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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  January 16, 2005
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Lowe hits top for Red Sox
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Derek Lowe stood in the boisterous Boston clubhouse, a bottle of champagne in one hand, a cigar in the other.

�Unbelievable,� he said. �No more going to Yankee Stadium and

having to listen to �1918!��

Dave Ferriss failed.

Jim Lonborg failed.

So did Bill Lee. Roger Clemens and Bruce Hurst, too, names piled high on the heap of Red Sox flops near the finish.

Lowe came through.

Starting this day, he�s forever a Red Sox hero, a name to be remembered by children throughout New England as long as baseball is played in Boston.

He did it!

With the Red Sox one precious win from that elusive World Series title, Lowe came through with the game of a lifetime, the missing highlight to be played over and over and over�especially when the Yankees come to Fenway Park.

Lowe ended 85 years of lowlights, helped the Red Sox get over the top. He shut out the St. Louis Cardinals on three hits in seven innings, and completed an amazing World Series sweep�the first for the Red Sox�with a 3-0 victory Wednesday night that made him the first pitcher to win three postseason clinchers in one year.

Already, Lowe was looking ahead to the biggest parade Boston has seen since the British were chased out of town.

�It gets me tingling to think about it,� he said.

If April 15 is Patriots Day, Oct. 27 is Reverse the Curse Day.

And this year, let the party go on all weekend, with Lowe receiving the first toast.

The first pitcher to win a World Series clincher for Boston since Carl Mays in 1918, he put up zeros on the scoreboard as Johnny Damon�s leadoff homer in the first and Trot Nixon�s two-run double in third provided the offense that sent Boston on to its eighth straight postseason win.

Before the game, Lowe was in Boston�s dugout on the third-base side of Busch Stadium singing, �If you�re happy and you know it, clap your hands.�

A 31-year-old right-hander, born in Dearborn, Mich., and a resident of Boston�s spring training town of Fort Myers, Fla., Lowe has been with the Red Sox since 1997, was their closer in 2000 and much of 2001 before 10 losses in relief caused Boston to bounce him back to the rotation.

Then, the following April 27, he pitched a no-hitter against Tampa Bay. But he went 0-3 in the playoffs in 2003 and this year, the final season in his contract, slumped to a 14-12 record and a 5.42 ERA. By the time the playoffs came around, he was out of the rotation.

ďż˝We talked to him in Baltimore, told him he was going to the bullpen. He wasnďż˝t happy,ďż˝ manager Terry Francona said. ďż˝We told him he had a day to pout, yell or whatever, because he was going to have something to do in the playoffs. We didnďż˝t know how much. But to his credit, he did what he was supposed to do. He didnďż˝t pout.  He got himself ready, and look at what he did.ďż˝

He got the win against Anaheim in the final game of the first round. Then, when Tim Wakefield wound up being used in relief in Game 3 against the Yankees, Lowe got called on to start Game 4.  Boston won that one in extra innings, and Lowe started and won Game 7, allowing one hit over six innings as Boston completed its historic comeback from an 0-3 deficit.

�When you think you�re down as far as you can go, I kept getting back up,� Lowe said. �I gave myself the nickname �Cockroach� the Anaheim series. They kept trying to kill me. I�d find a way to wiggle back to life.�

Grady Little, Francona�s predecessor, had questioned whether Lowe was out too late at night and suggested that Lowe�s body language on the mound was a sign of trouble.

�When Pedro (Martinez) pitches a bad game, he pitches a bad game. ... When I pitch bad, I�m a mental Gidget,� Lowe said last July after a string of bad outings.

Boston had looked far and wide for the pitcher who could get that final win, could lead the Red Sox back to the title. He was in the clubhouse all the time.

Scampering about the clubhouse, with champagne flying, he thought about the ceremonies. The flag gets raised at Fenway on April 11, with the Yankees on hand to watch.

He didn�t want to wait for the hardware.

�I wish,� he said, �we could get our rings tomorrow.�


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