EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 22, 2007

'Clutch' Red Sox head to World Series

BOSTON | So this is what it was like being a New York Yankees fan for all those years.

The bigger the game, the bigger the stage, the better they play. And it is rather odd watching the "other" team wilt when the leaves start dropping.

Your Boston Red Sox fought off elimination for the third time in four nights, and every time they came up smelling like roses.

The Red Sox, thanks to an 11-2 thrashing in Game 7 last night, are going to the World Series. Which means they aren't going anywhere | because the Series opens right here at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

And no heroics were needed this Game 7.

The Red Sox led box to wire, but this one was hairy. Despite leading 3-0 through three innings, it could have been a seven or eight-run lead. Credit Indians starter Jake Westbrook for keeping the Indians around to make it too close for comfort.

It wasn't until Dustin Pedroia's dramatic two-run homer over the Green Monster in the seventh inning, giving the Red Sox a three-run cushion, that it finally appeared to be a done deal. Pedroia added three more runs on a bases-clearing triple to turn what was once a nail-biter into a laugher.

Daisuke Matsuzaka didn't pitch a gem | five innings, two runs | but he did his job. It was his best performance this October, which is good news for the next series.

If you're looking for a turning point in this series, it was clearly Thursday night in Cleveland. Josh Beckett made a very good Cleveland team look very bad in October. Better yet, he did it twice.

"I've seen Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax do what he did," said Red Sox minority owner Tom Werner. "In October, I would want Josh Beckett pitching for me as much as those guys."

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