BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Red Sox are back in the ALCS for the tenth time in franchise history, waiting to see if they’ll host the Detroit Tigers or Oakland Athletics in Game 1 on Saturday.
The Red Sox have made 10 trips to the ALCS since it was created back in 1969, with their last coming in 2008.
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The Red Sox are 4-5 all-time in the ALCS, so let’s take a trip down memory lane and re-live all the memories, and some heartbreak.
1975 — Red Sox sweep Athletics 3-0
After finishing the regular season 95-65, the Red Sox made their first appearance in the ALCS against the three-time defending World Series Champion Oakland Athletics. On the backs of veterans like Carl Yastrzemski and Carlton Fisk along with rookie Fred Lynn, Boston swept the A’s in three games (the ALCS didn’t change to best-of-seven until 1985).
The Red Sox won Game 1 at Fenway, 7-1, thanks to a beautiful effort by starting pitcher Louis Tiant. “El Tiante” allowed just one run and struck out eight A’s in his complete-game effort, as Lynn drove in two runs in the win.
Boston took Game 2 at Fenway, 6-3, as Yastrzemski hit a two-run homer and Fisk went 2-for-4 at the plate. Dick Drago shut down Oakland over the final three innings to pick up the save.
The Sox completed the sweep in Oakland, beating the A’s 5-3 in the clinching game. Both Fisk and Yaz had two hits and starter Rick Wise allowed three runs (just one earned) in his 7.1 innings pitched.
Boston outhit the A’s 31-19 and outscored them 18-7 during the series. Fisk and Yastremzski both hit over .400 and drove in a pair of runs, as Lynn hit .364 with a team-high three RBIs.
The Sox would go on to lose to the Cincinnati Reds in World Series.
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1986 — Red Sox Come Back To Beat Angels 4-3
The series began with the two teams splitting the first two games in Boston before the Angels took the first two of three in California.
But facing a 3-1 series deficit, the Red Sox won Game 5 out West in dramatic fashion. Two outs away from elimination, Don Baylor hit a two-strike, two-run homer to pull the Red Sox within one run. Then just a strike away from heading home, Dave Henderson blasted another two-run shot to put Boston on top 6-5.
The Red Sox would blow the lead in the bottom of the ninth, but Henderson put them ahead again for good in the top of the 10th with a game-winning sacrifice fly. Henderson, who replaced Tony Aramas in center in the bottom of the fifth and had a ball go off his glove and into the stands for a home run in the sixth, went 1-for-3 at the plate and drove in three runs.
Boston took the next two games at Fenway in convincing fashion, outscoring the Angels 18-5 in the two contests, to advance to the World Series, where they lost to the Mets in seven games.
1988 and 1990 — Swept By The A’s
The Red Sox made it back to the ALCS in both 1988 and 1990, but were sent home by the Athletics by way of a sweep both times.
Dennis Eckersley recorded a save in all four games in 1988, as Oakland held Boston to just 11 runs in the series. Despite Wade Boggs hitting .335 at the plate, Ellis Burks, Jim Rice and Evans were a combined 6-for-42.
In 1990, Oakland took Game 1 in Boston, 9-1, scoring seven runs in the top of the ninth. The Red Sox scored just four runs in the series, as Oakland cruised to 4-1 wins in Games 2 and 3, and a 3-1 win in the deciding Game 4.
The A’s lost both of their World Series appearances after beating Boston, losing to the Dodgers in 1988 and the Reds in 1990.
1999 — Yankees Handle Sox In Five Games
After the Red Sox came back from a 2-0 series deficit to beat the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS, the rival Yankees were waiting for them.
Boston lost both of the first two games of the series at Yankee Stadium by one-run, and returned home for much-anticipated Rogers Clemens-Pedro Martinez duel in Game 3. The Sox tagged Clemens for five runs in just two innings as Pedro struck out 12 over seven shutout innings of work. Boston won the game 13-1 and appeared to have some momentum in the series.
But that wasn’t the case, as the Yankees cruised to 9-2 and 6-1 wins in Games 4 and 5 to take the series. They went on to sweep the Braves in the World Series.
2003 — You Remember…
After pulling off another comeback from an 0-2 deficit in the ALDS (this time to the Oakland A’s), the Red Sox found themselves back up against those hated Yankees.
This series was a little more competitive, though a lot more heartbreaking in the end.
