DENVER - It would appear to be time for Mayor Menino to get the Duck Boats ready. Red Sox Rolling Rally II should jam the streets of Boston this week.
On the third anniversary of their first World Series title in 86 years, the Sox moved a step closer to another championship with a 10-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies last night. The relentless Franconamen took the thin air out of Coors Field with six runs in the third inning. Electric rookie Jacoby Ellsbury had four hits (three doubles) and Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched 5 1/3 innings and struck a two-run single - his first big league hit - in Boston's big third inning.
The Series feels more like a coronation than contest. The Sox hold a commanding 3-0 lead and the reeling Rockies know the only team in baseball history to recover from such a deficit was . . . the Boston Red Sox of 2004. Small comfort when your source of inspiration is sitting in the opposite dugout.
"I prefer this to that old feeling," Sox owner John W. Henry said yesterday. "This doesn't seem like reality. It's surreal. But I'm enjoying it much more than 2004, when there was a degree of suffering on every pitch because we wanted to win so badly. If we do win again, it will make people feel more like 2004 wasn't a fluke; that we're not just stat geeks."
Sox-Rox on Fox is a boon for Red Sox Nation and a pox for the rest of the world. The Red Sox have won six straight games in this postseason (aggregate score: 55-12), and seven straight World Series games since Jesse Orosco fanned Marty Barrett for the final out in 1986. Oft-maligned manager Terry Francona is 7-0 as a World Series skipper.
Twenty-two World Series have started 3-0 and 19 were closed out in Game 4. The other three went to Game 5.
"It looks like we're in groundbreaking territory," said Rockies manager Clint Hurdle. "We need to go out and win Game 4. You don't overreact . . . We've got to find a way to slow them down."
It was 45 degrees at game time for the first World Series game in Colorado history. Both teams introduced lineup wrinkles and the Sox made Series history with two rookies, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia (three hits), at the top of the order. Ellsbury made his manager look smart with three hits in the first three innings, including a pair of doubles in a single inning - another Series record.
The Sox blew it open with six runs on seven hits in one inning against Josh Fogg (10 hits in 2 2/3 innings). Matsuzaka stunned the globe with the first hit of his major league career, a single to left. The last Red Sox pitcher to knock in more than one run in a World Series game was Babe Ruth, who hit a two-run triple against the Cubs in Game 4 in 1918.
Dice-K gave up only three hits, but stumbled in the sixth and was lifted after a pair of one-out walks. The Rockies pushed a pair of runs across against the Sox bullpen in the sixth, then MVP candidate Matt Holiday greeted Game 2 hero, Hideki Okajima, with a first-pitch three-run homer to center in the seventh to put new life into Coors Field.
The Sox came right back with three in the eighth, getting a pair of RBI doubles from the rookies at the top of the order. Jonathan Papelbon closed it out. The game lasted 4 hours 19 minutes and ended at 12:55 a.m.
A Red Sox World Series win is going to make a lot of New England sofa buyers happy. Thousands of Jordan's Furniture customers bought approximately $20 million worth of product during a six-week spring promotion in which the company guaranteed refunds if the Red Sox win the 2007 World Series. The company is insured against losses if the Red Sox win.
If the Red Sox are unable to taste champagne after Game 4 tonight, they'll play again tomorrow night with Josh Beckett taking the mound. At this hour the best pitcher in baseball, Beckett has won five consecutive postseason starts and hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in any of the outings.