Schilling looked shaky in the first and Sox hitters were uncharacteristically impatient early in the game, the Rockies needing only 19 pitches to record the first six outs. Then Schilling found a rhythm, the batters worked pitch counts, the crowd found voice, and the game settled into a 2-1 Sox lead when Okajima replaced Schilling in the 5th with one out and two Rockies on. It turned into what Schilling called the “PapaJima (Pap and Jima?) Show.” Or, maybe we can say that the Rockies were OkaBonned. A rose by any other name still amounts to Boston’s bullpen stalwarts recording the final 11 outs with only one hit, Matt Holiday’s rocket single that Papelbon somersaulted to avoid. Holiday stayed on first just long enough for Papelbon to pick him off for the final out of the 8th inning, Holiday so far astray when Youkilis made the tag that we could see daylight between the bag and Holiday’s prone body from our right field box seats, 350 feet away.
There was a new wrinkle last night in Papelbon’s ritual entry into the game. After the fist-bump, Wild Thing, and pause on the infield grass, as Papelbon fired his warm-up bullets to Varitek, the Dropkick Murphys’ I’m Shipping Up to Boston blasted through the air. This–backdrop to Papelbon’s signature Irish jig, poundingly rhythmic and loud–is a great stadium song, 30,000+ voices joining the Murphys’ lead singer’s rough voice roaring the chorus “I’m shipping up to Boston (whaa-ahh-ohh).” It was an electric and thrilling moment out of too many to count. An amazing night in Fenway. Thomas Boswell captures it: “[T]his Series deserved a taut, one-run game, a contest of nerve, a game that was as much exquisite excruciation as simple pleasure. And, in the end, it needed old heroes, men who knew the stakes because they grasp the game. That’s exactly what the Red Sox provided with a 2-1 victory that will probably be remembered as the fulcrum of this Series.”