The Red Sox took Game 1 thanks to home runs by David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Todd Walker, but the Yankees took the next two to take a 2-1 series lead.
Home runs by Walker and Trot Nixon, mixed with seven innings of one-run ball by Tim Wakefield, led to a 3-2 Boston win in Game 4 at Fenway, but a Game 5 loss had them going back to Yankee Stadium down 3-2.
In Game 6, despite being down 6-4 in the seventh, the Red Sox rallied for three runs that inning to come back and win 9-6 and force a deciding Game 7.
But one terrible Grady Little decision and a knuckleball that didn’t knuck to Aaron Boone in Game 7 ended the dream for Boston. You know the details, so no need to go into them and re-open those wounds.
The Yankees did lose to the Marlins in the World Series, but the Game 7 loss was a tough one to swallow — at least until the following October.
2004 — Historic Comeback Against Yankees
It took just one year for the Red Sox to get some redemption, as they found themselves back in the ALCS and back against the Yankees in 2004. This time, the ending was much more fun.
The Yankees took the first three games of the 2004 ALCS in convincing fashion, but the 2004 Red Sox were a bunch of “idiots” that you could never count out.
Where do we start? Boston was one out from elimination in Game 4 when Dave Roberts stole the biggest base in Red Sox history, and later scored on an RBI single by Bill Mueller off Mariano Rivera to send the game to extra innings. Three innings later, David Ortiz crushed a two-run homer to give Boston a 6-4 win, and new life in the series.
Boston needed more extra innings magic in Game 5, as a Jason Varitek sac fly knotted things at 4-4 in the eighth. After the first two batters for Boston walked in the bottom of the 14th, it was Ortiz who ended it again, this time with an RBI single. The game lasted 5 hours and 49 minutes, setting a record at the time.
Then in Game 6, Curt Schilling took the mound despite having a torn tendon sheath in his right ankle. Doctors sutured the tendon in place, and Schilling gave Boston seven innings of one-run ball. They had a 4-0 lead after a controversial three-run homer by Mark Bellhorn in the fourth inning, and things got worse for the Yankees in the eighth when Alex Rodriguez was called out for swiping at Bronson Arroyo’s glove as the pitcher covered first base.
There was much less drama in Game 7 with David Ortiz hitting a two-run homer in the top of the first and Johnny Damon adding a grand slam in the second, and Boston won 10-3, becoming the first team in MLB history to win a seven-game series after losing the first three games.
Boston went on to sweep the Cardinals in the World Series for their first championship in 86 years.
2007 — Another Comeback By Sox
It would take the Red Sox three more years to get back to the ALCS, and once again they had to pull off a comeback, but it was all good as it led to another World Series title.
The Red Sox won Game 1 at Fenway Park, but then the Cleveland Indians rattled off three straight wins. They had a chance to clinch in Game 5 at Jacobs Field, but the Red Sox got eight dominant innings from Josh Beckett on the mound. The Sox ace struck out eleven batters as the Boston bats tagged CC Sabathia for four runs in his six innings. The Sox would win the game 7-1 to force the series back to Boston.
Boston had no issues back at Fenway, scoring four runs in the first inning of Game 6 on a J.D Drew grand slam off the pitcher formally known as Fausto Carmona. Boston went on to win 12-2 to force a Game 7, and had just as much pop left in their bat for the series-deciding game. The Red Sox scored a run in each of the first three innings of Game 7 and went on to win 11-2.
River dancing from closer Jonathan Papelbon ensued, and a sweep of the Rockies in the World Series followed, giving Boston their second World Series title in four years.
2008 — Seven-Game Loss To Rays
The Red Sox and Rays battled for the AL East all season in 2008, with Tampa coming out on top. That gave them home field advantage when the two teams met in the ALCS, and it paid dividends for the Rays.
Tampa Bay took a 3-1 series lead after the first four games (noticing a trend with the Sox?) but an incredible Boston rally in the seventh and eighth innings of Game 5 kept the series alive. Trailing 7-0, the Red Sox got on the board and scored four runs in the seventh — all with two outs — and then J.D. Drew hit a two-run homer as part of a three-run eighth to tie the game. Boston won it on a Drew RBI single in the ninth, giving them the second-biggest comeback win in MLB history.
Beckett out-dueled James Shields in Game 6 in St. Petersburg to force a Game 7, but then Matt Garza shut down the Sox and David Price recorded a save as the Rays won 3-1 and clinched the series.
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