boston's lead to 3-2.

Matsuzaka kept the Indians to two runs on six hits in five innings to earn the victory and Okajima pitched two shutout innings of relief.

In the seventh, Cleveland's speedy Kenny Lofton reached second base on a Lugo error and took third when Gutierrez singled, being told by third base coach Joel Skinner not to attempt to score the tying run.

The safety move backfired when the Red Sox followed by turning a double play to end the top half of the inning, stranding Lofton at third base.

Pedroia then smashed a two-run homer in the bottom half of the seventh inning to give Boston a 5-2 edge. It was only the fifth time in playoff history a rookie had homered in a seventh game.

Okajima was yanked after surrendering two singles to open the eighth inning in favor of Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon, who struck out Haffner, induced a Victor Martinez fielder's choice and a fly out by Ryan Garko to end the threat.

Boston scored six runs in the eighth to seal Cleveland's fate, J.D. Drew's run-scoring single setting the stage for a bases-loaded double by Pedroia that scored three runs and was followed by Youkilis' two-run homer.

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