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Yankees won’t have to try to overcome 3-0 deficit, like 2004 Red Sox

Boston Red Sox players, from left, Alan Embree,

Boston Red Sox players, from left, Alan Embree, Pedro Martinez and Ricky Gutierrez celebrate after Boston defeated the New York Yankees 10-3 in Game 7 of the AL championship series Wednesday night, Oct. 20, 2004, in New York. Credit: AP / Charles Krupa

Turns out the Yankees will not have to channel the 2004 Red Sox.

That Boston team dropped the first three games to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series before becoming the first — and only — MLB team to overcome the deficit and win four straight.

The Yankees averted a 3-0 deficit by defeating the Astros on Monday night, 8-1. Houston leads the best-of-seven ALCS two games to one.

The Yankees no longer face the seemingly impossible odds that confronted the Red Sox.

Here’s how it happened:

The Yankees won Game 1, 10-7, at Yankee Stadium as Mike Mussina beat Curt Schilling. Hideki Matsui had a three-run triple for the Yankees and Mariano Rivera got the save. Schilling had a torn tendon sheath in his right ankle from the ALDS, and that was said to have curtailed his effectiveness in the game. It would come back to haunt the Yankees later on.

In Game 2, Jon Lieber beat Pedro Martinez as the Yankees won, 3-1. John Olerud hit a two-run home run.

The series shifted to Fenway Park and the Yankees poured it on, winning Game 3, 19-8. Matsui hit two homers and Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield also homered. The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan wrote of the Red Sox: “They are down, 3–0, after last night’s 19–8 rout, and, in this sport, that is an official death sentence. Soon it will be over, and we will spend another dreary winter lamenting this and lamenting that.”

Even the most ardent Red Sox fan could not have predicted what was about to unfold.

With the Yankees three outs away from a four-game sweep, Rivera blew the save when Kevin Millar walked, pinch runner Dave Roberts (the current Dodgers manager) stole second and Bill Mueller singled up the middle to tie the score at 4-4. David Ortiz hit a walk-off two-run homer off Paul Quantrill in the 12th for a 6-4 victory.

The Red Sox won Game 5, 5-4, on Ortiz’s run-scoring hit in the 14th. The game lasted 5 hours and 14 minutes.

The Yankees still felt good about themselves as the series returned to Yankee Stadium, but the tide had turned and the Yankees seemed powerless to reverse it. In Game 6, Schilling, with a bloodied sock from his injury, pitched seven strong innings. The Red Sox got a three-run home run from Mark Bellhorn and won, 4-2, tying the series at three games apiece.

The Red Sox became the first team in Major League Baseball playoff history to force a Game 7 after trailing three games to none.

Game 7 was an anticlimactic rout for the Red Sox, who took a 6-0 lead in the first two innings en route to a 10-3 victory. Johnny Damon, who would later join the Yankees, hit two home runs and drove in six runs. Ortiz, who also homered, was named the Series MVP.

The Red Sox went on to sweep the Cardinals and win their first World Series title since 1918.

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