BOSTON Boston Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka broke Grady Sizemore s bat on the second pitch of last night s game. Some 3 hours later, the Cleveland Indians had their hearts broken too in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.
Boston won 11-2, sweeping the final three games of the ALCS to advance to the World Series.
The Red Sox will play host to the Colorado Rockies in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday at 8:35 p.m. (Channel 36, 2).
The Red Sox s leadoff batter reached base and scored single runs in each of the first three innings. They had chances to score many more, including the first inning when the bases were loaded with one out, but Indians starter Jake Westbrook coaxed three double-play grounders in the first four frames.
It was a double play that wasn t a sharp, one-out grounder took a crazy bounce over the head of Tribe shortstop Jhonny Peralta that plated Boston s run in the first inning.
The Tribe clawed back to make it 3-1 in the fourth when Travis Hafner snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a double off the wall in left field. He scored when Ryan Garko ended a tremendous at-bat by also blasting a shot off the Green Monster for a double.
Cleveland pulled within 3-2 in the top of the fifth on back-to-back singles by Franklin Gutierrez and Casey Blake followed by a sacrifice fly off Sizemore s bat. Kenny Lofton also singled to lead off the inning, but was ruled out on a throw by Boston left-fielder Manny Ramirez while trying to stretch a line shot off the wall in left into a double.
The Tribe missed out on a chance to score the tying run when third-base coach Joel Skinner put up a late stop sign for Lofton, who was on second base when Gutierrez singled just inside the third-base bag.
Historic, quaint Fenway Park was the site of last night s Game 7, and it was the perfect venue with its rabid crowd of 37,165 and thousands more milling around the park and partying on Yawkey Way.
Westbrook did his best to give Cleveland a shot, but reliever Rafael Betancourt surrendered a two-run homer to Dustin Pedroia in the bottom of the seventh to give the home team a 5-2 lead. It grew courtesy of a six-run Boston eighth.