New city, same Red Sox.
As the 2007 World Series shifted to Colorado, it became increasingly clear the Rockies were going to be no match for the star-studded Boston club.
The Red Sox won the first two games of the series at Fenway Park, and things didn’t fare any better for the Rockies upon their return to Coors Field. Boston jumped out to another early (and big) lead en route to an easy 10-5 win to put them on the precipice of yet another World Series title.
Here are a few things you might have forgotten about Game 3 of the 2007 World Series ahead of NESN’s broadcast of the game Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET.
1. The $51 million man
Daisuke Matsuzaka’s Red Sox career wasn’t perfect. His Game 3 start wasn’t flawless. But the rookie right-hander at least partially justified his contract during the 2007 World Series run, and he certainly did his job in the third game. Matsuzaka gave Terry Francona and the Red Sox 16 valuable outs, working into the sixth inning before getting the hook. His final line: 5 1/3 innings, two runs on three hits, five strikeouts and three walks — a very Dice-K performance. His pitching performance, however, was slightly overshadowed.
2. Another crooked number
We just talked about Matsuzaka’s pitching performance, but it was what he did with the bat that’s the lasting image from the Game 3 win. For just the sixth time in his young career, Matsuzaka came to the plate in the third inning with the bases loaded. Rockies starter Josh Fogg’s already bad night got worse, as Matsuzaka pulled a ground ball through the left side for a single. Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek scored, giving the Red Sox a 5-0 lead. The Matsuzaka base knock was one of seven Boston hits in the third inning, as the Red Sox pushed six runs across before Colorado even got through its order for the first time. Eventual series MVP Lowell also came up with a big hit, collecting a pair of RBIs on a single to center earlier in the inning.
3. No joyride
The final score makes it look like the Red Sox breezed through Game 3, but it wasn’t quite as easy as the one-sided affair might have looked. That’s in large part thanks to eventual National Leagur MVP runner-up Matt Holliday, who came up with arguably the biggest hit in Rockies history in the bottom of the seventh. As Colorado tried to climb back into the game, Holliday came up with two runners on and his team trailing 6-2. He jumped all over the first pitch from Hideki Okajima and hit it deep into the Colorado night for a potentially momentum-shifting three-run home run.
Credit to Okajima, though. After allowing a single to the next batter, he locked in to get a pair of strikeouts and induced a groundout to get out of the inning.
4. Finishing the job
With the Rockies back in the game and feeling good after Holliday’s homer, the Red Sox answered — right away. Boston scored a pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning, as the young guns came up big. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia each doubled off All-Star reliever Brian Fuentes, giving the Sox a pair of much-needed insurance runs, pushing the lead to 9-5 (Varitek would add a sacrifice fly in the ninth).
Once again, Francona got aggressive with his bullpen. Even with a four-run lead, he called on closer Jonathan Papelbon in the eighth inning to work out of a mini-jam. Papelbon then worked around a two-out triple in the ninth to pick up the rare save in a five-run win while helping the Red Sox get to within one win of another World Series title.
Thumbnail photo via YouTube/MLB