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You all know the story. In fact, this is the fourth time since 2003 that the Red Sox have forced a Game 7 in the ALCS after winning Game 6. They did so by beating the Rays 4-2 behind a gutsy effort from an injured Josh Beckett.
The Sox righty allowed two runs on four hits in five innings, and handed over a tie game to the bullpen. Hideki Okajima, Justin Masterson, and Jonathan Papelbon combined for four hitless innings in the big Game 6 win.
James Shields was good, but not nearly as good as he was in Game 1. His toughest inning came in the sixth, with all of the damage coming after two quick outs. Up next was one of the worst hitters in baseball (Jason Varitek), who was hitless in the series. So, of course, Shields leaves his pitch over the plate and Tek launched a very clutch home run to give the Sox a 3-2 lead.
The Red Sox added a run in the inning after the usually sure-handed Jason Bartlett threw wildly to first base, allowing Dustin Pedroia to reach. With Coco Crisp on third and Pedroia on first, David Ortiz hit an RBI single to center field to make the score 4-2.
Earlier in the game, Kevin Youkilis answered a B.J. Upton first inning HR with a blast of his own in the second inning, and an RBI groundout in the third to give the Sox a 2-1 lead. Youkilis finished 1-5 with a HR and 2 RBI, including many sound plays defensively at third base.
Now, the Sox and Rays turn to Game 7. Jon Lester will take the hill for the Sox against Tampa’s Matt Garza. The Rays won the Game 3 matchup of these two pitchers, but we will see who has enough to win the AL pennant and head to the World Series…