Red Sox Poised for a Series Sweep
LIANE HANSEN, host:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.
The Boston Red Sox are a red, hot baseball team. And if they stay hot tonight, they can sweep the 2007 World Series. The Red Sox put themselves on the verge of their second championship in four years, last night, in Denver. A six-run third inning and some timely hitting by a couple of rookies gave the Red Sox a 10-to-5 win over the Colorado Rockies.
NPR's Tom Goldman was there.
TOM GOLDMAN: Of all the pre-game vendors outside the ballpark last night, Asher Kuffberg(ph) won hands down for sales ingenuity.
Mr. ASHER KUFFBERG (Businessman): Come on, Colorado fans. Burn this for five bucks.
GOLDMAN: Kuffberg was holding up a hooded Red Sox sweatshirt he bought at a thrift store. Kuffberg, who's homeless, figured he'd appeal to Rockies fans' base instincts and entice them to buy the sweatshirt and burn it, a cathartic experience for only $5. But business lesson number one: Know your consumers. It was obvious Kuffberg didn't, as purple-clad Rockies fans kept walking right on by.
Mr. KUFFBERG: (Unintelligible) hate to talk to the enemy and buy me a beer and a hotdog. Too damn nice, this people, you know?
GOLDMAN: Out here in the expense of Mountain West, the people do tend to be less in-your-face than they are, say, in Boston. But that doesn't mean they can't still get - own a lather for big baseball moment.
(Soundbite of cheering)
GOLDMAN: That moment - really, the first big moment for Colorado in this series - came in the seventh inning. Rockies leftfielder Matt Holiday crushed a three-run homerun to center in cavernous Coors Field and suddenly, finally, the game was on. Colorado trailed by only a run, and all those promises of we'll play better seemed to be coming true.
But the problem for Colorado is that Boston has been a team of many moments, and the next one came the next inning. Sudden Red Sox star Jacoby Ellsbury hit his third double of the game and knocked in a run to give Boston a 7-to-5 cushion. The Red Sox would add three more runs and that was that. Ellsbury had been batting at the bottom of the order in the first two series games. Last night, he was moved up to the leadoff position and he responded with four hits and two runs battered in.
Mr. JACOBY ELLSBURY (Outfielder, Boston Red Sox): Tonight, I just relax a little bit, went in the cage, you know, and just tried to do what got me here and that's to be aggressive in the strike zone. And, you know, I felt a lot more comfortable tonight. And fortunately, you know, balls fell for me.
GOLDMAN: Two months ago, the 24-year-old Ellsbury was in the minor leagues. Suddenly, he's in the World Series and he's making history. He's the first player of Navajo descent in the Major League, and Ellsbury and second baseman Dustin Pedroia are the first pair of rookies in World Series history to hit first and second in a lineup. Boston manager Terry Francona was asked if the two really play like rookies.
Mr. TERRY FRANCONA (Manager, Boston Red Sox): No. And I don't - I know they are, but they're not. I mean, Pedroia has been with us all year. He's a veteran.
GOLDMAN: Pedroia had three hits and two runs battered in. But, really, for Boston it was another night of offensive one for all and all for one. Here's a stat that says everything: In recent years, Boston has been known primarily as a homerun-hitting team. In this series, the Red Sox have scored 25 runs and hit only one homerun.
Mr. GARRETT ATKINS (Infielder, Colorado Rockies): We hope that tomorrow we're swinging the bats the way they are.
GOLDMAN: Hope was the common word for Garrett Atkins and his Colorado teammates last night. What else do you have to fight the Boston barrage, to fight the horrible odds? Twenty-two teams had been down 3-0 in the World Series, none has come back to win. And so, Atkins and the Rockies talked about just winning Game 4, nothing more.
Mr. ATKINS: We can play a little bit better over here. I don't think we've played our best baseball yet. And, hopefully, tomorrow we'll come out there and show them, you know, the National League's not that bad.
GOLDMAN: That's right Colorado fans. The reputation of the entire National League is on the line. Perhaps, it's time to burn a few sweatshirts.
Tom Goldman, NPR News, Denver.
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