Monday, October 29, 2007

Red Sox Victory: 4-3=4-0 and Second in Four

I’m really tired this morning and it’s Jon Lester’s fault. But it was worth it.

It was Lester, one year removed from chemotherapy treatments for lymphoma, who won the clincher with 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball. Mike Lowell, who hit a home run and a double, was named World Series MVP, and Bobby Kielty’s pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning proved to be the difference.

“I’m so proud of Jon Lester,” said Francona. “I thought it was very appropriate that he got the win. It’s hard to come up with the right words.”

“It feels like a dream,” said Sox chairman Tom Werner.

“Don’t wake me up,” added owner John W. Henry.

After the final out, thousands of Sox fans convened behind the third base dugout and lingered for more than an hour, standing, chanting, and saluting their champions. The first “Yankees suck” chorus broke out 22 minutes after the game ended.

“For us to come through and do what we thought we were capable of doing is unbelievable,” said Lowell. “Our manager didn’t panic, the players didn’t panic, the coaches didn’t panic. We knew if we just kept playing the baseball that we know we can play, we’ll be all right.”

The national pastime (past bedtime, actually) was played three years and one day after the champagne bath that cleansed 86 years of a region’s pain in 2004. The home plate umpire was Chuck Meriwether, who also worked the dish in Game 4 in St. Louis, and the Sox shot out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, just as they did in ’04.

Ellsbury, the rookie of Navajo descent who started the season in Double A, hit the second pitch of the night into the left-field corner for a double and came around to score on a single by Big Papi. New generation meets old. Same result.

The Sox tacked on a second run in the fifth when Lowell doubled and scored on a single by Varitek. Lowell (.400 for the series) homered leading off the seventh to chase Rockies starter Aaron Cook, who hadn’t pitched since Aug. 10.

The 23-year-old Lester hadn’t started in the majors in over a month. He finished the season in the minor leagues and was not included on the Sox’ 25-man roster for the Division Series against the Angels. And then he went out and won the clinching game of the World Series one year after his chemo treatments. Jake Gyllenhaal is already lined up to play the lead in “The Jon Lester Story,” a major motion picture coming soon to theaters near you.

And the only reason I’m going to work this morning is so that I can give Beantown Girl a big hug. Kinda makes up for the sweep the Tigers did on the Sox in July, doesn’t it?