There have been many powerful teams in the long and illustrious history of the Boston Red Sox. But none of them put on the fireworks show like the one seen on Sunday night at Fenway Park.
With two outs in the third inning, nobody on and the Red Sox trailing the Yankees, 3-0, Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek homered in consecutive at-bats against Yankee left-hander Chase Wright, a first in Red Sox history.
Ramirez started the long ball avalanche by hitting a 2-1 pitch over the Green Monster Seats in left-center field.
Drew was next, and little did he know that he was about to make Major League history.
When Drew launched a 1-2 pitch into the right-center-field seats, the Red Sox had gone back-to-back for the first time this season.
The Red Sox were far from done, or satisfied.
Lowell stepped to the plate next and took a called strike and a ball. He then drilled a breaking ball into the Monster Seats for the third consecutive homer. The Red Sox had tied the game on three swings of the bat and had homered in three consecutive plate appearances for the first time since May 31, 1980, when Tony Perez, Carlton Fisk and Butch Hobson went deep.
"Total disbelief in the dugout, because usually four straight hitters don't square up a ball for base hits, let alone home runs," said Lowell, who later added a three-run round-tripper that proved the decisive blow in Boston's 7-6 win, Daisuke Matsuzaka's first at Fenway Park.
"Then, being down three, you get there, you tie it, and then you go ahead, that's a big momentum shift, because you're doing it in a way that kind of gets the crowd going and they're totally on our side. I think it kind of pumps up Daisuke because you're not looking for a couple of bloops and a blast," Lowell added.
Then Varitek walked to the plate with a chance at history. After taking a ball, the Red Sox catcher swung and connected, driving the 1-0 pitch into the Monster Seats. Four home runs, a huge momentum shift and a place into the record books -- all in 10 pitches.
"You don't see that too often," said the understated Varitek. "It electrified this place a little bit. Odds were against us, though. During a ballgame, you're not aware of it, but it's a fun thing to be a part of."
As he sat in the dugout moments after following a long Ramirez home run with a long ball of his own to right field, Drew felt a sense of déjà vu.
FOUR IN A ROW
On Sunday night, the Red Sox became one of five teams to belt four consecutive home runs in a game:
Team Date Opponent Players
Red Sox 4/22/2007 NYY Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek
Dodgers 9/18/2006 SD Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin, Marlon Anderson
Twins 5/2/1964 KC Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison, Jimmie Hall
Indians 7/31/1963 LAA Woody Held, Pedro Ramos, Tito Francona, Larry Brown
Braves 6/8/1961 CIN Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock, Frank Thomas
"I hit mine and didn't think much about it," Drew said. "Mikey hits a big home run, and then I looked down [the bench] and told Coco [Crisp] that we're one pitch away from doing what happened in L.A. last September. Then 'Tek has a good at-bat, hits a home run, and you smile and laugh and wonder, 'How in the world is that possible?' I'm the common denominator, I guess, has to be the second [batter] in the mix."
Last Sept. 18, Drew's Dodgers trailed the San Diego Padres, 9-5, heading into the bottom of the ninth. Jon Adkins entered the game and promptly gave up homers to Jeff Kent and Drew. Trevor Hoffman relieved and surrendered two more homers on the first two pitches he threw to Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson.
"I don't want to take anything away from [Sunday's game] because it was a really cool thing to be a part of," Drew said. "The situation we were in, in September of last year, with chasing the Padres in the middle of that pennant race and [using] the bottom of the ninth to do it [was special]. I think with the way the game had played out to that point was a little different situation [than Sunday]."
There couldn't have been a better birthday gift to Red Sox skipper Terry Francona, who turned 48 on Sunday.
"I was feeling better as the number mounted," Francona said. "I guess on one hand, we were fairly efficient that inning, but on the other hand, we, up to that point, didn't really have a lot to show for it. I mean, we did it with two outs. It certainly brought some life back into the ballpark in a hurry."
• Yanks overwhelmed by homers
• Wright's fortunes changed quickly
• Notes: Posada's thumb no better
April 21 coverage: Karstens burned by Sox in debut Yankees get first look at Dice-K Notes: Damon joins wounded April 20 coverage: Rivera's blown save dooms Yanks Singer: A-Rod's tear a wonder Posada leaves with bruised thumb Notes: Bean adds depth to bullpen
Previous season series
• 2006: Yankees 11, Red Sox 8
• 2005: Yankees 10, Red Sox 9
• 2004: Red Sox 11, Yankees 8
Before Wright on Sunday, only one pitcher had given up four straight homers in an inning. Francona's father, Tito, with the Indians, was one of the four to tag Paul Foytack of the Los Angeles Angels on July 31, 1963, in the second game of a doubleheader.
Before last September, there were just three cases in Major League history of a team hitting four straight homers in an inning, all since 1961.
May 2, 1964: The Twins beat the Kansas City Athletics in Kansas City, 7-3. In the top of the 11th inning, the first four batters homered: Tony Oliva, Bob Allison, Jimmie Hall and Harmon Killebrew. Both Oliva and Killebrew had hit home runs earlier in the game.
July 31, 1963: The Cleveland Indians repeated a feat first performed by the Braves in 1961. In the sixth inning of the second game of a doubleheader against the Los Angeles Angels in Cleveland, Woodie Held, pitcher Pedro Ramos, Tito Francona and Larry Brown hit four consecutive home runs, all off Foytack.
June 8, 1961: Four consecutive Milwaukee Braves batters homered in the seventh inning of a game at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock and Frank Thomas hit home runs off two Reds hurlers, but, even with two other Braves four-baggers, including another by Mathews and one by pitcher Warren Spahn, the Reds prevailed, 10-8.