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Timlin gets to ring up another one

DENVER - Summoned in the bottom of the seventh to help create a bridge to closer Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Timlin's larger role in Game 4 of the World Series last night was to use his vast postseason experience in what looked like a combustible situation.

Red Sox Nation might have needed to be talked off the Zakim Bridge when Manny Delcarmen, who struck out Ryan Spilborghs to get out of the sixth inning, issued a leadoff homer in the seventh to Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe on a 3-2 count, pulling Colorado within 3-1.

Suddenly, the Mile High Mojo that seemingly had abandoned the Rockies in the first three games had returned to Coors Field. One out later, pinch hitter Cory Sullivan reached on a single to right, sending the crowd of 50,041 into a frenzy. Delcarmen, the pride of Hyde Park, was done.

Enter Timlin.

The sage veteran made his club-record 26th postseason appearance and, in what could be his swan song with the Sox, lent a major hand in last night's 4-3 triumph that completed a sweep of the Rockies in the 103d Series. The 41-year-old came on and got second baseman Kazuo Matsui and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to go down swinging.

"They were the same two guys I faced the day before," Timlin said, referring to his appearance in Saturday night's 10-5 triumph in Game 3. "Matsui dropped a perfect bunt on me [single], and Tulowitzki hit a ball back up the middle [single]."

Timlin never allowed the Rockies to get rolling in the seventh last night, though, with his back-to-back punchouts of Matsui and Tulowitzki, who wound up 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

"That was huge," said Boston starter Jon Lester, the 23-year-old lefthander who picked up the clinching victory in his first World Series appearance. "The bullpen has been phenomenal all year in coming in and picking up the starters. They bailed us out from a lot of jams and tonight they bailed us out and we got the W."

The Sox overcame a shaky eighth by a clearly fatigued Hideki Okajima, who gave up a two-run homer to Garrett Atkins that cut Boston's lead to 4-3 and overshadowed the clean two-thirds of an inning Timlin hurled at the Rockies the inning before.

"Things happened with Okajima with the home run," Timlin said. "I got two strikeouts and shut 'em down and I just handed it off to Okajima and it got back to [Jonathan Papelbon] and [I] let those two guys run with it."

It was Timlin's sixth appearance of this postseason and third of the Series.

Timlin won his fourth Series ring last night, to go with the one he earned with the Sox in 2004 and with the pair he won with the Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993.

"It's very special," Timlin said as bottles of champagne were uncorked and sprayed all around him in the visitors' clubhouse at Coors. "I've been blessed by God to be able to do what I'm doing. He continues to bless me. I don't really deserve it. But I'm just proud of these guys.

"We were built to do what we did, all year long," Timlin added. "We played well all year long, we led for so long the American League East and we cleaned up and we got here."

One of eight veterans who played on the '04 and '07 World Series champs, Timlin's future with the club remains uncertain. Although he became the 13th pitcher in the major league history to appear in 1,000 games Aug. 31 vs. Baltimore, Timlin likely will be left to test the market as a free agent.

Asked if he was hoping to come back and be on another World Series team in Boston, Timlin said, "Well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Right now I just want to enjoy the moment."

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