Can it really be ten years since the Red Sox won the 2007 World Championship? Kevin Youkilis. Mike Lowell. Julio Lugo. J.D. Drew. And Curt Schilling. He was still hanging in there. And the Sox had just picked up the old Dodger bullpen ace Eric Gagne who was to bolster their bullpen. The Sox were in the hunt for the division title and each game was critical.
The Birds on the other hand were just playing out the string. They did have, however, a few bright spots. A young Nick Markakis batted .300 and hit 23 home runs. He would never hit that many again. And Brian Roberts was on the top of his game. Miguel Tejada was in his last year at shortstop, his bat still potent, although his range in the field was diminishing.
Anyway I had seen Curt Schilling a number of times over the years, mostly with the Phillies. This was to be the last time. Curt pitched well; six solid innings giving up only one unearned run. He left the game with the Sox up 3-1. Into the bottom 8th inning we went with the Sox still on top. With one on and one out Terry Francona called for Eric Gagne to enter the game. He was greeted with a Miguel Tejada homerun, tying the ball game. The Gagne trade was one of those things that didn’t work out. He was granted free agency at the end of the year and twelve months later would be out of the majors for good.
The game went into extra innings. Bottom of the 10th inning, the Sox brought Kyle Snyder to pitch. Snyder was a back-of-the-bullpen pitcher with reasonably respectable numbers. Two singles followed by a popup.
Up steps Kevin Millar. Millar had been one of the ingredients on the Sox 2004 World Championship. Millar was an offensive force of sorts who hit for a decent average, picked up quite a few walks, and had some power. Apparently the Sox didn’t try real hard to keep him after the 2005 campaign. I suspect the emergence of Kevin Youkilis meant that they had an improved version of the same skill set at a cheaper price. He then signed with the Orioles and for three seasons was one of the better hitters on a team that was basically going nowhere.
Anyway, that afternoon, Millar delivered. A three run blast into the left field stands and the O’s went home the winner. A disappointing game for Red Sox fans like myself, but one of the few close games that I saw during the Orioles “dark ages” when they actually came out on top.