10/18/2004 1:23 AM ET
Game balls: Rating Game 4
Ortiz, Mueller, Cabrera enjoy monster performances
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
MLB.com is awarding "game balls" -- or, in this case, Wally the Green Monster to represent the Red Sox, and subway cars, in honor of New York City's mass transit system -- for performances in this year's American League Championship Series.
Let's see who took the express train and who hit the wall in the Red Sox's impressive extra-inning win, allowing them to prevent a four-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees.
Five Wallys: Wave the Red Sox flag high and mighty
Four Wallys: Makes Red Sox Nation feel good
Three Wallys: The fur could use a little fluffing
Two Wallys: Might be time to dry-clean the outfit
One Wally: You're stuck rallying the faithful in northern Maine
David Ortiz: He ended the ALDS with a walk-off homer, then resuscitated the Red Sox's season with a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 12th. Ortiz also came through in the fifth, plating the tying and go-ahead runs with a two-out single. Ortiz deserves major credit for not squandering an opportunity.
Bill Mueller: Mueller quickly cashed in pinch-runner Dave Roberts with a one-out single to center in the bottom of the ninth. His clutch hit prevented Boston's offseason from starting, for the moment, at least.
Orlando Cabrera: Fighting back from an 0-2 count, the man traded for Nomar Garciaparra battled El Duque and bounced a 12-hopper through the right side for an RBI single. The two-out hit sliced the deficit in half and shifted the momentum Boston's way.
Terry Francona: Second-guessed for his decisions all series, Francona made the right call to bring the infield in with one out in the top of the second. Jorge Posada grounded right to Cabrera, and the shortstop easily gunned down Hideki Matsui.
Derek Lowe: Knowing a loss would mean a long offseason, Lowe had everything riding on his start. Like Bronson Arroyo a night before, Lowe committed a cardinal sin by giving back a lead. Though he technically left with a lead, his final act was to surrender a one-out triple to Matsui, and Godzilla would eventually score the tying run.
Mike Timlin: Timlin inherited Matsui at third and couldn't strand him. He lost an eight-pitch war to Bernie Williams by allowing a game-tying single up the middle. It didn't end there, as the next two batters reached, and Tony Clark singled off Mark Bellhorn's glove.
Five subway cars: Empty car, all the seats to yourself
Four subway cars: Smooth ride, even got a nap
Three subway cars: Had to stand, but life is good
Two subway cars: Got my jacket caught in the door
One subway car: Overslept; hot, crowded car; splitting headache
Alex Rodriguez: Rodriguez put the Evil Empire in front with a two-run homer in the third. Fans seated beyond the Green Monster threw the ball back twice, once on the homer, then again after Johnny Damon returned it to the crowd. Finally, the ugly reminder of a potential lost season in Beantown was taken out of play.
Hideki Matsui: Godzilla destroyed Boston with 11 hits, and eight went for extra bases. His one-out triple chased Lowe and put the Yankees in position to retake control of the game. He scored the tying run when Williams singled up the middle.
Tanyon Sturtze: With a bullpen tired, Sturtze tossed two scoreless innings, then handed the ball to Mariano Rivera.
Mariano Rivera: Smelling a sweep, Joe Torre went right to Mo for a two-inning save, and Rivera had little difficulty blazing through the eighth. But a leadoff walk turned out to be the tying run in a wild ninth. The dominant reliever entered the outing with 32 career postseason saves and an 0.69 ERA. He almost took the loss, but he escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam to send the game to extra innings.
Tony Clark: Clark's bobble in the ninth put runners on first and third with one out and woke up the Red Sox fans in a hurry. The veteran was starting for an injured John Olerud, and taking his eye off the ball was inexcusable.
Paul Quantrill: Q began his career in Beantown 12 years earlier and ended things quickly in the 12th. He started that inning and allowed a single to Manny Ramirez, then a homer to Ortiz. His ERA for the series rose to 10.80.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.