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Playoff wins keep series played 30 years apart alive
Games of Note: It's 1967, and today is game six of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. Boston is down three games to two, facing elimination, but Rico Petrocelli is around to keep things alive just a little longer. The Sox defeat the Cards, 8-4, powered in part by the shortstop's two homers. "In part," because Petrocelli drove in just two runs, with both of the long balls solo shots. Reggie Smith drove in a pair of runs as well, and the first three hitters in the lineup all picked up at least one run and RBI. Of the first six spots in the lineup, only George Scott's failed to drive in a run.
Boston would have to face Bob Gibson in game seven, but for today, at least the series had been extended further, giving the Red Sox the chance to snap what had been 48 years without a World Series title.
Jumping ahead to 1999, the Red Sox are facing the Indians after forcing a winner take all game five in the American League Division Series. The day before, Boston had scored 23 runs to force this fifth game. Today, on three days rest, and with a shoulder in tatters, Bret Saberhagen starts for Boston. It doesn't go well, with Saberhagen allowing five runs in one-plus innings of work. Derek Lowe, in relief of Saberhagen, doesn't stop the bleeding either, giving up three more runs in his two frames. Enter Pedro Martinez, in relief, as he twirled a six-inning gem -- eight strikeouts, no hits, no runs -- giving Boston's lineup a chance to get back in to it. And they did, with left fielder Troy O'Leary hitting a three-run home run and a grand slam, both following intentional walks to Nomar Garciaparra, who had gone deep in the first against Charles Nagy. The Sox would go on to win, 12-8, powered by Martinez's six scoreless and O'Leary's seven RBI.
Transactions: On October 11, 2004, pitcher Frank Castillo was granted free agency. Castillo had originally pitched for the Sox during the 2001 and 2002 seasons, and had been essentially league-average in that stretch. At least, on a rate basis: Castillo didn't stay in games very long, averaging under 5-1/3 innings per start in his first campaign with Boston, then ended up spending time in the bullpen in his second. He was brought back for 2004, but threw just one inning in the bigs. Castillo spent almost the entire 2004 campaign in Triple-A Pawtucket instead. He wasn't on the playoff roster, and was therefore granted free agency prior to the conclusion of the postseason. He would pitch just one more year in the majors, with the Marlins, before heading off to conclude his career in indy ball.
Birthdays: Max Ramirez, who was a Red Sox player for all of five days in the winter of 2010-2011, turns 28 today. Ramirez was one of three major catching prospects the Rangers possessed in the late aughts, along with current Red Sox backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Taylor Teagarden. Ramirez spent last season in the Royals' system, and hasn't been in the majors since 2010. Teagarden is now with the Orioles, though, he barely played at all in 2012, even when combining his playing time from four levels. Salty has done the best for himself, as he's Boston's starting catcher. AKA the only one with a job.