Ortiz’s slam a real comeback gem
But it may not be the most remarkable in Red Sox history
DETROIT – David Ortiz’s grand slam in the eighth inning helped Boston to a remarkable comeback win Sunday night in the A.L. championship series. The Red Sox went on to beat the Detroit Tigers 6-5 in a game Boston had once trailed 5-0.
The Red Sox were down 5-1 with one out and nobody on in the eighth. At that point, they had only a 3 percent chance of winning, according to baseball-reference.com. But they pulled it off, evening the series at 1.
Was it the most remarkable rally in Red Sox postseason history? Probably not. Five years ago, in Game 5 of the ALCS against Tampa Bay, Boston trailed 7-0 in the seventh inning before coming back to win 8-7. That victory kept alive the season for the Red Sox, although they eventually lost the series in seven.
Here’s a look back at some more of baseball’s most famous postseason comebacks:
SERIES TURNERS: Tigers fans can take solace in the fact that Detroit’s meltdown was nothing compared to what happened in the 1929 World Series. The Chicago Cubs led 8-0 in Game 4 before Philadelphia scored 10 runs in the bottom of the seventh. The Athletics won 10-8 and closed out the series a game later.
No lead seemed safe against the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays, thanks to an offense that included Rickey Henderson, Roberto Alomar, Paul Molitor, Joe Carter and John Olerud. The Blue Jays wiped out a five-run deficit in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the World Series, beating Philadelphia 15-14. Everyone remembers Carter’s series-winning homer in Game 6, but winning that slugfest two games earlier put Toronto in control.
UNLIKELY HITTER, UNLIKELY RUNNER: In Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS, Atlanta trailed Pittsburgh 2-0 in the ninth inning before winning the pennant in shocking fashion.
The Pirates were still ahead by a run with two out when Francisco Cabrera — who had only 11 plate appearances during the regular season — hit a two-run single to left. The winning run was scored by slow-footed Sid Bream, who came around from second and slid home just ahead of the throw by Barry Bonds.
WASHINGTON’S WOES: Last year, the Nationals blew a 6-0 lead in the decisive fifth game of the N.L. division series against St. Louis, coming within a strike of winning before the Cardinals scored four runs in the ninth for a 9-7 victory.
Back in 1925, a different Washington franchise endured a similar collapse. In Game 7 of the World Series, the Senators took a 4-0 lead over Pittsburgh and had Walter Johnson on the mound. But the Pirates were relentless, rallying for a 9-7 victory to win the title.
BOOKENDS OF A DYNASTY?: The New York Yankees began their run of four titles in five years with a victory over Atlanta in the 1996 World Series. They evened that series by rallying from a 6-0 deficit in Game 4, tying it on Jim Leyritz’s three-run homer in the eighth and winning 8-6 in 10 innings.
New York reached the World Series in 2003 in dramatic fashion when Aaron Boone’s 11th-inning homer beat Boston 6-5 in Game 7 of the ALCS. The Red Sox led 4-0 early in that game and were up 5-2 before the Yankees tied it off a tiring Pedro Martinez in the eighth.
SUPER SIXES: It feels like an inordinate number of amazing comebacks have come in Game 6 of the World Series, with one team facing elimination.
The New York Mets were down two runs with two out and nobody on against Boston in 1986 before famously rallying in the 10th inning for a 6-5 victory that pushed the series to a seventh game. The Red Sox were unable to bounce back after that gut-wrenching defeat on Bill Buckner’s error.
A quarter-century later, St. Louis staved off elimination in back-to-back innings. The Cardinals trailed Texas by two in the ninth before tying the game on David Freese’s two-out, two-run triple. The Rangers scored two runs in the 10th, only to have St. Louis even the score with two out again — this time on an RBI single by Lance Berkman. Freese’s 11th-inning homer finally gave the Cardinals a 10-9 victory, and they’d go on to win that 2011 World Series in seven.
A less celebrated comeback belongs to the Anaheim Angels, who trailed 5-0 in the seventh inning of Game 6 of the 2002 World Series before rallying for a 6-5 win over San Francisco. The Angels won Game 7 too, denying Bonds a championship.
Teams stick with old look
In an era when clubs frequently change their look and often wear more than a dozen uniform combinations, its nice to see the four remaining playoff teams dressed up in duds that date back nearly 70 years.
From the flowing blue “Dodgers” script to that pointy, ornate “B” on the Red Sox cap not much has changed. Same with the classic “birds on a bat” logo sported by St. Louis to the Olde English “D” worn by Detroit.
You can find a picture from the 1934 World Series between those teams and you’ll recognize the jerseys.
There have been some changes, of course. The bat in the Cardinals logo is now yellow, rather than red or black from way back. The Tigers “D” on the hat was orange at Fenway Park, instead of white.
Clearing the bases
Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander will start Game 3 of the ALCS against Boston tonight. … Athletics rookie right-hander Sonny Gray, injured in a Game 5 loss to Detroit, will have surgery on his left thumb to repair a torn ligament. In addition, right fielder Josh Reddick is likely to have arthroscopic surgery on a sprained right wrist. … MLB and the players’ association have determined that qualifying offers for eligible free agents will be $14.1 million, a raise of $800,000 from last year. Baseball’s labor contract sets the price at the average of the 125 highest contracts by average annual value. A club has until 5 p.m. Eastern time on the fifth day following the World Series to make a qualifying offer and a player has until 5 p.m. EST on the seventh day after the World Series to accept it.
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