10/05/2003 4:23 PM ET
The big boys finally deliver
BOSTON -- Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz were the talk of the town around here Sunday morning. In a bad way.
By Mychael Urban / MLB.com
How, the locals all wondered, can the Red Sox possible beat the A's if the big boys aren't hitting? Ramirez was 1-for-12 through the first three games of the American League Division Series, and Ortiz was 0-for-13.
The wondering turned to borderline despair as Game 4 grew older. Jermaine Dye's sixth-inning homer gave the A's a 4-2 lead, and despite Oakland starter Tim Hudson's departure with an injured rib-cage muscle in the second inning, Ramirez and Ortiz were a combined 0-for-6 heading into the eighth.
But just like that, everything changed. In a very good way.
With Nomar Garciaparra on second base and two out, Ramirez singled to put runners at the corners. Ortiz then ended his 0-for-16 slump by doubling over Dye's head in right, sending both runners home and a Fenway crowd of 35,048 into a frenzy.
Ortiz was lifted for a pinch runner and was given a hero's welcome in the dugout, and minutes later Scott Williamson closed out a 1-2-3 ninth to give Boston another thrilling victory, 5-4, to send the series back to Oakland for Game 5 on Monday.
It should be a quiet flight for the A's, who held a 2-0 series edge after sweeping at home. Should they drop another one Monday, they'll fall to 0-9 in potential series-clinching games over the past four postseasons.
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.