Smoke Signals Fenway Heat
Whether he really knew what risks he was taking, Ramirez made a full-speed catch just as he did a face-plant into the wall. The ball should have bounced out of his glove. But it didn't. His forehead should have knocked out a bulb in the scoreboard. Instead, his shoulder cushioned the blow. When A-Rod followed with a clean hit to left field, it didn't tie the score. Instead, it was just a meaningless single by a $250 million player who's now hitting .160 and had a throwing error in the seventh inning, too.
Foulke, the free agent brought in to anchor the Red Sox' bullpen, ended this series just as any Red Sox fan would wish. Foulke not only fanned Jason Giambi, he left him with his bat on his shoulder just as he had started the final inning by fanning Derek Jeter looking.
"To get Jeter and Giambi looking, that's impressive. That's why we got him," said Damon.
Foulke wasn't alone in raising the Red Sox' sense of themselves. Curt Schilling, the other major Red Sox offseason addition, dominated the Yankees and Mike Mussina. Why, Pedro Martinez didn't even pitch here. He will start at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
The Yankees expected to win this game easily, especially after Kevin Brown was given a 4-1 lead against Bronson Arroyo, who's a stop-gap starter until injured Byung Hyun Kim returns to the rotation. However, Brown, who's your typical $100-million-contract Yankee, was charged with all the runs that blew the lead. One came on a wind-aided Jason Varitek home run barely over the right field fence. Another scored on a checked-swing, broken-bat dribbler by David Ortiz that traveled perhaps 60 feet.
Of all the Red Sox' breaks, the best was last. With one out in the eighth, David McCarty hit a routine fly ball toward Hideki Matsui in left field. A sudden and almost complete shift of wind redirected the ball at least 10 yards and left the shocked Godzilla stumbling after the fluke double. That brought up Kapler, and few players ever wanted to atone more deeply.
"What I did is absolutely inexcusable -- in spring training, in Little League, anywhere. I'm furious at myself," said Kapler.
Everybody else is just laughing. Twice in the second inning Kapler thought there was just one out when, in fact, there were two -- meaning he should have been running as soon as a pair of balls were hit to the outfield. On the first occasion, he only got to second base, not third, on a single. He fumed, kicking the dirt as the crowd of 35,027 -- all of whom knew the correct number of outs -- booed lustily.
Then, after this public display for his shame, Kapler forgot again on the very next play, going back toward second to tag up on a long fly out. As he went back, Pokey Reese, the base runner on first, flew past him. Ooops!
From the dugouts to the stands to the press box countless conversations discussed the remote possibility that anyone could ever have done such a thing. A year ago, old-school Grady Little might have had a stern word or, conceivably, even jerked Kapler out of the game. Not new-age Francona, who lightened the mood and pressure.
"[Terry] said it was going to take eight hits to score me. After that I was able to smile a little bit," said Kapler. "If Pokey hadn't run by me, I'd probably still think there was only one out."
"I guess we're not the smartest team. I've forgotten the number of outs twice this season myself," said Damon. "We obviously aren't looking at the scoreboard a whole lot. We must be looking at the chicks in the stands."
Unless they start to burn down.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company