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Red Sox Head to World Series

You'd better believe it! The Boston Red Sox are going to the World Series. Last night at Fenway, they beat the Cleveland Indians in the decisive Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. That was their third straight win, completing a comeback from two games down. WBUR's Curt Nickisch was there.

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CURT NICKISCH: The Red Sox are no stranger to come from behind series wins, having fought back from three down to win this same series in 2004. In that final Game 7, pitcher Derek Lowe started for Boston, and that's whose jersey David Lowe from Westwood was wearing in the stands last night. Even with that positive history, Lowe was uneasy. This team has given him so much heartbreak over the years:

DAVID LOWE: I remember having my fingers on the champagne cork one year. 86. Then we had to put the cork back in.

NICKISCH: And it was too close for comfort for much of last night's game, despite a solid performance from this Game 7 starter Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Japanese star pitcher had had two shaky outings earlier in the playoffs; but last night he held Cleveland to two runs over five innings.

SOUND OF Let's go Red Sox! CHEERS

NICKISCH: The problem was, Boston was only leading three to two. Looking on nervously was Red Sox fan Janice Mize — she came all the way from Nashville for the game, and was afraid to say a word for fear she might jinx the team.

JANICE MIZE: It is true. Doesn't matter if you're from New England, the West Coast, the South, all Red Sox fans are paranoid.

NICKISCH: Next to her was her friend Melissa Ryzzek, a lawyer from Braintree.

MELISSA RYZZEK: I feel nervous, too. LAUGHS. I was a lot more calm when it was three to one, but you know what I have a lot of confidence in our team and the spirit here at Fenway park, it's really electrifying.

NICKISCH: That confidence and energy amped sky high when Boston's rookie second baseman made a clutch play that turned the game. With a Cleveland runner heading home, Dustin Pedroia threw a laser to convert a double play, keeping the Indians from tying it up. Then the bottom of the inning, Pedroia batted a two run home run over the Green Monster, and Fenway went nuts.

SOUND OF CROWD ERUPTING IN CHEERS

NICKISCH: That broke it open. Boston won eleven to two, and fans stayed in their seats to celebrate.

SOUND OF FANS YELLING OVER EACH OTHER: "We got the best team in the American League. / We're going to the World Series baby! / Cy Young Josh Beckett!"

NICKISCH: Midnight struck, and it was exactly three years and one day since Boston came from behind to win the American League Championship against the New York Yankees. Now the Red Sox have done it again against Cleveland, and emotions spilled over in the Red Sox clubhouse, as the champagne corks came out for good.

SOUND OF PLAYERS SPRAYING EACH OTHER WITH CHAMPAGNE

NICKISCH: Earlier in the playoffs, it was the veterans Josh Beckett and David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez that decided games. In these last two at Fenway, newcomers like J.D. Drew and Dustin Pedroia were the heroes. Red Sox manager Terry Francona says that win or lose, this team keeps on playing.

TERRY FRANCONA: When things aren't going well, and that's not just now but during the season, they don't take a deep breath and feel sorry for themselves. It doesn't assure that you're going to win, but it assures that you give yourself a chance. And young guys like Pedroia — he played a big part in this series. Ellsbury comes in. And then our veterans. Guys kind of dug deep. We had to, we got pushed.

NICKISCH: Now the Red Sox face their next push, as they host Game 1 of the World Series Wednesday. The Colorado Rockies come to Fenway. They're a confident team, too, having won the National League series in four straight games. But even if the Rockies get Boston down, they'll be wise not to count the Red Sox out.

For WBUR, I'm Curt Nickisch.

This program aired on October 22, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.

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