Wow. All I can say is wow. Hopefully, the Indians can turn this into a 'Rocky IV' moment. After taking a beating from Ivan Drago in Round 1, right at the end of Round 2, Rocky Balboa lands a blow to the giant Russian, cutting him below the eye. When he gets back to his corner his trainer, Duke, utters one of the great lines in a sports movie... "You cut him. He's hurt. You see! He's not a machine, he's a man!" 7 runs in the 11th inning clarifies as a cut below the eye. With that effort the Indians tied the ALCS at 1-1 with the next 3 games at home in Jacobs Field.
More impressive is how the Indians battled from the start after getting pummeled 10-3 the night before. The jumped on top int he first inning 1-0 before Curt Schilling got settled in. Carmona had an awful 3rd which included another bases loaded walk to Scum Ramirez and a 2 run double to Mike Lowell but the Tribe answered right back in the Top of the 4th with a 3 run jack by Peralta. Grady added a solo HR in the 5th before Carmona and Rafael Perez imploded.
Carmona gave up a single to Kevin Youklis when Uncle Eric called for the normally automatic Rafael Perez to face David Ortiz. He got Big Papi out but gave up back to back bombs to Scum and Mike Lowell to make it 6-5 Red Sox. Jensen Lewis was summoned and stopped the bleeding with a great DP by Blake as the As-Man.
But once again the Indians answered. Peralta and Lofton put together back to back singles to put runners on the corners. Franklin Gutierrez drove in a run on a ground out to make it 6-6. Casey Blake struck out and Pronk was robbed with the bases loaded by the shift but the Indians tied it up after what was a brutal assault by the Red Sox in the previous half inning.
And the the bullpens took over. Jensen Lewis and Rafael Betancourt were lights out for the Tribe. Hideki Okajima, Mike Timlin and Jonathan Papelbon were as good for the Red Sox. Papelbon worked out of a jam int he Top of the 9th allowing 2 men on after he had gotten the first 2 outs. Betancourt answered for the Indians in the bottom of the 9th as the Red Sox got a runner to second with 2 outs and them battled Kevin Youklis for 11 pitches before he retired him on a lined shot to CF. The Indians went 1-2-3 in the 10th and the Red Sox sent up Ortiz, Ramirez and Lowell. Betancourt was out of gas so Uncle Eric called upon Tom Mastny who retired the heart of the Sox order 1-2-3. Mr. Mastny, like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, your something grew two sizes that day, and it wasn't your heart.
The Indians then erupted for 7 runs in the Top of the 11th (a MLB record) ignited by a PH single from ex-Red Sox Trot Nixon who was batting for Josh Barfield who was a PR for Hafner in the 9th. The As-Man then scored on a wild pitch, Ryan Garko followed with a RBI single and Jhonny Peralta followed with a RBI double. Gutierrez ended all doubt with a 3 run HR over the Green Monster. Ballgame. Tribe 13, Sox 6. Series tied 1-1.
The Indians have gotten nothing from their two aces, Sabathia and Carmona, so it now falls upon Jake Westbrook and Paul Byrd to step up and take control. The Tribe has 3 in a row at home. Uncle Eric has professed winning and splitting series all season. They split 1-1 in Boston. They need 2 of 3 at home, or better. The Tribe took the Sox best shot and punched them right back.
What a difference a day makes!