NEW YORK (AP) — Believe it — the Boston Red Sox are
in the World Series. They got there with the most unbelievable
comeback of all, with four sweet swings after decades of defeat,
shaming the New York Yankees, the Evil Empire to the south.

David Ortiz, Johnny Damon and Derek Lowe made sure of it.

Just three outs from getting swept in the AL championship series
three nights earlier, the Red Sox finally humbled the dreaded
Yankees, winning Game 7 in a 10-3 shocker last night to become the
first major league team to overcome a 3-0 postseason series
deficit.

Cursed for 86 years, these Red Sox just might be charmed.

“All empires fall sooner or later,” Boston president
Larry Lucchino said.

There is no torture this time, no hour of humiliation. Better
yet for Boston fans, it’s the Yankees who are left to suffer
the memory of a historic collapse.

“It’s very amazing,” Red Sox manager Terry
Francona said.

Boston didn’t need any of the late-inning dramatics that
marked the last three games, leading 6-0 after two innings.

Ortiz, the series MVP, started it with a two-run homer in the
first off broken-down Kevin Brown, and Damon quieted Yankee Stadium
in the second inning with a grand slam on Javier Vazquez’s
first pitch.

After Derek Jeter sparked hope of a comeback with a run-scoring
single in the third, Damon put a two-run homer into the upper deck
for an 8-1 lead in the fourth.

Lowe, pitching on just two days’ rest, silenced the
Yankees’ bats and their boasting fans, who just last weekend
assumed New York’s seventh pennant in nine years was all but
a lock. He allowed one hit in six innings. Pedro Martinez started
the seventh, his first relief appearance in five years, and
immediately sparked chants of the now famous “Who’s
Your Daddy?”

Three hits and two runs got the crowd going, but the rally
stopped there and Mark Bellhorn added a solo homer in the eighth
for a 9-3 Boston lead.

Cheering from Red Sox fans could be heard in the ninth, and when
pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra grounded to second baseman Pokey Reese
for the final out, Boston players ran onto the field and jumped
together in a mass huddle.

“The greatest comeback in baseball history,” Red Sox
owner John Henry said.

Yankees players slowly walked off, eliminated on their home
field for the second straight season.

“They had a lot of heart. They never gave up,”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “That team never
dies. I give them a lot of credit.”

The World Series will start at Fenway Park on Saturday night
against St. Louis or Houston.

There were several hundred Red Sox fans behind their dugout on
the third-base side, cheering wildly as Boston players gave one
another bear hugs.

Trot Nixon ran out to the center-field bleachers to greet
friends, then shook hands with more along the right-field line.

Now that the Babe’s team has been beaten, Boston can try
to reverse The Curse, win the Series for the first time since 1918
and bring happiness to the Hub, which can scarcely believe the
tumultuous turn of events.

From Fenway Park to Faneuil Hall, from Boston Common to Beacon
Hill, the 11th pennant for the Red Sox, the first since 1986, will
be remembered as the best for one reason: beating New York in
Yankee Stadium, site of last year’s Game 7 meltdown.

This was for Williams and Pesky, for Yastrzemski and Yawkey, for
Fisk and Rice and even Buckner and Nomar, just a few of the
hundreds who suffered the pain inflicted by their New York
neighbors in a rivalry that has become baseball’s best.

None of the previous 25 major league teams to fall behind 3-0
even forced a series to seven games. The wild-card Red Sox became
only the third of 239 teams in the four major North American
leagues to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series and
win, joining the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York
Islanders.

It had been 100 years since Boston last won a pennant in New
York on the final possible day, a 3-2 victory in a doubleheader
opener at Hilltop Park in 1904. New York overcame the Red Sox by
winning the final two games of the 1949 season at Yankee Stadium,
the Yankees won a one-game playoff for the AL East in 1978 behind
Bucky Dent’s three-run homer at Fenway Park, and Aaron Boone
hit the 11th-inning homer that won Game 7 last year.

New York, which dropped to 10-2 in the LCS, will no doubt face a
bitter winter, with owner George Steinbrenner likely to take charge
of overhauling a roster that has been short of starting pitching
since the spring.

Brown and Vazquez, who faded in the second half of the season,
were booed by the sellout crowd of 56,129, accustomed to perpetual
success from their pinstriped heroes. The Yankees won the AL East
for the seventh straight year, and the Red Sox were runners-up each
time.

The Yankees had a 4-3 lead in the ninth inning of Game 4 on
Sunday night, only to have Bill Mueller single home the tying run
off Mariano Rivera and Ortiz hit a 12th-inning homer against Paul
Quantrill.

They held a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning of Game 5 before
Ortiz’s homer off Tom Gordon and Jason Varitek’s
sacrifice fly off Rivera, and Ortiz’s winning single off
Esteban Loaiza in the 14th.

Then Curt Schilling, his right ankle held together by three
sutures, beat the Yankees 4-2 Tuesday night to tie the series
3-all.

The Yankees invoked all the bad memories they could for Boston
before the game: Dent threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Yogi
Berra, and Reggie Jackson stood behind the cage during batting
practice.

Just like last year, when the Red Sox went ahead 4-0 in the
fourth inning of Game 7, Boston took an early lead.

Damon, who entered the game 3-for-29 (.103), singled past Alex
Rodriguez at third base leading off and stole second. Manny Ramirez
then grounded a single past Jeter at shortstop. Damon, who had to
hold up to make sure the ball went into the outfield, was thrown
out when left fielder Hideki Matsui relayed the ball to Jeter, who
threw a strike to Jorge Posada, with the catcher blocking Damon at
the plate.

That was the highlight for the Yankees.

Ortiz, who had three homers and 11 RBIs in the series, sent the
next pitch into the right-field seats to put Boston ahead 2-0.

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