With Vaughn, Red Sox end fall swoon Slugger's 2 HRs, 7 RBIs lead 11-3 rout of Indians to halt postseason skid

September 30, 1998|By BOSTON GLOBE

CLEVELAND -- You could build a team around any one of them.

Put the three together, as the Boston Red Sox have done, and maybe you can fashion something even more enduring, the kind of thing that comes around, oh, once every 80 years or so and is cherished like a family heirloom.

Mo Vaughn, Pedro Martinez, and Nomar Garciaparra didn't win a World Series yesterday afternoon. World Series? Vaughn hasn't

even won a return trip to Boston next year.

But in the wake of an 11-3 demolition of the Cleveland Indians in which Vaughn hit two home runs and a double and drove in seven runs, Garciaparra hit a three-run homer and sacrifice fly and drove in the other four runs, and Martinez struck out eight in seven innings, the Red Sox did more than end their 13-game postseason losing streak.

They proclaimed, as loudly as Shirley Vaughn was cheering her son during the most productive game of his career, that they have designs on something beyond just winning Game 1 of their best-of-five American League Division Series.

"Yes, this is big," said Dennis Eckersley, the wise head who has been in this position more than any other inhabitant of a Red Sox uniform. "It took a little pressure off of Mo, off of us. For now. For tonight. But not tomorrow. Because it's big, but then it just keeps getting bigger and bigger, right? This is just the start."

The Red Sox, who had not won in the postseason since Game 5 of the 1986 World Series, salved the sting of that indignity as surely as Vaughn buried the memory of his 0-for-14 performance the division playoffs in 1995, when the Indians swept the Red Sox in three games.

With his three-run homer in the first inning off Indians starter Jaret Wright, his two-run homer off reliever Doug Jones in the sixth and his two-run double off reliever Jim Poole in the eighth, Vaughn matched Mariner Edgar Martinez's record for RBIs in a postseason game. He also drove in more runs yesterday than the Red Sox scored in all three games against the Indians in '95.

"A mother's pride is great, fantastic, overjoyed," said Shirley Vaughn, who was wearing a necklace with a golden "No. 42" and was waiting to give a hug to the man-monster who ate Cleveland but to her was "Mama's baby."

"I let it completely out," she added. "Where we were sitting, there were only four of us yelling for the Red Sox. Everybody finally told us, 'Would you please be quiet?' "

While Vaughn's three-run homer had the effect of a stun gun on the crowd of 45,185 in Jacobs Field, Garciaparra's three-run homer off Wright in the fifth was the silencer. It gave the Red Sox a 6-0 lead against a team that managed two singles through the first five innings against Martinez.

"Jaret made mistakes to their first two hitters and it cost us six runs," said Indians catcher Sandy Alomar. "Mo and Nomar are very clutch hitters."

Meanwhile, the first two hitters in the Red Sox lineup, Darren Lewis and John Valentin, were producing five hits and scoring five runs, a total that might have been even higher if Lewis hadn't left the game after being beaned in the left earflap by Wright in the fifth.

"When you're going against Pedro and you find yourself behind 3-0, that's difficult," Indians first baseman Jim Thome said. "When you find yourself behind 6-0, that's almost impossible."

The anxious moments were few for Martinez, who had never pitched before in the postseason. He gave up a two-run homer to Kenny Lofton in the sixth, a bases-empty homer to Thome in the seventh and invited a visit from manager Jimy Williams in the wake of Thome's homer when he uncorked a third-strike wild pitch to Travis Fryman and gave up a double to Brian Giles.

Postseason drive

The Red Sox's Mo Vaughn yesterday tied the record for most RBIs in a postseason game:

RBIs .. Player, team .. .. .. ..Opponent .. ...Date .. ..Round

7 .. .. Mo Vaughn, .. .. .. ..at Cleveland ..Sept. 29, ..Division

.. .. ..Boston . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .1998 .. .. .Series

7 .. ...Edgar Martinez, .. ...New York .. .. Oct. 7, .. .Division

.. .. ..Seattle .. .. .. .. . Yankees .. .. .1995 .. .. .Series

6 .. ...Bobby Richardson, .. .at Pittsburgh .Oct. 8, .. .World

.. .. ..New York .. .. .. .. .Yankees .. .. .1960 .. .. .Series

6 .. .. Will Clark, .. .. .. .at Chicago .. .Oct. 4, .. .NL Champ.

.. .. ..San Francisco .. .. ..Cubs .. .. .. .1989 .. .. .Series

AL Division Series

Cleveland vs. Boston

(Boston leads 1-0)

Yesterday: Game 1

Boston 11, Cleveland 3

Today: Game 2

Boston (Wakefield 17-8, 4.58) at Cleveland (Gooden 8-6, 3.76), 1: 07 p.m., ESPN

Friday: Game 3

Cleveland (Nagy 15-10, 5.22) at Boston (Saberhagen 15-8, 3.96), 4: 07 p.m., ESPN

Saturday: Game 4*

Cleveland (Colon 14-9, 3.71) at Boston (Schourek 1-3, 4.30), TBA

Sunday: Game 5*

Boston at Cleveland, TBA

*-If necessary

Pub Date: 9/30/98

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