MLB Notebook: Red Sox spurred by Herculean efforts
Ortiz, Gomes lead way in middle of Boston lineup to help knot World Series at 2-2
In the first inning of Game 6 of the 1975 Fall Classic, Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk produced a two-out single to push Carl Yastrzemski to second and give Fred Lynn -- hitting right behind him -- a chance to do some damage. Lynn heartily (and mightily) accepted the challenge, launching a three-run homer to give Boston an early advantage. Eleven innings later, Lynn -- waiting on deck -- never got the chance to add to his line, as Fisk swung, exhorted and implored the ball fair down the left-field line before making his way around the bases with a walk-off home run. The two powerful swings were just part of a productive night for the Nos. 4 and 5 hitters in Boston's lineup, as each reached safely three times, scored twice, produced one extra-base hit and had a huge role in evening up the series.
The lines for the Red Sox's Nos. 4 and 5 hitters in Game 4 of the 2013 World Series weren't exactly the same as those produced by Fisk and Lynn all those years ago, but the collective production from David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes on Sunday night -- like that combined effort on Oct. 21, 1975 -- stands as a significant contribution to Boston evening up the World Series.
2013 World Series, Game 4: Red Sox at Cardinals
Gomes hit a three-run home run, Ortiz had three hits, a walk and two runs scored, and the Red Sox's bullpen contributed five innings of three-hit, one-run ball to lead Boston to a 4-2 victory that squared the series at two games apiece.
In the four World Series games in 2013, Ortiz is 8-for-11 with five runs scored, four walks, a double, two home runs and five RBIs. Ortiz has now reached safely at least twice in five straight World Series contests: a streak dating back to Game 4 of the '07 Fall Classic. The streak is tied for the second longest in Red Sox history, and is tied for the 23rd longest overall. The Major League high mark of nine is shared by Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson. In Red Sox territory, Ortiz is behind Yastrzemski (six) and tied with Rudy York, Marty Barrett and Manny Ramirez.
Ortiz is the 19th Red Sox player to reach safely at least four times in a World Series game, and the first to do it since Jacoby Ellsbury in Game 3 in '07.
Ortiz also reached safely four times in Game 1 of the '04 World Series. He and Yastrzemski are the only two Red Sox players to have a pair of these such games in World Series play. Among all Major League teams, Ortiz is one of 48 players to have multiple games like this, with Lou Gehrig and his four leading the pack.
Ortiz is the first Red Sox first baseman since Dick Hoblitzell in Game 2 in 1916 to reach safely at least four times in a World Series game.
Gomes, meanwhile, is the seventh Red Sox player to hit a World Series home run with two runners on (the team doesn't have a World Series grand slam). The others:
• Game 4, 1916: Larry Gardner hits a three-run inside-the-park home run, with his team down, 2-0, in the second inning. Boston goes on to win, 6-2.
• Game 3, '46: With no score in the bottom of the first, York connects with Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams aboard. The Red Sox go on to win, 4-0.
• Game 2, '67: Yastrzemski hits a three-run seventh-inning shot to extend the Red Sox's lead to 5-0, the final score of the game.
• Game 6, '75: Lynn opens the scoring in the bottom of the first when he homers to score Yastrzemski and Fisk.
• Game 6, '75: With his team down by three in the eighth, pinch-hitter Bernie Carbo hits a game-tying home run. The Red Sox go on to win the game, 7-6.
• Game 1, 2004: Ortiz gives the Red Sox a 3-0 run lead in the bottom of the first, and Boston goes on to win, 11-9.
• Game 4, '13: Gomes breaks a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning, hitting a 387-foot shot to score Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz ahead of him.
Gomes is the 13th player to have a World Series game with at least three RBIs, one home run and two walks. The others: Ruth (1926), Gehrig ('28), Phil Rizzuto ('51), Duke Snider ('56), Yogi Berra ('56), Mickey Mantle ('60), Richie Hebner ('71), Gene Tenace ('72), Ron Cey ('81), Lenny Dykstra ('93), Ortiz (2004) and Mike Napoli ('11).
Ortiz and Gomes are the 14th set of teammates to be hitting Nos. 4-5 in the lineup and each have lines that included at least one extra-base hit and three times reaching safely. Those they joined:
• The Athletics' Al Simmons and Jimmie Foxx: Game 2, 1929
• The Yankees' Gehrig and Tony Lazzeri: Game 4, '32
• The Cubs' Phil Cavarretta and Andy Pafko: Game 1, '45
• The Cardinals' Enos Slaughter and Whitey Kurowski: Game 4, '46
• The Yankees' Johnny Blanchard and Elston Howard: Game 5, '61
• The Tigers' Norm Cash and Willie Horton: Game 2, '68
• The Orioles' Frank Robinson and Paul Blair: Game 3, '70
• The Red Sox's Fisk and Lynn: Game 6, '75
• The Pirates' Willie Stargell and John Milner: Game 4, '79
• The Tigers' Lance Parrish and Larry Herndon: Game 1, '84
• The Phillies' Dave Hollins and Darren Daulton: Game 4, '93
• The White Sox Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski: Game 3, 2005
• The Red Sox's Ramirez and Mike Lowell: Game 1, '07
• The Red Sox's Ortiz and Gomes: Game 4, '13
Molina climbing all-time lists
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was 1-for-4 with a double, extending his World Series hitting streak to seven games. The streak ties Molina with Pepper Martin, Walker Cooper, Tim McCarver, Curt Flood and Tito Landrum for the sixth longest in team history. Willie McGee hit safely in 10 straight World Series games for the top mark, and he is followed by Lou Brock (nine) and Jim Bottomley, Ray Sanders and Julian Javier, each with eight-game streaks.
This Game 4 marked Molina's 17th start in World Series play. That is the 15th most in Cards history. It also marked Ortiz's 12th World Series start; he ranks ninth on Boston's list, one behind Tris Speaker.
• Allen Craig delivered a pinch-hit single for the Cardinals in the bottom of the ninth, improving to 4-for-4 as a pinch-hitter in World Series play. Craig's four World Series pinch-hits are the most ever. He had been tied with Ken O'Dea, Bobby Brown, Johnny Mize, Dusty Rhodes, Carl Furillo, Bob Cerv, Johnny Blanchard, Carl Warwick, Gonzalo Marquez and Ken Boswell.
• 2013 represents the 43rd time a World Series has been tied at two games apiece. In 25 of the previous 42 scenarios, the home team won Game 5.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.